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Understanding the Alphabet Soup of Expanded Gamut Printing

CMYK, XCMYK, CMYKOVG, ECG, Fixed Palette – so many terms to describe various types of process printing. What do they all mean and why should you care? We’ll explore all of that in this article.


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By Gordon Pritchard on Nov 14, 2017

The Fort Dearborn Company has been printing hundreds of thousands of labels for at least 10 years now ( https://www.fortdearborn.com/printing/ ) - and they do talk, though not loudly publically, about it. They’ve rebranded the process they use HiColour.


By Eddy Hagen on Nov 15, 2017

Interesting article, especially the XCMYK part: "Standard ISO 12647-2 compliant CMYK inks can be used with a higher ink film thickness to achieve this extended gamut."

I've looked at the info from Idealliance and especially the gamut analysis by Multi Packaging Solutions is interesting (http://connect.idealliance.org/HigherLogic/System/DownloadDocumentFile.ashx?DocumentFileKey=7f405a69-d583-afa1-b246-d4f808646c90&forceDialog=1). They concluded that the XCMYK gamut is 46% bigger than Gracol2013 CRPC6 and 43% bigger than FOGRA51. And to make it even more interesting: CMYKOGV (so a 7 color process!) is only 14% bigger than XCMYK.

These findings are significant, making XCMYK something all printing companies should take a look at in my opinion.


By Timothy Baechle on Nov 15, 2017

XCMYK has been well received globally, especially among printers wanting more vibrant colors in graphically driven printed collateral. This has been quite popular in the publishing space, as well as in the digital space where digital presses are capable of printing to a much larger color gamut than GRACoL. It is now being adopted into a number of digital press front ends (DFEs)and many 4-color offset printers globally are utilizing the dataset and profile to achieve much higher vibrancy on critical applications such as art publications, photographic publications and any intense color printing that needs to push to a larger color space, but does not require CMYK+OGV.

XCMYK was Part 1 of a two-prong project, which includes an Extended Color Gamut Project (Part 2), which is underway by Idealliance, where we are developing a dataset,profile, proofing wedge, and standards for CMYK+OGV printing, which the global market (OEMs and color scientists) are deeply entrenched in this project. We will publish data as we continue to conduct test runs, average data, and compile data, which are all being conducted to help bridge the gap between innovation and education.


By Eddy Hagen on Nov 16, 2017

That's interesting info Timothy!

I'm looking forward to find out more about that second part, the CMYK+OGV. I wonder how big that gamut will be, both compared to XCMYK and 'regular' CMYKOGV (I guess there will also be an improved here, as with XCMYK vs CMYK). And how much of the Pantone colors can be reproduced with that.



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