Field of the Present Invention
The present invention relates to imaging systems and particularly
color printing systems. More specifically, the present invention relates to the
convenient identification and accurate printing of registered trademark patterns
and colors with a user interface access for enabling accurate and definite use
of proprietary designations.
Background of the Present Invention
Image information, particularly printed black and white or color,
is normally represented in gray level formats containing a large number of levels,
e.g.: 256 levels for black and white and more than 16 million (256 cubed) levels
of color. Such color levels are clearly not all printable by standard printers
or displayable in electrical devices, and so some selection process is necessary
to choose those limited number of available colors which are actually to be viewed.
Many well known commercial enterprises have proprietary marks which
are commonly used as an identifier of most goods or services of the entity, and
thus are almost universally included in all commercial materials and correspondence.
Most such designations are registered trademarks. For example, the Xerox red pixelated
design "X" (Trademark Registrations Nos. 2,077,700 and 2,078,823, Pantone®
032), the lined design IBM blue (Registration No. 1,205,090, Pantone® 3718)
or the PEPSI® fanciful design (Registration No. 2,321,907) are "famous" marks
and recognizable patterns. The specific colors are also very important and usually
part of the corporate identity, and so should be accurately printed or displayed.
For example, the PEPSI® red is a different red than the COCA COLA® red.
The reason owners of such valuable designations are particularly concerned about
the accurate display and printing of their marks, is because the imaging can occur
over a variety of different systems and practiced by a variety of different clients
and customers. A failure in accurate printing can dilute a mark's distinctive nature.
Consistent accuracy in the imaging of such marks enhances the distinguishing nature
of the mark and protects and maintains its integrity and value.
Printing systems are known where a customer can specify a location
in an image for a particular pattern printed in a required color (see related pending
application Serial No. 09/221,996). Any such customer specification though, requires
defined color space coordinates or a color name (e.g., Pantone® ) or reference
image as a recognizable pattern. Such systems are usually fairly accurate in guaranteeing
the desired results, however, they are not practical enough for most commercial
printing operations. There is a need for a system which can simplify the definition
of desired registered colors for minimizing delays in the commercial printing environment
where there is a stream of documents to be printed containing a variety of registered
trademark patterns and colors.
To implement such a system, a print engine or system requires a means
for conveniently storing an accessing definition of registered patterns and colors
versus color space coordinates or Pantone® names and pattern names for identifying
the accurate colors to be printed where such colors mostly will occur and what
shape or pattern they will form. Importantly though, an interface must conveniently
permit a user to designate when a proprietary color is to be imaged by identification
of the mark in association with the appropriate pattern and color. The successful
control of the tagging, tracking and guaranteeing of the desired color in a simple
and convenient user interface is the subject of the present invention.
Summary of the Present Invention
A first aspect of the present invention is a color management system
for enabling definition and imaging of selected proprietary colors. The system
comprises a dictionary of color definitions and a user interface for selecting
a portion of a document to be imaged as a defined color and for accessing the dictionary
for associating the selected portion with the defined color. The dictionary is
preferably provided to a user as a menu of the colored definitions selectively
displayed wherein the associating comprises the user matching the defined color
from the menu to the portion of the document. The dictionary may also comprise
merely a hypertext link to another network site where the color is specifically
defined. Such linking is advantageous in networked printers and displays where
document size reduction is important.
In a further embodiment the common language entry is displayed to a user as a menu
In a further embodiment the color space coordinates are matched to a Pantone®
In a further embodiment the common language entry is associated with a corresponding
pattern to be displayed in the document at the selected portion.
In a further embodiment the corresponding pattern and defined color comprise a
In a further embodiment the dictionary comprises a hypertext link to a remote website
including the definitions.
A second aspect of the present invention comprises a defined set of
recognizable patterns and a pattern recognizer for recognizing the selected portion
in the document as a part of one of the recognizable patterns wherein the one
recognizable pattern is imaged as the defined color. The pattern and the color are
intended to be registered or at least proprietary marks.
