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FLEXO Magazine : January 2010
8 FLEXO JANUARY 2010 www.flexography.org Color lies at the heart of all printing processes. But color does not happen by accident---it is the combination of many factors, and single change in or miscommunica- tion of any of those elements could result in a printing product that does not match the expectations of those upstream. Ef- fective and consistent communication of these factors (as well as all expectations) is the root of good color management, and is the core aim of Printing Industries of America's annual Color Management Conference. Taking place Dec. 6 through 8, the 2009 event brought more than 200 printers/converters to the Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliffs Resort in Phoenix, AZ. Show organizers took two unique ap- proaches to the topic this year. For starters, select presenta- tions focused on the "profit spectrum," i.e., the fiscal benefits to color management. Secondly, in keeping with recent trends, show planners included a session track dedicated to packaging and flexography. Moderating these talks was Joe Tuccitto, FTA education director. Speakers examined all as- pects of the flexographic packaging workflow, including con- sumer product company (CPC) demands, prepress technolo- gies and communication of spot colors. The track culminated on the final day when Tuccitto, along with Steve Smiley (Vertis Inc.) and FTA Hall of Famer Mark Mazur (DuPont Packaging Graphics), offered a glimpse into the world of FIRST (Flexo- graphic Image Reproduction Specifications and Tolerances) 4.0 and international standards. COLOR PRIMER Kicking things off on the first day, Tuccitto, alongside Dr. Mark Bohan, vice president of research and technology at Printing Industries of America, offered a color management overview for first-time attendees. Bohan began by identifying those elements necessary for color, namely a light source, an object and a receiver. He also introduced several crucial tools for color management: a Farnsworth-Munsell test, which mea- sures an individual's ability to recognize color differences; a densitometer, which measures process colors (not spot or PMS) based on the ink film thickness; and a spectrophotom- eter, of which Bohan was quick to note that "all instruments are not the same." Tuccitto chimed in on the topic of L*a*b* values, equat- ing them to geographical coordinates, and insisting that they are "a key way of communicating color." He and Bohan made certain to note what color manage- ment was not. According to Tuccitto, "It's not a replace- ment for mea- surement and calibration." In addition, while all people see color uniquely and have varying ranges in per- ceivable color, a printing press has the least color gamut of all. Nonetheless, Bohan asserted that effective management was " not just about dumbing down to the lowest common denominator." Instead, it's about getting devices to communi- cate, and achieving an agreement between colors. THE DNA OF COLOR Echoing words from FFTA Forum 2009's Prepress Session (see FLEXO June page 40), Kevin Chop of Diageo North Amer- ica and Greg LaFond of Mathews Brand Packaging teamed to discuss the way one of the world's largest international spirit retailers maintains consistency in its packaging. "Color man- agement starts upfront," declared Chop, noting that the color red must look the same whether it's printed on a cap, a label, a bag or a corrugated display. Diageo's core color expecta- tions, according to Chop are: 1. Ensure color consistency. 2. Establish expectations. 3. Create bottling line efficiencies. His firm's own color management program involves qualify- ing color observers (commonly using a Farnsworth-Munsell test), establishing common viewing conditions, using a univer- sal color language, ensuring instrument agreement, defining quantifiable color expectations, and adhering to visual and analytical standards. LaFond took the stage next, and told audience members that Diageo's brand color management program required near neutral calibration and characteriza- tion to control process colors. For brand-specific colors, he noted that Pantone is only a starting point. "[The Pantone book is] not a standard, it's a guide," he claimed. Echoing Bohan's comments, LaFond stated that color man- agement is not about the lowest common denominator, which for Diageo and Matthews, would be kraft board. "You can't make all other substrates match how it would render on kraft," he observed. The biggest concern for LaFond was hue angle, which he asserted was the most noticeable of the three L*a*b* values. "The color might not match, but it will harmonize," he said. On that point, Chop said, "If I know there is going to be deviation, and I communicate that and sell it to the brands' stakeholders, then I have successfully managed color." • "[Color management is] not just about dumbing down to the lowest common denominator." ---Dr. Mark Bohan, Printing Industries of America • "All this color management is great, but it's no good if the anilox isn't clean." ---Jay Sperry, Clemson University • "I don't care what standard you use, just make your pressroom stable." ---Pat Pavia, Mattel Inc. Color Comes FIRST Packaging and Flexo Take Center Stage at 2009 Color Management Conference By Christian R. Bonawandt Joe Tuccitto (left), FTA education director, addresses the audience at Printing Industries of Americas' Color Management Conference with Dr. Mark Bohan. FTA TODAY
Sustainable EOY 2009