Every printer claims to offer outstanding color and color match across production processes, but only a relative few actually do. How do you find them? You look for printers that, like Full Sail Media, are G7-qualified.
G7 qualification, developed by the IDEAlliance in 2005, does what traditional ways of measuring and standardizing color cannot.
Traditional ways of measuring and standardizing color include ICC profiles, SWOP®, GRACol®, and FIRST. However, even the best printers using these methods must contend with the variation inherent in digital and offset production that makes precise, consistent color match difficult to achieve. It is even more difficult across processes.
G7-qualified printers are different. G7 represents a set of industry specifications designed to achieve visual consistency across diverse printing technologies. G7 does this by defining gray balance in terms of tonality (lightness and contrast) and balance (neutrality). Since common neutral appearance is the basis of consistent color, this creates parity among printing processes regardless of ink or substrate and allows the printer to adjust any press or printing system to a common neutral appearance.
What are the benefits of working with a G7-qualified printer? Put simply, once you approve that contract proof, the color will match on your jobs exactly. No surprises! Plus, you can achieve consistent, predictable color matches across processes for which the presses are G7-qualified.
Three Levels of G7
While many of Full Sail’s clients may have heard of G7, what they may not realize is that all G7 qualification is not the same. G7 actually has three levels:
- Grayscale: This is the first level of G7 qualification and the one held by most G7 printers. This involves aligning the tonal response so that neutral tones appear consistent from one print job to another. Consistent grayscale ensures that images, text, and graphics appear with uniform tonality, reducing variations in color reproduction.
- Targeted: G7 Targeted is the next level up and involves calibrating the printing process to hit specific color values, often based on international color standards like ISO 12647-2. Targeted G7 qualification enhances color accuracy and consistency, making it valuable for jobs like packaging and branding where precise color reproduction is critical. Full Sail’s HP Indigo 15000 is Targeted Qualified.
- Color Space: This is the highest level of G7 qualification and the most challenging level to achieve. The G7 Color Space level produces the most standardized and predictable color output, allowing print shops to reliably reproduce colors across different jobs and devices. Achieving Color Space Qualification requires reading nearly 2,000 patches — all of which have to pass. Full Sail’s Komori Lithrone 28 press and Epson P6000 Inkjet Contract Proofer are both G7 Color Space Qualified.
This means that, by aligning each of our G7-qualified printing processes to G7 specifications, we can deliver consistent, objective, verifiable color that matches the color proof every time. Whether you are printing product packaging, corporate brochures, or direct mail, once you approve the contract proof, the color will match on your jobs exactly.
This is particularly important when you are printing color-critical jobs such as corporate printing, art catalogs, and consumer product packaging where color must be dead on. Can you imagine if there were variations on brand colors like Apple or IBM? Or if the hair color on boxes of hair colorants were different from batch to batch?
Even if you don’t need to hit precise color targets, printing on G7-qualified presses can save you money. Our G7 process allows us to hit color right out of the gate. This, in turn, saves you time and consumables like paper and ink. (Thus, G7 printing is more environmentally friendly, too!)
Why Doesn’t Every Printer Have One?
With so many benefits, why are there so few G7-qualified printers? G7 qualification is not for the faint of heart. G7 is a complex methodology and qualification is a lengthy process that takes significant time and effort. Once training is complete, it requires a hefty investment in the color measurement, monitoring, and calibration tools and software, along with the commitment to maintain that calibration over time. Even once G7 printers achieve their qualification, they must re-qualify every year.
This level of complexity and time (and financial) commitment is why most printers don’t become G7-qualified. So why does Full Sail Media do it? Because we know it matters, both for us (because we take such pride in what we do) and for our customers, whether their jobs are color-critical or not.
Who Benefits From G7-Qualified Printing
You’ll forgive us for being passionate about what it means to be G7-qualified. It’s a big deal in being able to deliver the level of service and quality to our customers that they deserve.
Now, just what kinds of companies and organizations will get the most out of working with a G7-qualified printer? Let’s take a look.
- Brand-Conscious Corporations – Companies with a strong brand identity rely heavily on color consistency. For them, even a slight variation in brand colors can impact consumer perception and brand integrity. G7 qualification ensures that these corporations can trust their printed materials to accurately represent their brand colors, every time.
- Packaging and Consumer Goods Companies – When it comes to product packaging, especially for consumer goods like cosmetics and food products, color accuracy is crucial. Imagine the confusion if the hair color on a box of hair dye varies from batch to batch. G7 qualification provides the precision needed for consistent packaging prints.
- Marketing and Advertising Agencies – Agencies developing marketing materials, such as brochures, billboards, and direct mail campaigns, need their printed colors to match the original designs exactly. G7’s standardization means that what an agency designs is what gets printed, maintaining the campaign’s visual integrity.
- Art Publishers and Galleries – For art catalogs and reproductions, the quality and accuracy of color are paramount. G7 qualification ensures that the printed reproductions closely match the original artwork, which is essential for galleries and artists showcasing their work.
- Corporate Communications Departments – Internal and external corporate communications, including annual reports, corporate brochures, and investor relations materials, often require high-quality printing to convey professionalism and credibility. G7 qualification assures these departments of consistent, high-quality print outputs.
- Environmentally Conscious Clients – Any company looking to reduce waste and be more environmentally responsible will benefit from G7. Since G7-qualified printers achieve correct color faster and with fewer trials, there’s less waste of materials and resources, making it a greener choice.
- High-Volume Print Buyers – Companies that require large quantities of printed materials on a regular basis can save time and costs by working with a G7-qualified printer. The efficiency and consistency in color management mean fewer reprints and faster turnaround times.
- Event Planners and Designers – For event-related materials like banners, invitations, and signage, color consistency across various items is crucial for a cohesive look. G7 qualification ensures that all materials, regardless of the substrate or printing process, look uniform.
Of course, these are just a few examples of the business, organizations, and industries that will benefit from the G7 standard.
Work With The G7-Qualified Printers At Full Sail Media
New to Full Sail Media and G7 printing? Bring us your next job and let us show you what a difference a G7-qualified printer can make. Send us a message here to get started.