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Graph Expo Live: The Ideal Color Supply Chain

Published on October 10, 2012

This session was recorded live at Graph Expo 2012.
Todays global world is about managing your customers brand and expectations. Join us as we discuss todays challenges and what the ideal color supply chain would look like. This panel discussion will have a slew of representatives from across the supply chain.

        

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Discussion

By Erik Nikkanen on Oct 14, 2012

Interesting talk.

I suspect that part of the problem with colour management is that still things are not being done in better ways. It is a tricky subject but after all this time, it should be easier.

It would have been nice to have it explained how Pantone Plus had the claimed effect of improving colour stability in a press run. Right now I can't see the connection.

I thought the people in the group explained themselves quite well and were not boring. Good session.

 

By Paul Lindstrom on Oct 17, 2012

Hi Erik, in order to keep the colour deviation below DE2 (depending on what spot colour we have), and colour variation during the whole print run below let's say DE3, you need to have a better control of the starting point than perhaps is common without Pantone LIVE. As of now we are not always clear on what CIELab-value a certain spor colour should be, on a certain substrate. Pantone LIVE use CxF v3 plus some proprietary tags to define both measurements data and ink and substrate information to pin this down properly. CxF is now an ISO standard, and the coming ISO 17972 standard is intended to offer something similar to Pantone LIVE. If you work with packaging production and spot colours I recommend you learn more about both Pantone LIVE and watch out for the ISO 17972-series of standard when more complete!

 

By Erik Nikkanen on Oct 17, 2012

Paul, thanks for the comments about starting point but it implies that the press run was started before they got to the right stable colour.

One confusing point for me. How can you not be clear on the CIELab value you are aiming at on any substrate? I can see that one would not be clear on the ink formulation but the target CIELab value should be a given since that is what is wanted.

I have worked in an operation where all the colours on press were pantone targeted colours, all the time. All the inks were matched to pantone based on the substrate before going to press. It was not such a problem.

 

By Paul Lindstrom on Oct 17, 2012

Where did you get the CIELab value from? The ink manufacturer? The press control system? From some colour library made available from the manufacturer of your spectrophotometer? Or your own internal colour library?

This is where it differs between printers, and the print buyers doesn't always get the same colours for a given, named spot colour.

But I agree – ther should be an agreement on what the target CIELab values should be.

 

By Erik Nikkanen on Oct 17, 2012

Values were from internal measurements and visual matching of Pantone guide which sometimes changed from edition to edition and ink formulas then had to be slightly adjusted.

I too agree that going to targeting CIELab values is better than basing a system on matching the Pantone guide which has been changeable over time.

 

By Paul Lindstrom on Oct 17, 2012

Your work practices is from what I understand what many many printers do. It works, sort of, but it's time for a better, more transparent way, to communicate spot colours.

 

By Erik Nikkanen on Oct 17, 2012

Yes, but part of the problem with spot colours has been that customers referred to the Pantone guide. It was historically the issue about referring to a printed guide, that could vary from edition to edition and from other printed Pantone chips that introduced some problems.

I seem to remember that Pantone in the past did not want to commit to a Lab number because they said that their system was ink formula based.

I agree that if one can get the final customer to agree on a Lab target value and not go by the printed Pantone guide, then that would make it easier for the producer. But people like to see a reference since they can't see a Lab value.

If you can get customers to agree on the Lab values and not go back to the printed reference and have them say, "I don't care about the Lab values, I want this colour", then that would be good.

Is this more about educating the customer?

If in the past the print of a solid from different plants and different processes did not match, it seems more like a management problem than a process problem since there has always been the capability to get a reasonable match to much of the Pantone guide irrespective of process.

If one is aiming at a specific Pantone guide ink or to a Lab value, one still has to go through the effort to make the proper ink formula for the substrate. It is not such a big problem when you have skilled people doing the matching.

Things are in transition in the industry and the selection of spot colour is just one of them. If a customer asks a printer for a spot colour with a Lab number and the printer says he can do that, what do you need Pantone for? That could be part of the transition.

 

By Paul Lindstrom on Oct 18, 2012

Education is key here, not only educating the customer. You indicate that it's fairly easy to establish the target aim values for the spot colours, but my experience from when auditing printers, and teaching applied colour management, is that many prepressoperators, and press operators, struggle with applied colour management on this level.

And when deciding on a target Lab values for a spot colour, you also need to agree on a reasonable tolerance for both deviation and variation. Again, this is not always properly understood. But we'll get there eventually.

 

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