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Experts in colour

271 years before pantone, an artist mixed and described every colour imaginable in an 800-page book.

Not only would he begin the book with a bit about the use of color in painting, but would go on to explain how to create certain hues and change the tone by adding one, two, or three parts of water. The premise sounds simple enough, but the final product is almost unfathomable in its detail and scope.

Spanning nearly 800 completely handwritten pages it’s hard not to compare the hundreds of pages of colour to its contemporary equivalent, the Pantone colour guide first produced in 1962.

Source: www.thisiscolossal.com

Colour has changed in the last couple hundred years and at The Standard Press we've positioned ourselves at the leading edge of technology in colour accuracy. We use the pantone guide as a base to determine the colour of a brand or logo and use modern scanning software to measure / correct the accuracy of that colour .

In the last years client expectations have increased and the different methods of producing colour has vastly increased. At The Standard Press we use inkjet, digital, CMYK offset and single colour offset to produce colour. When printing a specific pantone colour each method produces a different hue due to the process in which it applies colour to the substrate. Therefore a high level of scanning and correction software is required to keep colours consistent.
Organizations that use brochures, flyers, signage, business cards and letterheads utilize all four printing methods within our production. The example to the left displays a simple diagram of all four processes without any scanning or colour correction. The result is that the machine operators rely on their eyes to produce consistent colours which creates unreliable colour reproduction. The red hue may differ from the same job produced on a Monday vs. a Friday.
The process above is a simplified diagram of how colour is produced at The Standard Press. Each printing method is calibrated to ISO XXXXX standards. After a product has been printed it's scanned for consistency and accuracy to both the targeted pantone and the ISO XXXXX standard.

Why does the same pantone look different between gloss and uncoated paper?


There is a difference between colours when applied to gloss and uncoated papers. In the example below we've taken pantone 1805 and applied it to a coated (brochure) glossy and uncoated (letterhead) paper.
Ink that's applied to glossy paper tends to sit on top of the sheet and appears more vibrant opposed to uncoated paper where ink is saturated into the paper and appears dull. The pantone 1805 ink that was applied to both samples 1 and 2 have the identical mix and would pass ISO standards.

So, how do we keep colours consistent between paper types? in many cases two different pantone colours are used between uncoated and coated papers. In the sample above we're using pantone 7523 for all glossy products and pantone 1805 for all uncoated products. The negative drawback is that you're forced to match against the dull colour because the more vibrant colours can only be achieved on coated glossy papers.


Why does the same pantone look different between CMYK and single colour offset?

Pantone colours produced with CMYK offset are mixed with four base colours: blue, red, yellow and black. Single colour offset on the other hand uses a wide variety of vibrant base colours which allow you to achieve the most colourful pantones.
In the example above the single colour offset pantone 021 orange looks more vibrant than the CMYK offset. The reason is the four base colours in CMYK offset simply can't produce the vibrant orange as done in the single colour offset. The vibrant orange is outside of what is capable from the four base colours of CMYK offset. Both samples 1 and 2 meet standards but if you choose to get a closer match between colours you would need to run a dual process of CMYK plus single colour printing.

What is Delta E and how does it effect my printing projects?

Delta E is the value assigned by the difference between two colours, the higher the delta the larger the colour difference. It's difficult to reproduce the exact same colour between uncoated and coated papers, CMYK offset and single colour offset and therefore we use the Delta E to gauge the difference in colour from one to the other. Our standard is to be within a delta 3 for colour matching, the difference is hardly noticeable by the naked eye.



In the above example we've displayed five tones of red. Pantone 1805 U is our target colour, the other four colours have been scanned and assigned a delta value . Three tones of red displayed in the center of the diagram have delta's near 10 which is a significant difference and unacceptable. Pantone 7523 C on the right has a delta of 2.59, the difference is hardly noticeable by the eye and would pass the standard.

Rest assured, you're in the hands of experts

Colour is complicated but well controlled at The Standard Press. If your projects are colour critical you can rest assured our equipment will produce your colours within tolerance everytime.
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