However you arrive at getting your printer profiles, once you've got them, you've got to get them in place and set up to accomplish a handoff from your design applications to your printer while keeping your color information from being corrupted. Naturally there are two pretty basic rules of thumb here: First is that you don't want to corrupt your color in the handoff, and second is that the closer the information in your printer profile is to how your printer actually prints, the closer your color is going to be to that ideal.
At this point, you're getting pretty close to home. If you understand and account for your inception color spaces, have your working color spaces set up correctly, are using correct printer color profiles and have the handoffs set up correctly, you've got an intact and correct color workflow. If you're viewing through a well-profiled monitor, then you're also seeing your images in their working spaces correctly.
The Final Piece—Proofing
The final piece of the color management puzzle is proofing. You can either 'soft proof' or make a printed proof—or both, of course—but the process is the same in either case. You've got the color space of your final output device, and you've got the color space of your proofing device. What you want to do is tell the one device--monitor or proofer—to simulate the other device—your final output device. Just how to do this varies depending on applications, but every "color aware" application as well as every RIP has some way to do it.
Keep in mind that device profile making is very much an art, and it's just possible you may set all this up and still achieve unsatisfactory results. That’s because unfortunately a bad ICC profile is still a valid ICC profile, which will be perfectly content to render color badly. If you populate a proper workflow with bad profiles, even though the workflow may be correct you'll still get substandard results. However, that does not mean color management doesn't work. It does. Set up correctly, and with first-rate professionally-made profiles, it works spectacularly.
Also keep in mind that love-it-or-hate-it, color management is always there and always on. Even if there's a switch that says you can turn it off, you really can't. Because--once again—once it's in a computer your color isn't color anymore, it's numbers, and the numbers have to relate to something. What digital color management does is tame and control the numbers, and tell them in all cases to what it is they relate. And the more you have the numbers working for you instead of against you, the more productive your shop is going to be.