Spectrum+: the Expanded Colour Revolution – decoded

By Amanda Whyte

Amanda Whyte.
Amanda Whyte.

The annual colloquium event organized by Ryerson University’s Graphic Communications Management program on Thursday, February 16, 2017 was a huge success once again. Students, professors, industry guests and speakers alike attended this year’s Spectrum+: The Expanded Colour Revolution, sponsored by the university, the Ryerson Print Media Research Centre, and Esko. The annual colloquium is a longstanding annual event that offers students and industry professionals opportunities to discuss current and relevant topics in the printing industry, during an engaging evening of refreshments, presentations and a discussion panel.

This year’s topic was expanded colour gamut (EG), which is a modern way to maximize press time and provide eye-popping brand colours to the customer, while saving costs and reducing make-ready times. It allows the printer to ‘punch’ the colour gamut out in the overprint areas where colour combinations are weakest. Using CMYKOGV (CMYK plus Orange, Green and Violet) changes how designers work and are trained, mainly in commercial print.

Colloquium speakers from left are Kyle McVey, John Seymour and Nawar Mahfooth. (Photo: Andrew Ouzounis).
Colloquium speakers (from left) are Kyle McVey, John Seymour and Nawar Mahfooth. (Photo: Andrew Ouzounis).

Kyle McVey from Jones Packaging revealed that 50% of packaging in 2020 will be using expanded colour gamut technology, according to Esko research. Pantone has created an extended gamut coated guide that has 90% better matches than just using CMYK by adding Orange, Green and Violet (think about the exciting new possibilities in marketing, packaging and signage applications). McVey raised a good point – why expand? Basically, this would be ideal for pressroom efficiency and for image colour quality. Think “design” and think “pop.”

McVey began the speaker session by discussing its fascinating case study of a client that approached them to print 10 of their products using 6-colour process expanded gamut printing (GKCMYO) at a time when the company was still deciding if expanding their press was economically feasible! The printing conditions would’ve allowed for 6 printing units and 1 coating unit. Their goals were to try and get as many brand colours within a tolerance of 2.5 ∆E, which is difficult to control on press. Ink trapping was their biggest troubleshooting process, and McVey noted that print sequence had the biggest impact. “Expanded gamut is just a tool in a massive toolbox,” said McVey, “because expanded gamut printing can be a successful asset to a customer’s application if they understand the printer’s limitations.” Four out of 10 of the company’s printed jobs required minor adjustments to obtain ≤2.5 ∆E.

Part of the crowd at the Ryerson Colloquium February 16. (Photo courtesy of Andrew Ouzounis).
Part of the crowd at the Ryerson Colloquium February 16. (Photo: Andrew Ouzounis).

John Seymour, a.k.a. “The Math Guy” was the second keynote speaker at the colloquium and discussed the evolution of expanded colour gamut printing. He noted that, besides the make-ready time being a selling factor of expanded gamut printing, that ganging print jobs allows for smaller runs. He also emphasized that EG has more in-gamut spot colours, that plate inventory is required, and much more. One limitation he pointed out was the angles required to prevent moirées.

Nawar Mahfooth was the third presenter and delved into a research project in collaboration with the Print Media Research Centre about using advanced algorithms to predict press behaviour – to reduce the need for advanced colour management knowledge, dedicated press runs, and wasting entire press sheets. He would replace the large test chart with a Dynamic Press Profiler’s (DPP) proprietary test chart with ~150 patches (rather than ~1,600). Mahfooth claimed that this method eliminates the need for press curves, saves ink through advanced management, and press and proof matches would be better.

At the end of colloquium, Abhay Sharma, a professor at Ryerson University, added: “It was great to see both the theory of colour science by John, practical applications of expanded gamut by Kyle, and Nawar talk about characteristics.” Ian Baitz, Chair of Ryerson’s Graphic Communications Management program, stressed the importance of the upcoming Job Fair on March 23 and how students should take every networking opportunity such as this, to build industry knowledge and communicate with future potential employers. Special thanks to Andrew Ouzounis (http://www.theandouz.com/) for providing the photographs for Amanda’s post.

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Tony Curcio is the editor of Graphic Arts Magazine.