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G7 and Color Control: Giving Customers Exactly What They Want


Ted McLeod
Author: Ted McLeod Date: 06/14/2018

Did you know that yellow is the happiest color? Or that purple is the color of wealth, mystery and wisdom? Or that brown conveys reliability and strength?

Yeah, neither did I. It turns out that there is very little hard science about how color influences people. In fact, research shows that personal preference, experiences, upbringing, cultural differences and context influence the effect individual colors have on us. 

That means that in the production print industry, there’s little consensus on whether something “looks right.” Given its inherent variability, color printing can be a struggle for print service providers (PSPs). From a production print standpoint, there are endless variables that can influence quality and consistency, from substrate, inks and toner, to the various processes used. On top of that, different individuals have different abilities to see color, or may view prints in poor lighting conditions.

What matters in the production print landscape is consistent, predictable and accurate color management based on objective, measurable standards. According to a survey, 50% of production print specialists say more than half of their total print volume is color critical. Sadly, it seems that every manufacturer adheres to different standards and solutions.

What is a G7?

One of the fastest growing standards in the color management field is G7.

No, G7 has nothing to do with the bloc of industrialized democracies that recently met to discuss world trade. In the printing industry, G7 is a method and calibration technique introduced by Idealliance, an association of printers, publishers and technology providers. It is based on the ISO 10128 standard to balance cyan, magenta and yellow so they appear as a neutral gray regardless of the color imaging process or device you are using. 

What that means is that G7 offers a numerical method to help printers validate color control. It was originally developed for halftone laminate proofing systems, but G7 was so successful in that arena that it’s now employed in other printing processes, including offset lithography and digital electrophotographic printing.

We’ve found that many PSPs and in-plant print centers are struggling to support a wider range of print services, especially for marketing materials. The good news is that over 50 percent of survey participants who implemented color management reported a reduction in rejected work and reprinted jobs. That’s because G7 creates a more consistent printing condition across different printing machines, printing technologies and materials.

The G7 calibration process can be used for measuring and tracking print quality over time because systems following the G7 process have a shared neutral appearance. Because of this, InfoTrends’ 2015 survey entitled Emerging Trends in Color Management revealed that 41% of printers have implemented G7 as a standard. 

Is G7 the same as GRACoL?

It’s important to note there are many competing standards out there. For example, General Requirements for Applications in Commercial Offset Lithography (GRACoL) and G7 are often mistaken for one another, but they are not the same. A printing system can be in G7 Grayscale conformance without meeting the GRACoL specification. 

Achieving G7 certification is going to help any organization achieve better results. Our partners at Canon have G7 calibration and embedded profiling features of the PRISMAsync color print server so that any print provider can earn G7 compliance in a short time. Canon’s decision to implement support for external G7 workflows can help PSPs make changes quickly as technologies, processes or standards evolve.

The Gordon Flesch Company is the largest independent Canon dealer in the nation, and we’d love to show you how our print experts can ease the burdens of worrying about color control in even the most demanding print environments. Reach out to us today for a no-cost, no-obligation assessment of your print production needs.

Survey: Infotrends’ Emerging Trends in Color Management 2015
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Written by Ted McLeod

Ted McLeod’s role as Manager of Print Solutions at the Gordon Flesch Company, combined with his 18 years experience in professional sales, positions him to help clients gain a competitive advantage. He provides leadership and support for production print, large format print and managed print solutions.

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