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How the PANTONE® EXTENDED GAMUT Guide helps Printers

Extended gamut printing is becoming more and more popular in the printing industry. With Pantone’s new EXTENDED GAMUT Guide, printers and designers have a visual guide to help predict how close of a match is possible when they use 7-color process in place of spot inks.

pantone extended color gamut is becoming more popular in printing


Ron Voigt, President of X-Rite Pantone, was recently interviewed on the topic by Cary Sherburne, senior editor at WhatTheyThink

According to Voigt, the EXTENDED GAMUT Guide helps printers visualize how well Pantone Spot and 4-color process colors can bridge to a 7-color process.

Ron voigt president of x-rite pantone

Today we’ll take a look at some of the benefits you can expect from fixed color palette printing and how to use the Pantone EXTENDED GAMUT Guide to achieve them.

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Pantone Certified Printer Q&A with Mark Gundlach

Mark Gundlach is a Solutions Architect with X-Rite Pantone. He visits facilities to assess their current workflow and help them come up with solutions – whether it be training, software or hardware – to improve their productivity and lower their costs. He is also an expert in the Pantone Certified Printer Program.

Screen Shot 2015-12-29 at 9.58.46 PM

Recently we sat down with him to learn more about the program, and what it takes to become Pantone Certified.

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Calibration and Profiling, Color Communication, Ink, Print

What is Closed-Loop Color Control?

Color 2015 was a huge success for connecting the dots, breaking down silos, and learning how to gain control of an integrated color management workflow. Taking place in Phoenix, Arizona December 5-8, it offered more than 40 in-depth sessions including Brand & Design, Print & Production, Standards & Business, and Vendor/Product Demonstrations.

Ray Cheydleur, Global OEM Technical Manager at X-Rite, was there to share tips and advice for keeping up with color. We caught up with him during the show to ask a few questions about closed-loop color control.

Ray at CMC 2015

Here’s what he had to say.

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ISO Standards for Flexographic Printing

The International Standards Organization has defined ISO 12647 as a set of Graphic Arts standards for printing. Included are eight parts:

ISO; ISO Logo; Graphic Arts Standard

Part 1:  Print parameters and measurement methods

Part 2:  Offset lithographic processes

Part 3:  Coldset offset lithography on newsprint

Part 4:  Gravure printing

Part 5:  Screen printing

Part 6:  Flexographic printing

Part 7:  Proofing processes working directly from digital data

Part 8:  Validation print processes working directly from digital data

Different parts of the world interpret these standards into their own specifications. For example, in North America IDEAlliance’s GRACoL and in Europe FOGRA39, are the specifications for offset printing that conform to ISO 12647-2 for a number one grade, coated paper.

ISO 12647-6, the flexo print standard, does not define solid ink density target numbers, but rather hue angle target values for solid ink color and recommended substrate color values. In other words, this measurement looks at the actual color value, not density.

xrite flexographic process control solid ink density

Density cannot tell you whether you have “good color.” If the ink hues are off, you may hit the densities, but the color will not match.

Today we’ll take a closer look how ISO 12647-6 is utilized in flexographic printing applications.

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Print, Training

How to Become an Idealliance® G7™ Master Printer

X-Rite recently donated color management solutions from our i1 Family to Idealliance® for use at its partner laboratories at Cal Poly University and the Rochester Institute of Technologies. The universities are leveraging i1 calibration and ICC profiling solutions, including the new i1iSis 2, as part of Idealliance’s G7™ Master and G7 Process Control Master Qualification programs.

G7™ is a proof-to-print process control method that allows you to reliably and efficiently match the visual appearance of the output from multiple printing devices. It works by defining the gray balance and NPDC curves in conjunction with the traditional method of measuring tonal value increase (TVI/dot gain) for each color. G7 can be applied to any type of printing, regardless of the type of ink or printing method, including electrostatic, inkjet, offset sheetfed, offset web, and flexo.

It’s important to note that G7 is a process, not a standard. However, G7 qualification can help you achieve repeatable, consistent control over your production process by ensuring that your process colors are neutral and balanced, improving gray balance, and stabilizing color.

The G7™ Master Printer program is managed by Idealliance®, a not-for-profit association of leading print and electronic media service providers and their technology partners. Idealliance offers G7 Master Qualification to printers who can prove they’re capable of performing to G7 specifications. Qualification must be done by a certified G7 Expert.

