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FLEXO Magazine : May 2013
An article by Kevin Bourquin of Cyber Graphics (see page 38) will focus specifically on proofing for ECG printing. CHANGING THE RULES One of the facts, not only of tipping points, but of techni- cal evolution in general, is that when a new technology is compared to an existing technology, it is always compared – at least at first – using the rules of the existing technology. It’s not until the new technology is compared to the existing one, using a new set of rules that benefits of the new technology become fully apparent. Consider the evolution of typography. As type progressed from hand set type all the way to desktop prepress, it contin- ued to “lose” in each initial comparison. Many of us remem- ber the late 1980s and early 1990s when the typographic snobs told us the type on a Mac would never “ work” in the world of high-end typography. In the time since, the world of high-end typography itself has ceased to exist. Typography is now in the toolbox of the designer, where the rules of type are simultaneously consid- ered with the rules of color, blending, shading, texturing and the like. Under these rules, desktop “type” is the clear winner. In the world of ECG printing, we’re now seeing the emer- gence of a new set of rules. The old rules of spot color design (how accurately can we reproduce that spot color in numeri- cal terms?) are being replace by the new rules of ECG (how good does this design look and to what degree is color varia- tion visible on the store shelf?). The trend pushing the rule change is a design trend known as “Holistic Design.” Holistic design means design- ing the graphics for the package, “as a whole,” instead of in parts. The look is a seamless, realistic, lifelike, and integrated appearance of all graphic elements. The conventional approach to design was to design the graphics “element by element.” T he designer was told, “You can have two CMYK images and three spot colors.” T he appearance of conventional designs reflect these constraints. Designers were often given additional constraints as to what they could do with the spot colors. For example, they were often told not to use gradations, blends, or other types of shadings with spot colors. Holistic design breaks all of these rules, and is therefore extremely difficult to reproduce with spot color systems. Holistic works best with process color systems and in particular with ECG process color systems. In fact, Conventional designs are constrained based on the number of spot colors available on the press. Holistic designs are ideally suited for ECG because of the infinite number of colors achievable and the lack of limitations for design. New technology tends to surpass the current art, when it ceases to be compared to the current art under the existing rules, and begins to be compared under a new set of rules. 36 FLEXO may 2013 www.flexography.org 1930s 1960s 1990s