Home' FLEXO Magazine : November 2014 Contents • Part 5: Screen Printing
• Part 6: Flexographic Printing
• Part 7: Proofing
The critical element in ISO 12647 is the color specification for CMYK
inks. With ISO 12647-6:2012, the hue angle specification is virtually
the same as it is in all of the other printing processes. Because flexog-
raphy prints on so many substrates, it is impossible to specify a L*a*b*
value. By specifying the hue angle, regardless of substrate, you can
achieve that visual match your customer requires.
Most of us do not have the time or patience to participate in the pro-
cess of generating and reviewing standards. We owe special thanks to
Steve Smiley and Danny Rich for all their work in making sure FIRST
5.0 is up to date with all the latest global printing standards.
EXPANDED GAMUT PRINTING
While ISO 12647 specifies the hue angles for CMYK printing, there
have been no standards for the orange, green and violet inks used in
expanded gamut printing (CMYKOGV). Over the past few years,
there has been an expanded gamut subcommittee of the Flexo Quality
Consortium (FQC). That committee examined print samples from
more than 50 printers to identify the expanded ink set that would pro-
duce the largest color gamut. FIRST 5.0 now incorporates the results
of that work.
While this is not yet an ISO standard, flexography leads the way in
this technology over other printing processes. Of course, color stan-
dards are only the first step in the process. Expanded gamut profiles,
spot color equivalencies and RGB conversion are all on the horizon.
Previous editions of FIRST took a facile approach to screening tech-
nology. They specified a circular screen. While circular screening is
an excellent choice, the last 15 years have introduced hybrid screen-
ing, differentially modulated screening, solid screening and a host of
specialty screens just for flexography. These screening technologies
become even more relevant when we consider gradations, shadows
and transparency effects available in modern design software. All of
this is considered in FIRST 5.0 .
Like the process it represents, FIRST is constantly changing and
adapting. So yes, there will be a FIRST 5.1 . Processes evolve, new
technologies will be developed and mistakes will be pointed out—all
of which will make their way into future editions.
As FIRST 5.0 was coming together, there were three specific topics
that we knew should be addressed. To keep on track, these topics were
put into appendixes with the intent to later incorporate them into the
body of the text.
Appendix F discusses the role Creative Briefs and Style Guides play
in the development and ongoing continuity of packaging designs. In
the simplest terms, a style guide spells out the dos and don’ts of the
brand identity, while a creative brief provides a set of objectives for a
package. This appendix will soon be expanded and incorporated into
the Design Section.
Appendix G requires the most work. It addresses the process control
of the orange, green and violet of the expanded gamut ink set. From
an ink point of view, these additional process colors can be controlled
like any other spot color—by specifying the lightness, chroma and
hue; as well as opacity. However, on press, most operators use density
and dot gain as control tools. These tools do not lend themselves well
to the expanded gamut colors.
This appendix shows six different metrics for controlling your ex-
panded gamut inks on press. Hopefully, by the time FIRST 5.1 is ready
to be released, we can condense these 18 pages down to a specific
recommendation or two.
Appendix H covers QR codes, DataMaritx Codes and snap tags. These
are marketing tools that are increasingly being found on new package
designs. From a print reproduction standpoint, these elements are not
inherently difficult to print, but there are certain parameters that must
be met to ensure a viable scan.
20 FLEXO | NOVEMBER 2014
Section 20.2 .4 Optimizing The Process Color Gamut
“For many flexographers, the word
‘standard’ is offensive. It evokes
thoughts of ‘lowest common
denominator’ or ‘commoditization.’
I think of it more as ‘learning to
play well with others.’
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