Color profiles are device-specific color characteristics. Each peripheral device, whether a digital camera, scanner, monitor or color printer has its own color interpretations, which are reflected in different color models, color spaces or color tones. For example, input devices such as scanners, digital cameras, camcorders, etc. use the RGB color model, as do monitors and displays, whereas printers and printing presses use the CMY or CMYK color model.
These device-specific color models and color profiles are documented by the manufacturers in tabular form. To ensure that colors are displayed and output identically on all input and output devices, the different color profiles must be adapted to each other. For this purpose, the color profiles of the devices are compared with a device-independent reference profile. The deviations in the profiles are compensated for by the color management system.
One device-independent color profile is the ICC color profile from the International Color Consortium (ICC), others are the ICM color profile and the Lab color model. In addition, there is the GMMP color profile (Gamut Map Model Profile), a color profile for the color spaces that a device cannot represent.