In accordance with a more limited aspect of the present invention,
the dictionary comprises a link between a common language entry to corresponding
color spaced coordinates. The common language entry is displayed to a user as a
menu item. The color spacer coordinates are preferably matched to a Pantone®
color system. In addition, the common language entry may also be associated with
a corresponding pattern, i.e., design of the mark to be displayed in the document
at the selected portion.
In a further embodiment the tagging includes identifying the recognizable pattern
within the document corresponding to the mark at the selected location.
In a further embodiment the method as includes forming the dictionary as a set of
proprietary marks in association with common language entries comprising a plurality
of the menu items.
In a further embodiment the method further includes computing the corresponding
color as color coordinates in accordance with spectral properties of available
print inks and defined viewing conditions for the document.
In a further embodiment the method further includes calibrating a system executing
the printing with a test pattern including the corresponding color.
In a further embodiment of the system of claim 9 the processor includes a pattern
recognizer for identifying the recognizable patterns within the document.
In a further embodiment the system has a default operating mode wherein a document
to be printed is scanned for any likenesses to the recognizable patterns and for
converting the likeness to the corresponding definition in the dictionary for printing.
In a further embodiment printing system has a query operating mode wherein a document
to be printed is scanned for any likeness to the recognizable patterns and a user
receives a query through the interface of whether the likeness should be converted
to a corresponding recognizable pattern defined in the dictionary, or whether the
likeness should be printed as one of the defined colors.
In a further embodiment the dictionary includes spectral information and mixing
rules for the defined colors.
In a further embodiment the dictionary comprises algorithms for adjusting color
coordinates of the defined colors in accordance with either:
In a further embodiment the printing system is operated in a xerographic environment.
- spectral properties of inks used by the printing system, or
- viewing conditions for the document.
In accordance with another aspect of the present invention, a method
is provided for conveniently printing within a document an identification mark
comprising a recognizable pattern and a corresponding color in a selected location
in a document. The method comprises the steps of selecting a location within the
document for the mark. A menu item is selected representing the mark. The menu
item is tagged to a dictionary defining the mark and the corresponding color, and
the mark and the corresponding color are printed at the selected location. The
tagging preferably includes identifying the recognizable pattern within the document
corresponding to the identification mark at the selected location within the document.
In a further embodiment the tagging includes identifying the recognizable pattern
within the document corresponding to the mark at the selected location. In a further
embodiment the method includes forming the dictionary as a set of proprietary marks
in association with common language entries comprising a plurality of the menu
In accordance with more limited aspects of the present invention,
the corresponding colors are computed as color coordinates in accordance with the
spectral properties of available print inks and defined viewing conditions for
the document. Preferably, the system executes a calibrating routine that includes
executing the printing with a test pattern including the corresponding color for
the accurate printing of that color at a user-designed time.
Further objects and advantages of the present invention will become
apparent from the following descriptions of the various embodiments and characteristic
features of the present invention.
Brief Description of the Drawings
Detailed Description of the Present Invention
- FIGURE 1 is a block diagram illustrating one embodiment of the invention for
accurate printing of registered trademarks and proprietary colors;
- FIGURE 2 shows a graphical representation of a user display and interface for
facilitating location, access and designation of registered marks and colors on
- FIGURE 3 is a flowchart illustrating steps in practicing one embodiment of
the method of the invention; and,
- FIGURE 4 is a flowchart illustrating the steps of another embodiment.
Referring now to the drawings where the showings are for purposes
of illustrating the invention and not for limiting same, the present invention
is directed to a system for simplifying the access and definition of registered
color and/or patterns for minimizing delays in a document creation and printing
process workflow where a user requires a highly accurate image of the color or
pattern. A dictionary comprised of registered colors, patterns or combinations
thereof versus color space coordinates and/or Pantone® identification is conveniently
accessible in either a local or network system capable of existing name/color matches
as well as accepting new ones to be selectively entered. The user designates the
color by clicking on the image element (specific pixel) and then on the name on
a pull-down menu with data supplied by said server. The color (or pattern) so selected
is subsequently, tagged, tracked and guaranteed by the control system. This system
allows network management and sharing of specified "important colors" in the local,
intranet, or Internet network communities and supplies the additional information
to enable advanced color management concepts.
