G7 Qualification : The Art of Maintaining ColorNovember 2010 By Erik Cagle
Just mention the term G7 certification and you can hear a collective cringe coming from the folks at IDEAlliance, the printing industry association unofficially tasked with governing printing methodologies, specifications and standards. G7 is a “qualification” program; the law sees a difference between the terms. IDEAlliance is working on a certification program.
If you’re feeling a bit lost right now, take heart. G7 certi-, um, qualification is a subject that is relatively limited to the hard-core color cognoscenti. Relative to the industry, there are still very few G7 Master Printers (more than 500 at press time, with roughly 15 new ones each week). You can find them either by visiting the IDEAlliance Website, or you might happen to recognize them by their use of a logo.
OK, by now you’re hopping mad, and resent the exclusionary implications because you feel you understand color and proof matching just as much as the next shop.
You don’t need IDEAlliance or anyone else to validate what you’ve been doing for years, or decades. Your press work matches the proofs consistently. Frankly, you suspect this qualification smacks of a cash grab concocted by folks who think a little too highly of themselves and their calibration methods.
Buyers Dig Certificates
Fact of the matter is, there are a lot of people in the industry who can’t pick up the minor, subtle differences between proof and press. And those people are your existing or potential clients. But buyers, by nature, are drawn to certifications, qualifications and embossed stamps that declare someone or something as having been validated by an expert. That gives them the peace of mind to do business with a company that’s touting a quality logo.
“I can think of a number of times in recent months where (G7 qualification) has been a factor, particularly in the business development environment,” notes Bill Tucker, executive vice president of sales for Cincinnati-based Berman Printing.
“It establishes a certain amount of credibility. We use our G7 logo prominently in our marketing materials, when we do sales presentations and on our Website. Frankly, I’m surprised at how many times it’s come up. Potential clients and existing customers who really don’t understand what it means have latched onto G7 as a way of finding quality printers.”