SGIA Launches Color Certification Program
As color management becomes increasingly important for PSPs specializing in wide-format and display graphics, demonstrating color proficiency to prospective customers is becoming an important differentiator. To that end, SGIA (Booth 2245) has launched a new color certification program which allows shops to promote their knowledge of color theory and practice.
The certification was borne out of SGIA’s Color Management Boot Camp, held four times a year. The Boot Camps are two-and-a-half days of intense, hands-on training in color measurement and management. “We cover color theory on one day to give them a good, basic foundation in color, and on day two we go hands-on and show them how to manage color in different RIP software,” says Ray Weiss, Digital Imaging Specialist at SGIA.
“After four or five weeks, I would follow up, and we were finding that people ‘got it,’ that they were doing something with what they learned,” says Weiss. “So we thought we’d do something to help them get recognized for that.”
In March, SGIA unveiled the new SGIA Digital Color Professional certification. There is a two-part process for getting certified. The first part is a written exam, taken online, on the basics of color and color management. Applicants must score at least 88 out of 100 on the written exam to proceed to the next level.
The second part of the process is to make a test print (provided by SGIA) of a color target (the Idealliance ISO 12647-7, 3-Row Digital Control Wedge 2013) on an color-managed system and submit it to SGIA for evaluation, which includes measuring PANTONE colors. “We’re looking for an average ΔE of less than four across the PANTONEs,” says Weiss. If the print sample passes muster, the submitting shop is then certified and they receive a “badge” they can use to promote their mastery of color and color management.
There are two levels of the certification. The first is Qualified, which means the shop has passed the written test only. The second is Certified, which means they have passed both parts of the process.
The SGIA Digital Color Professional certification is geared toward wide-format printing. “We feel like G7 is covering the offset market well, so we’re really focused on wide-format,” says Weiss. The certification is not intended to compete with or replace G7. “The difference for us is that G7 is a strategy to hit gray balance, and what we’re doing is giving people a big-picture view of color management.”
The certification is good for two years, at which time shops will have to recertify to ensure they’re keeping their skill sets up-to-date. Weiss hopes that future SGIA Expos will offer “refresher” courses for shops that need to recertify.
Along with expanding the certification program, Weiss also plans to increase the number of Color Management Boot Camps. This month, Mutoh (Booth 2545) is hosting a Boot Camp at its Phoenix facility. “Our goal is to offer the class throughout the year and throughout the country to get more people certified, and to give the certification more value.”