With particular reference to Figs. 1 and 2, when a user desires to
image or print a certain document 10, the document may contain a location
12 where the user wants a particular color or pattern to be included. Common
examples of such items are the fanciful pixelated Xerox "X® " having a particular
red identity (Pantone® 032) or IBM® in a particular blue (Pantone®
3718). Fig. 2 shows some of these exemplary marks as displayed to a user in a side
bar menu 14 in a common language designation which may comprise at least
a part of the mark itself Assuming document 10 can be, for example, some
advertising and promotional item including miscellaneous text 16, and the
user is particularly interested in including on the display image or printed document
the Xerox pixelated "X" in Pantone® 032 the user may merely access menu
14 as a convenient interface for defining the appropriate designation at
location 12. The menu 14 is comprised of the common language entries
20, 22, 24 each identifying a particular registered designation defined in
dictionaries 30, 32. User identification can be implemented by conventional
cursor control 40, although there are other means of system implementation
within the scope of the invention, as will be explained below.
The convenience to the user is that the interface merely requires
designation of location 12 and identification of a registered mark or pattern
20, 22, 24,
in either order, so that when a document is imaged or displayed,
an accurate representation of the appropriate pattern and color is seen by the
user. Prior requirements of user identification of color space coordinates, color
name, (Pantone® number) or an image pattern are avoided.
In Fig. 1, the common language entries identifying the desired marks
or colors are defined by color dictionary 30 and pattern dictionary
32. These dictionaries can be placed in a local or network system capable
of serving existing names/color matches as well as accepting new ones to be entered.
Alternatively, the entry could be a hypertext link to a remote networked site where
the mark or color is adequately defined. Such linking is advantageous for networked
printers or displays where reduction in local memory consumption for the dictionaries
30, 32 is desired. Color management system workstation 42 communicates
with dictionaries 30 and 32
and generates the user display interface
(Fig. 2) onto the monitor 44. The workstation includes a processor linking
the location 12 and the designated mark or color 20, 22, 24 to a
corresponding definition in the dictionary for generating a signal representative
of the desired user display or printing to the digital front end 46 of the
printer 48. The front-end 46 converts the signal into an appropriate
printer control signal as is well known in the art. The workstation 42 may
also comprise a scanner where incoming documents can be converted into control
signals representative thereof, also in a manner that is well known in the art.
The present invention simplifies the provision of a registered color
definition, or a proprietary and recognizable pattern, and thereby minimizes delays
in a commercial printing environment where there is a stream of to-be-printed
documents containing registered trademark colors by a variety of printing clients.
Instead of having to specify appropriate color space coordinates the menu
14 links the identified designations 20, 22, 24 to appropriate color
space coordinates or Pantone® names as well as the pattern in which such colors
mostly occur. Thus, the link is not only to proprietary colors, but also to recognizable
patterns. By merely designating the color by clicking on representative image element
in the document or its location 12 (or any pixel contained therein), and
then on a representative identity from the pull-down or side bar menu
14, the color so selected can be subsequently tagged, tracked and guaranteed
by the control system.
The workstation 42 also acts as a pattern recognizer for recognizing
a user selected portion of the document as a part of one of the defined recognizable
patterns in the dictionary 32. Such a pattern may be associated with one
of the defined colors in the color dictionary 30.
Alternatively, the user can select a default operating mode where
one "clicks" merely on the main menu 14, or in any of the particular marks
displayed therein, 20, 22, 24, for example, "Xerox red". The designation
20, 22, 24 may either be in the appropriate color or may include a textual
definition (not shown) thereof. The user designation indexes on all stored patterns
that are usually rendered in "Xerox red" and applies pattern recognition algorithms
in workstation 42 to identity the intended patterns (e.g., the Xerox pixelated
red "X") in the image and assigns to such a pattern the corresponding defined color.
