Color Matching’s Role Creating Consistent Print Projects

Published On: March 5, 2015

Color consistency is a vital requirement for print providers to achieve from the proofing stage to on-press color management. When evaluating your printing project for color matching and consistency, it’s important to understand the basics of what the G7 standard requires. Working with a G7 Master Qualified company, like JohnsByrne, allows less room for error and dramatically improves print quality and consistency. JohnsByrne uses the latest G7 technology for color matching and ensures each print job is calibrated though our G7 certified equipment.

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Not having proper color matching systems and calibrated machinery is equivalent to a less-than-superior end-product. Colors that are even slightly off can make a product line appear inconsistent and unprofessional.

Pantone and Color Matching

Pantone is a company in New Jersey known for its Pantone Matching System (PMS), which helps printers specify printing inks. In marketing and branding, you may have heard of a “Pantone” color and number. Using these colors provides quality assurance across a variety of industries. It is the color language of printing technology.

The basics of color printing include the following process colors.

  • Cyan. A blue that absorbs red light and reflects green and blue.
  • Magenta. A pinkish red that absorbs green light and reflects blue and red.
  • Yellow. Absorbs blue light and reflects green and red.
  • Black. Absorbs all light and is normally used only for type and to add weight to some images.

Many companies will have certain Pantone color spectrums that must be used for branded printing projects. Some may have a few different palettes that must be followed for all printing projects. Having a printer that cannot reproduce a brand color scheme can cause branding and reputation problems when an item reaches the market.

The Technology Behind It

If you have a Pantone chip for a certain color, you need to make sure it is the same across every printing device. If a Pantone chip is old or faded, it may not provide the closest color match; your preferred color may appear slightly off. For that reason, lab values are always used to measure colors for matching and consistency. Instrumentation that is built to gather data from colors is far more effective at detecting slight inconsistencies than the human eye.

To create a product that matches the initial specifications perfectly, a printing company has to maintain strict color matching standards. Color lab equipment has to be calibrated with proper gray scale and primary print color specifications. After a proof is printed, lab technicians will go back over the proof with color gauging technology to make sure the colors are the same when compared with the original piece.

Having a printer who calibrates their machinery is imperative, so results are the same regardless of the substrate or printer used. Ink thickness, substrate material, and grayscale and tone machinery definitions play into the complex color matching process printers specialize in.

G7 Qualification

G7 is a proof-to-print process control method that allows to effectively and reliable match visual appearances of multiple devices. This process was created to ensure process colors are neutral and balanced and to improve gray balance, color stability and color matching across the board.

A G7 Master Qualification is granted to a printing facility, equipment, and its systems. As part of dedication to bringing our clients’ packaging visions to life, JohnsByrne holds a G7 Master Qualification and employees team members who are Certified G7 Experts and Professionals.

Other Technology Considerations

To maintain the quality of print over time, the color readers on JohnsByrne’s presses and handheld devices are checked every year. We also invested in a stockboard to improve quality assurance and consistency over time. G7 qualification means that we are evaluated to guarantee our machinery is up to code to create color consistency through every project.

Our in-house ink department team provides round-the-clock coverage for printing needs. We pride ourselves on having fast turnaround times for specialized ink creation, testing and approvals. The team works in a unique laboratory environment to ensure color consistency across multiple printing projects.

Other parameters that our team evaluates include the following.

  • Density. The saturation of the ink on a substrate or base and by itself.
  • Chromatic balance. The gray balance that must be calibrated based on the press, paper and ink used.
  • Dot gain. The way that the dot appears as the reproduction process moves from film to paper.
  • Print contrast. The appearance of shadow on the end product.
  • Trapping. The way inks stick to one another.

The JohnsByrne team, who is G7 certified, works to maintain the appropriate grayscale and tone-value stipulations that are recognized by computer machinery to produce near-perfect replications every time. Calculator kits and calibration targets require using sophisticated algorithms to ensure the measurement and reproduction of an item is on par with the original.

Team members go through the extensive training and certification process to give them the toolset to evaluate and maintain the systems we use to create color consistency across the board.

Choosing a Printer

When looking for a printer for your project, a G7 qualification provides peace of mind that the utmost care is being taken to reproduce your project to exact specifications. Look for a team that can take color considerations into account with different substrates and using different coatings, finishing effects and inks. Without the highest standards across mediums, your finished project might come out slightly off in color, tone or resolution.

At JohnsByrne, we carefully consider the unique needs of our clients and work to deliver creative solutions through the use of cutting-edge technologies such as color matching and G7 certification. For more information, contact us today.

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