Ensuring Optimal Color Management
As a founder employee of Color Logic, Mark Geeves, director of sales and marketing, understands the color management market's demands.
Flexible Packaging: Knowing color is an integral part of branding as well as an important marketing tool; what are other obvious and not-so-obvious results of color?Geeves: While color is indeed an important part of branding and marketing, the overall appearance of the product packaging is equally important. Many design factors can determine how a product stands out on the shelf – and color is only one of them. In fact, as color management becomes more standard, other factors become even more important, particularly as a way of distinguishing between varieties of the same product.
FP: What are important points to ensure optimal color management?Geeves: The subject is best understood in terms of the three Cs of color management: Calibration, Characterization (ICC Profiling), and Control of the Process. The most important of these is Control of the Process. If the system is not under control, Calibration and Characterization become inconsequential.
FP: What additional technologies might converters consider using for best color management?Geeves: Color management should be adapted specifically to the type of image or printing being done. Because the Color-Logic Process Metallic Color System involves either silver inks or metallic film, printers and converters should use polarization with their densitometers, which is more sensitive to ink film and specialized substrates – a critical issue with silver inks or metallic objects. We recommend use of a spectrophotometer, which permits using a polarization filter when metallic inks are being run or when a clear film is being applied to a metallic object. Using polarization ensures that metallic printing is consistent or that the metallic look of the object being covered is consistent. The spectrophotometer should be switched back to Status T or E responses when measuring process colors.
FP: Are there instances where poor coloring can be altered and saved, or is it a ‘what's done is done' situation when coloring is off?Geeves: The unique aspect of the Color-Logic process is that printers and converters print their own color charts. In doing so, they create 250 metallic colors which the graphic designer can use in preparing files. The key here is that the printer has prepared a swatch which the designer knows the printer can reproduce, and which eliminates “poor color” because the printer has already demonstrated the ability to produce the swatch color. Heretofore, printers were forced to try and match a swatch that had been printed elsewhere under unknown conditions on an unknown press. Matching a vector color using ink formulation is only part of the issue. The Color-Logic process enables printers to produce multiple colors in one press pass-and to create gradations of those metallics-in a way that formulation cannot address. Currently, color management software or instrumentation cannot effectively deal with metallics within an image or gradations in metallics, nor can software or hardware take into account the angle at which the product is being viewed. Pressroom instruments measure only at 45° angles, but metallic printing and objects take on different visual characteristics as the viewing angle varies.
FP: What new and exciting news does Color-Logic have to share with the flexible packaging industry?Geeves: Color-Logic has developed a graphic design and color communication system that enables converters and printers to print a broad range of metallic colors as solids, within images, or as gradations, with a mere five inks. Understanding the Color-Logic process essentially involves wiping away all conventional wisdom about metallic printing, or printing film which will be applied on metallic objects. Basically, the Color-Logic process involves conventional CMYK printing plus a silver fifth color, or conventional CMYK printing plus a white fifth color, which is used to mask either a silver substrate or a metallic object being wrapped. The Color-Logic software – a simple plug-in to any conventional graphic design program – produces the five necessary files for either situation.