Customers are looking for G7 Master Printers. Today we’ll look at how X-Rite’s Certified G7 Color Experts can help you achieve G7 compliance to stay competitive in the market.

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Beyond CMYK in Color Printing

In our additive vs. subtractive color models post earlier this week, we talked about color models and CMYK printing. However, anyone responsible for printing Halloween goods or packaging knows that that some colors are just too difficult to reproduce using only CMYK inks. And orange can be one of those colors!

A fourth color, black (K, which stands for key) is often added to subtractive color printing applications. Since C+M+Y actually create a muddy brownish color due to ink impurities in C, M and Y, adding a true black ink creates the deep color and tones that CMY alone can’t achieve, plus adds density to the shadows.

This four-color printing is called CMYK. Today we’ll look at other ways printers can extend the gamut of CMY to save ink.

Using gray component replacement (GCR) and spot colors on press can help create a crisper print and more saturated colors.

Using gray component replacement (GCR) and spot colors on press can help create a crisper print and more saturated colors.

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Print, Tolerancing

Tolerancing in Flexo and Offset Printing

Density only tells us one thing about a color – how light or dark it is. To compare and communicate accurate color in print and packaging, you also need to measure hue and saturation.

Today we’ll take a look at the two most commonly used color models:  CIELAB and L*C*h°, and the tolerancing methods that help us describe color difference.

cielab lch color tolerancing methods

The concept behind CIELAB and L*C*h° is similar to longitude, latitude and altitude … with three coordinates, you can describe the exact location of any place on our planet (or in this case, any color in color space).

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The PANTONE® Certified Printer™ Program

pantone certified printer program

Accurate color is important to brand owners and print shops alike. Brand owners want to know their specified colors can be reliably produced each and every time, and printers need a fail-proof workflow to consistently achieve those colors without rework and waste.

The PANTONE® Certified Printer™ Program makes it all possible.

PANTONE Certification helps printers establish and maintain effective SOPs and implement benchmark processes, from the ink kitchen through prepress and production. It’s a certification that’s designed to increase the value of a print shop’s investments instead of starting from scratch.

PANTONE Certified Printers can:

  • Achieve accurate color reproduction, for both PANTONE Process and Spot Colors,
  • Enforce quality control in all steps of the production process,
  • Drive consistent color across shifts and locations,
  • Reduce waste,
  • Increase profitability,
  • Market themselves with the PANTONE Certified Printer logo,
  • And best of all, start realizing ROI in 3-6 months!

When bidding for jobs, PANTONE Certified Printers have bragging rights because they know they’re producing the best possible color, day in and day out.

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Calibration and Profiling, Print

Benefits of Automated Chart Reading

Color management has caused an explosion of opportunities for new and interesting inks and a variety of paper and substrates. Color profiles help ensure that you can maintain accurate color when running jobs with these new applications, but measuring test charts to create these profiles can be difficult to manage in a high-volume production environment.

Automated chart readers take on the burden of measuring all of those test charts, which can have hundreds – even thousands – of patches. Not only do they remove user error from the equation, they allow the operator to work on other tasks while the chart reader is busy at work. They’re consistent and reliable, and make it faster and easier to meet the creative demands of your customers.

Today we’ll look at some of the options for implementing automation into your color-managed prepress workflow.

xrite i1iO automated chart reader

The i1iO can make quick work of this stack of test charts.

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Packaging, Print

Color Management in a Print & Packaging Workflow

Working in prepress holds a unique challenge. Even if your color workflow is tight, everything can fall apart if the customer’s file isn’t color managed.

We’ve all seen it. You receive a file that the customer claims is ready to print, yet when you open it on your computer, the colors don’t look right at all. You can’t send it to print without knowing for sure, because you’re the one who will take the hit for wasted time and materials if it’s wrong.

So how do you know if the customer’s file is good to go… or needs to be color corrected?

Knowing how color management works from beginning to end will help you better understand your role in the process and arm you with the knowledge to educate your clients so that future files received reflect the correct color intent.

color management print packaging

The goal of color management is to match color appearance as closely as possible from input to output and between devices. These images demonstrate a workflow without color management (above) and with it (below).


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