Businesses spend countless hours creating and designing their print products. So, when it comes to the printing process, perfection is non-negotiable. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a B2B catalog, a niche interest magazine, or something in between, if it has your company logo on it, it must be flawless.
From a printing standpoint, this means that the color has to be perfect. From matching your specific brand colors to reproducing the hues of high-quality images and graphics, the color of your print publication must be superb and consistent.
To promote their color calibration, many printing companies tout being part of the G7 Certification program.
But what exactly does that mean for customers?
The G7 Certification program was established in 2006 by Idealliance, a non-profit association that helps develop specifications and certifications related to the graphic communications industry. The “G” stands for gray, while the number represents the colors spectrums CMYK and RGB. The program is an international calibration methodology that helps ensure uniform color across all print mediums.
The Importance of Color Consistency
Color isn’t just one part of the printing process. It is the printing process.
Color can invoke certain emotions with your audience, and can help create a more engaging, immersive print experience. Color consistency also reinforces trust in your brand. On the other hand, color inconsistency can decrease brand loyalty, and compromise the positive brand perceptions you’ve worked hard to build.
Simply put, the G7 certification program guarantees that a press operation’s colors are consistent across all processes, substrates and inks, and that they all align with industry standards.
Maintaining this certification goes beyond just meeting color targets. From a production standpoint, it also means reduced design times and higher levels of consistency in reprints.
G7 certification is certainly something for printers to celebrate because the multi-level process is complex — particularly when going through the process the first time.
|The Steps to G7 Master Printer Certification
A printer can only achieve the G7 Master Printer designation if they meet the requirements of each G7 compliance level. Each level can only be achieved after the previous level is attained.
Grayscale Compliance: The fundamental level of G7, this compliance level ensures that neutral tones are calibrated to match with the ideal G7 neutral density curve. Successfully printing these colors makes it far more likely that a printer can recreate other colors across the CMYK spectrum.
Targeted Compliance: This level is achieved when Grayscale compliance is met, and the solid ink measurements for primary and secondary colors (CMY and RGB) and substrate colors are within the spec to the G7 based color targets.
Colorspace Compliance: This level demonstrates that extremely tight tolerances are maintained throughout the entire color spectrum, using an entire IT8.7/4 target. This level is also divided into printing and proofing processes, as well, with stricter requirements for proofing.
The G7 Certification Process
First, the G7 Certification process requires working with a third-party consultant, or having an internal employee undergo the G7 Certification training program. Walsworth has several managers that have undergone the training, in order to ensure every operation is calibrated to produce consistent color.
Walsworth has been certified as a G7 Master Printer every year since 2010. Given our longstanding membership, the annual recertification process entails a calibration run on one press at each facility to demonstrate our knowledge.
In contrast, initial certification involves a calibration run for every press throughout every facility. It begins with a test run of a chart with numerous color tones, based on the compliance level being attained. After the first run, the printed sheet is placed on a spectrophotometer to determine its color accuracy against the G7 standard. Adjustments are made, and another test run is completed.
Once the press falls within the strict G7 color requirements, press sheets are submitted to a third party for review. This process is repeated for each level of the program, which collectively ensures that the entire spectrum of colors matches the G7 standards.
Within the Idealliance’s G7 Certification program there are three different levels: Greyscale, Targeted and Colorspace. To become a G7 Certified Master Printer, a press operation must meet all three compliance levels. At Walsworth, we’re committed to creating value for customers with superb print products, and one of the ways we do this is by being an active participant in the G7 Master Printer certification program.
No matter what your print product is, the colors have to be perfect. It’s not a matter of looking nice —it’s about maintaining trust and brand integrity. A G7 Master Printer will help ensure both, with added benefits for customers as well.