Earlier this week my colleague, Shoshana Burgett wrote about six manufacturing trends to watch for in 2017.
It’s now time to look into my crystal ball and see what trends converters, commercial printers and graphic designers should be following in the next 12 – 18 months.
2017 could be the year where extended gamut printing really breaks out. This year both industry professionals and standards organizations have been taking a look at printing beyond traditional 12647-2, FOGRA 51, and GRACoL CMYK print processes. Idealliance is now recognizing XCMYK as a first start method for a litho printer to step into a larger gamut using higher ink loads. Energized by the release of the PANTONE Extended Gamut Guide, we see lots of testing of CMYK/OGV printing, showing both its promise for the designer in predicting a match and for the printer in extending gamut; as well as the tendency of this process to decrease variations over the print run. Since printing is accomplished with a fixed set of inks, it also offers production efficiencies, reducing the need for spot color inks and press wash-up between jobs, and offering less waste and press downtime. Our recent blog explains more.
Dare I say it? This may be the year where proofing of high OBA press stock is finally no longer a challenge! Most of the tools have been in place for a while (M1 for instruments, new definitions for viewing booths, characterization data sets ISO, Idealliance and FOGRA), but at least one element has been elusive: good brightened proofing stock that was also stable. This year these have started to emerge, and many organizations and consultants have proven that the combination of a whole system provides high quality proof-to-print matches without compromises.
Strategic Print 4.0
… or perhaps better titled “Collision of High Speed Digital and Traditional Offset.” At drupa 2016, we saw a raft of new high speed digital presses, all with either inline or near-line integrated color control systems. Maybe not as noticed, but equally important for existing printers, were the retrofits for existing analog and digital presses offering complete color control and direct press closed loop control in new near-line solutions. Either path offers the savvy printer a strategic path to “Print 4.0” to bring further automation to the print process.
The expansion of print to non-traditional markets (wide format, signage, ceramics, textiles, electronics, etc.) is exciting and offers significant growth markets for printers. They also play to the strengths of printers by allowing them to execute on customer requirements and be a solutions provider to these markets. Attendance at shows, the excitement of printers who have invested in these technologies, and big YOY growth helps put the saying “print is dead” to rest.
End-to-End Color Communication
Better color communication along each step of the process from creation to execution has always been key to X-Rite’s DNA. Because we play in many verticals where color, appearance and quality are key, we recognized early on the need for good communication among trading partners. In the print space, we see the continued expansion of X-Rite’s CxF Color Exchange Format, now embodied in a number of established ISO standards, and new work like PQX – Print Quality Exchange and PRX – Print Requirements Exchange which mix CxF/X with additional metadata all in XML.
Internet 4.0 is bringing a lot of excitement to color management, like PQX, iccMAX, mobile control and new materials. Keep an eye our blog. These innovations are all on our list of upcoming topics.