Colour Management Updates

GRACoL 2013
In 2006 GRACoL created the first reference printing condition for commercial printing in North America. To keep up with changes the GRACoL committee has introduced an updated version called GRACoL 2013 which is almost identical to the 2006 specification. A few minor changes have been made but they are barely visible to anyone visually evaluating the differences.

What are the differences:
ColourManagementThe main difference between the 2006 and 2013 printing conditions would be in the white point. The white point refers to the colour of the paper. In 2006 we were using different printing stocks than we are today. Many of today’s paper stock’s available for commercial printing have started to include optical brighteners, this makes the paper appear slightly bluer. The new white point on the GRACoL 2013 is now 95 L*, 0 a*, -4 b*, previously it was 95 L*, 0 a*, -2 b*. The difference is in that b* portion.

Not only did the paper white values change but there were also small changes to other colours to align GRACoL with other industry standards. The changes shown below are visually impossible to see as they are less than 1dE.

What does this mean to you?
Legacy image files do not need to be adjusted or converted to conform to the new 2013 specification. Only in rare situations will the difference be visible. IDEAlliance is recommending that all new proofing installations start to use the new specification and legacy RIP’s are to be migrated over the new specification during the 2014-2015 calendar year.

If you have a proofing workflow the change is simple.  All you need to do is change the reference or simulation profile to the new 2013 GRACoL profile.

Obtaining new Profiles:
The 2013 profiles can be downloaded from the IDEAlliance website ( or the icc profile registry at
GRACoL loses its coat.

The best part is that IDEAlliance also came out with an uncoated version of GRACOL called GRACoL2013UNC_CRPC3.icc. I have always struggled to find a decent uncoated reference profile for converting to and to use as a proofing reference. Separation details are: TAC: 280% UCR/GCR: Medium+ Max black: 100% TVI: C19, M19.1%, Y19% K22.1%.

X-Rite has updated the eXact measurement device.  It now has Mac support for the eXactManager, DataCatcher and DataMeasure applications and comes with an eXact Alignment bar for fast and easy offset colour bar reading, which supports measurement of continuous colour bars.  It’s available in two sizes: 56 cm/22″ and 112 cm/44″

Barbieri SpectroPad Series 2.
Barbieri has some cool devices that can help when it comes to creating profiles and checking colour quality. The SpectroPad Series 2 is a portable spectrophotometer that can measure any media used in digital printing to determine how closely it matches industry standards. The additional DOC (Digital Output Control) is require to take advantage of this functionality. I like how portable this device is, allowing you to simply place the device on the media and take a measurement.

At this point Barbieri is the only company that also sells a device that can measure backlit materials. The Spectro LFP is the Swiss army knife of measurement devices. It can measure textiles, glass, backlit film, paper, vinyl, silk, fabrics, fine art paper, plexiglas, adhesives, banner, canvas, polyester, PVC, wrap film, cardboard, plastic plates, gypsum plates, wood, stone and ceramic plates.

Self-Calibrating monitors:
The holy grail of colour is for our devices to colour calibrate themselves while we are sleeping. That may seem like a lofty goal, but it is a reality with the new line of ColorEdge monitors from Eizo. The CG series of monitors now offer a built-in calibration sensor. Using either the OSD menu or the bundled ColorNavigator software, you can schedule the monitor to self-calibrate at specific times. Even if the monitor is switched off or not connected to a computer, it will stick to its preset schedule and self-calibrate, very cool!