CGS Publishing Technologies International

New ISO Standard Communicates Precise Brand Colors Along the Entire Supply Chain

There is no denying the persuasive power color holds - Coca-Cola red, Tiffany & Co. blue, John Deere green. Showing your brand’s individuality isn’t just about ensuring consumers recognize you, it’s also about differentiating your brand from the competition’s.
 
Powerhouse companies leverage color to a point where it’s synonymous with their identities. But what happens in stores when packaging colors don’t line up with each other? Consumers may think a product is old or defective, and the sale along with trust is lost.
 
ISO Standard 17972
 
Effectively communicating printing characteristics of inks along the supply chain is essential to ensuring the final piece matches a brand’s vision. Traditionally, inks are thought of as either process or spot colors. Process colors are printed using a combination of the four standard process inks (CMYK), and typically are communicated to the printer in the form of ICC profiles. Spot colors are premixed inks used when color accuracy is critical, and to accurately reproduce colors outside the process color gamut. For the last decade, the ISO 17972 proposal has been working to define methods for the exchange of measurement data and associated metadata within the graphic arts industry, and for the exchange of files between graphic arts users. ISO 17972 will remove the guesswork of communicating colors from concept to printer by using CxF/X-4 data in PDF documents, and the wait is almost over for the standards’ unveiling.
 
Universal Format Guarantees Usability
 
Scheduled for final publication in October 2014, ISO 17972 looks to standardize the Xrite Color Exchange Format (CxF) designed to accurately and unequivocally communicate all relevant aspects of color across devices, applications and locations. This will replace the current CGATS format for communicating color information, and become a universal language for the print world. CxF works in harmony with the openness of XML to seamlessly integrate with any web-driven workflow, ICC color profiles etc. This CxF spectral data provides the data to accurately simulate ink colors, tint ramps and overprints for design prints and contract proofing.
 
What’s Next?
 
In preparation for the standardization of CxF data use, CGS worked with SmileyColor to develop tools to create, analyze and design CxF files. ORIS CxF Toolbox creates an ISO 17972-4 compliant CxF or CxF/X-4 from a measurement file, including spectral data, delivering a file that allows the printer to define ingredients and tolerances, data for ink formulation and pre-qualification of inks, proofing and process control systems.
 
ORIS CxF Designer, an Illustrator plug-in imports CxF data containing brand owner’s specific brand colors or libraries into the Adobe design software color pallet. It then embeds spectral data, tints ramps and opacity information to final PDF/X files in an open file format.
 
ORIS CxF Toolbox and ORIS CxF Designer utilize the new ISO standards and an open format the entire supply chain can utilize. These tools provide all the information required to improve quality, reduce costly errors and improve customer satisfaction.

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