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New ISO Standard Allows A Common Global Color Language

Published on December 3, 2015

Senior Editor Cary Sherburne talks with Steve Smiley of Smileycolor and Elie Khoury of Alwan Color Expertise about the importance and value of complying with ISO 15339 (Graphic technology -- Printing from digital data across multiple technologies), a new standard that includes a set of print definitions that can be used anywhere in the world and for any printing technology.

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By Robert Chung on Dec 03, 2015

Good questions (Thanks, Cary) deserve good answers (Thanks, Elie and Steve). Now I've something to share with my students regarding the role of standards, particularly ISO 15339 Printing from digital data across multiple technologies, as they prepare for their careers in the printing industry.


By Gordon Pritchard on Dec 03, 2015

It seems that along with all this emphasis on accurate measurements and on printing to the latest numbers a new "weasel" term has gained currency in the lexicon of printing. I think it began with G7 and it is repeated here in reference to ISO 15339 and the other ISOs mentioned. The term is "common appearance."

Can anyone explain what that means? Is there a technical definition of it? Or is it used when the numbers don't agree, the press/proof match is not made, but "hey, presswork and proof have a common appearance."?


By Shoshana Burgett on Dec 04, 2015

Steve and Elie make some great points in this video. It is critical for print and packaging professionals to stay informed about standards and comply with them in their work. A great deal of work goes into developing these standards to continue to raise the bar on quality and productivity.

But just reading and understanding the standards is not enough. ISO gives us a series of processes, but as Elie points it, you need the tools, hardware and software, to communicate color in a manner that everyone can understand. CxF gives us the means to communicate color across the supply chain, but this does not mean it will automatically make us meet color expectations. Every ink system and substrate behaves differently. What is needed is a controlled manufacturing process based on ISO standards. Printers and packaging converters also gain significant benefit from certifications such as G7 and the Pantone Certified Printer Program, which give them an objective outside view of their processes and document how those can be brought into line and maintained over time. Finally, we need a set of tools that can help us share color expectations across the entire supply chain with everyone speaking the same language. This is most effective when it is based on digital standards, rather than solely on a physical reference, and it must take into account the target ink, substrate and printing technology that will be used to produce the job. The final piece is the ability to communicate performance – within the plant, across multiple plants, or to the specifier/brand owner – accurately and in real time, with access to trending reports as well.

All of this adds up to exceptional performance. Printers and packaging converters that take this end-to-end approach will have a significant competitive advantage and be more profitable.


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