Thursday, 2 April 2015

A colour standardisation know-how for brand owners

IdeaAlliance in conjunction with Indian Printer and Publisher (IPP) and Bombay Master Printers Association (BMPA) hosted the G7 colour seminar in Mumbai to address the complications of colour in the purview of the brand owners and discuss the best practices involved in the packaging supply-chain. The event was held at the Sunville Banquet in Worli on 17 February, 2015.

Steve Smiley, Owner, Smiley Color & Associates Global Brand Solutions initiated the seminar by stating the basic principles of RGB and CMYK and their role behind the entire colour standardisation gamuts. “It’s a simple fact that we can’t print using RGB just because the overprint of green and blue will lead to black. That is the reason we use CMYK, a subtractive theory of colours, for printing,” said Smiley.

“But these CMYK numbers (100Y or 100M) are all ambiguous. For every process, be it CMYK or RGB, you have to put a number on top of them to make it meaningful,” he added.

In support of this statement, Smiley presented the audience with a simple exercise which Dr Abhay Sharma of Ryerson University and a colour expert who was also a speaker at the G7 conference held in New Delhi on 14 February, 2015, had carried out. The exercise involved several colour measurement devices which he used to pick up the numbers. But eventually all three devices ended up showing different results. The numbers are there, but we don’t get same results.

“From a brand standpoint, we need all the packages to look the same, which is why we need to have a standard procedure which makes it look the same. When we print to the numbers, we define these colours in LaB, a colour space that our eyes perceive. By taking a LaB number for each one these, we can compare the colour we got from the printing process. The number is the Delta-E, which is defined as the visual difference,” stated Smiley.

He asserted that, as a part of standardisation from the brand owners point, it’s the brand owners responsibility to share the Delta-E value with the print company to ensure accurate colour and what the tolerance levels are on the package.

An interesting fact that Smiley stated is that, the Lab value for cyan (or be it any other colour), is the same for GraCol, Fogra and for JapanCol. The amount of standardisation today has been achieved to a point no matter where you print it in the world, you are bound to get the same colour.
Following the needs and pain points of not using a colour management tool, Smiley presented the audience with a solution, the G7 method, a system that relies on grey values and works across substrates and printing processes such as offset, gravure and flexo. Smiley also spoke about the need to use spectral curves in packaging in addition to using tone value curves and grey balance.

RS Prasad of Sakata Inx also spoke briefly about the basics of colour reproduction as well as some of the issues concerning packaging – particularly flexibles.

The event saw more than 50 participants, both from the brand side as well as the packaging converting side. The event was supported by Epson, Indo Polygraph-KBA and Sakata Inx.


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