The control system within the workstation 42 can also cause the system to
track such color in the set up/calibration process (e.g., test patterns in the
corresponding color), so that an initial calibration print or display, or in real
time on customer prints the actual printed or displayed color can be measured to
be the defined color. A built in spectrophotometer (not shown) can effect the appropriate
measurement. As to pattern recognition, each logo, fanciful design, text pattern
or trademark requires its own set of pattern recognition algorithms. While the
design of such algorithms may be complex in some cases, it is generally possible
and represents a routine task in many sample patterns. As an example designing
a scale and rotation invariant recognition algorithms for the Xerox "X" would be
an easily appreciable example of utilizing Hough transforms.
With particular reference to Figs. 3 and 4, flowcharts illustrating
the important process steps for two methods practiced in the course of the present
are illustrated. In Fig. 3, a user designates 60 a document location such
as is shown in Fig. 2 to the workstation 42. The user also designates from
the trademark menu 14 a color or pattern representing a proprietary mark
that is to be printed or displayed at the designated location. Thereafter, the
system can print 64. The simplicity and convenience of the interface is
evident by the user merely accessing two items in the interface, the location and
the mark. The previous storage in the dictionary 30, 32 of the marks or
colors represented by the user access of the menu obviates the user having to do
anything to supply the appropriate pattern definitions or color definitions at
the time of printing. Fig. 3 also includes a calibration step 66 for the
printer 48. In the preferred embodiment, calibration is effected with at
least some of the defined colors within the registered color dictionary
30 to further assure that commercial printing will satisfy user demand.
The defined colors contained in the system as registered colors or custom colors
within the dictionary 30 are preferably represented by patches on a calibration
or printer setup pattern. The color test patterns (not shown) are utilized in a
conventional manner as an automatic control system from time to time to either
create the printer profile (ICC profile or CRD-Color Rendering Dictionary) or to
set up the printer, or to maintain printer fidelity in real time.
With reference to Fig. 4, an alternative embodiment of the invention
is illustrated with reference to pattern recognition for identifying likenesses
to fanciful design marks (pixels of the bit map or objects in a TDL/PDF file).
A document or signal representation thereof can be scanned for likely colors or
qualifying patterns. The stored patterns within the dictionaries 30, 32
are indexed 72 and compared for applying the pattern recognition algorithm
74 in a manner similarly as discussed above. If a recognized mark or color
is identified, it is tagged 76 and linked 78 to the definitions within
the dictionaries 30, 32. The likeness can then be converted to the dictionary
definition. With such a system, a default mode can be implemented wherein an entire
document can be selected for scanning for defined colors or marks. For use confirmation,
a query mode is implemented where the user is queried as follows, e.g.: (1) A recognized
trademark is black or in non-specified color, "do you want the color changed to
registered color?", (2) The identified logo/trademark color is not accurate, "do
you want it in the registered color?", (3) "Do you want the identified logos/trademarks
in registered colors?", (4) "Do you want only selected or the identified logos/trademarks
in registered colors?", (5) "Do you want the colors of identified logos/trademarks
The color dictionary preferably comprises defined colors stored with
their colormetric color descriptors such as their tristimulus values, L*, a*, b*,
or spectral values so that the control system can receive these color descriptors
as targets. When spectral values are used as targets, the control system will try
to provide illumination independent spectrally matched color reproduction. On the
other hand, if the system can be made aware of defined viewing conditions for a
particular document including illumination, the defined colors can be defined by
spectral information and mixing rules for specified colorants or inks comprising
the defined color corresponding to the viewing conditions. Alternatively, the dictionary
may contain several special information definitions as distinct outcomes, each
corresponding to a specified viewing condition. It is also within the scope of
the invention to define the displayed colors for monitor viewing as color coordinates
matched to the viewing monitor and monitor viewing conditions.
A specific part of the dictionary would refer to the user interface
- the registered color will be seen on the monitor in accordance with however the
color is defined, i.e., the color dictionary will supply for the display the color
coordinates matching the monitor type and condition and the viewing conditions.
A system of shared "trademark colors" available on an enterprise wide
basis has the additional advantage of being able to calibrate an entire enterprise's
printing systems to a common set of company defined "critical colors". Clearly,
the invention is not limited to the embodiments specified above and many variants
concerning color storage, trademark/logo pattern storage, logo pattern recognition
or processing algorithms, as well as the test pattern construction and use, will
be apparent to those skilled in the art.