Why Embracing Standards in the Printing Industry is Important
The following post was submitted by Color 2015 sponsor, X-Rite Pantone.
Author: Ray Cheydleur, Printing and Imaging Product Portfolio Manager, X-Rite Pantone
Many industries rely on standards and technical specifications to bring an independent perspective to their production processes. In the world of print, some people think only manufacturers and software vendors need to understand color standards. This, of course, isn’t the case. Embracing standards and specifications can help printers set clear expectations, solve practical problems, and improve productivity by bringing a systematic perspective to their entire print workflow.
What’s the difference between the Standards and Specifications? Industry Standards are maintained by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and provide rules, guidelines, and characteristics for common and repeated activities to help printers achieve the best possible output. Specifications contain technical guidelines, often incorporating standards and provide detailed descriptions of the required criteria for a piece of work, such as print targets, aims, and ICC profiles.
With the advent of hybrid printing—that is, printing components of the same job or for the same client with multiple printing technologies—it has become increasingly necessary to print to standards. Producing materials on a variety of offset, flexo, or digital devices; running prints using two different technologies or processes; or printing locally to save transportation costs—these can all result in an ambiguous exchange of print-related data which can result in inconsistent quality. Standards help bridge the gap so everyone is speaking the same language.
I recently spoke at Color 15 about a few important standards that can help printers overcome the challenges of hybrid printing.
Controlled Lighting for OBAs
ISO 13655 and ISO 3664 aren’t new, but they have had a significant impact on standards work this year. They help printers deal with the impact that optical brightening agents (OBAs) have on color. These are chemicals that are added to paper to make it look brighter and whiter. ISO 13655 specifies the kind of light to measure with, and ISO 3664 the color of light to view with, so they interact with OBAs in the same way—establishing agreement between visual checks and measured evaluations.
Adopting these standards can require new measurement equipment, lamps, or viewing booths, plus the specifications and workflows that enable it, so it has taken some time for everyone to get behind them. However, if you print to specifications, have brightened stocks, or do something other than on-press proofing, following these standards is the only way to address the realities of today's market and consistently deliver the color consistency your customers expect.