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Before talking about Hexachromy, we must deal with the CMYK colors, which is the acronym for the basic colors (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black) that they use in four-color prints (four-color), which represents the advanced version of the old RYB (Red, Yellow and Blue).

The Hexacromy or the Hexachrome, etymologically comes from HEXA which means 6 and CORMATOS which means Color, is a printing technique that results from the conjunction of 6 colors, (green, orange, cyan, magenta, yellow and black), created by Richard Herbert and developed by Pantone in 1995, which was born out of the need to create a high print quality, but with the use of fewer colors, and that is where the magic happens.

The variety of tones that can be obtained through Hexachromy, the packaging industry has been able to achieve impressions that were not possible before, and as a consequence we have packages with truly impressive images on the market.

With the help of machines with more than four bodies, hexachromy allows printing with six or more inks, or with four and Pantone or special varnishes.

The composition of the hexachromy can vary according to the results that the printer wishes to achieve, being able to vary the formula by CMYKOV (V = Violet), or add a seventh “Heptachromy” ink (CMYKOVG), a modality that would obtain any color.

Although currently in the world of flexographic printing, the CMYK mode is widely used, if you have not experienced Hexachromy printing, we will name some differences between the two:


  • It is made up of 6 colors (green, orange, cyan, magenta, yellow and black).
  • It is possible to display 90-93% of the color space.
  • Higher saturation.
  • Greater luminosity.
  • Vibrant colors.
  • Subtle tones.
  • It is recommended for projects that need high definition.
  • You need a machine capable of developing that impression.


  • It is made up of 4 colors (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black).
  • 70% of the color space can be displayed.
  • Less saturation.
  • Lower luminosity.
  • It is recommended for conventional projects.
  • You need a 4-color machine.

Hexachromy, allows the combination of a wide range of colors, which can be produced with a defined number of colorants in a specific design. Printing systems cannot produce the full spectrum of colors that the human eye can see, but with hexachromy it is capable of achieving it as a high percentage.

These are some of the manufacturers of machines for Flexographic Printing with the capacity to print using this technology:

 How is the Hexachromy process in the design of a flexographic plate?

There are many technical fundamentals immersed in the process of making the Flexo Plates of an image under this format, we briefly explain that once the design is chosen, they are separated into 6 plates, one for each ink, C (Cyan), M (Magenta ), Y (Yellow), K (Black), G (Green), and O (Orange). In the pre-printing phase, the plates are placed inside the printing machine and located in the corresponding ink station, the substrate as it passes through each color station, it has the color transfer and as a result at the end of the process you get an impression of the highest quality.

Hexachromy is a technique that offers astonishing results with high image quality, exceeding the limits of the CMYK color gamut, which suffers from a more circumscribed gamut than RYB.

Here are some of the main benefits of extended-gamut printing, offered by one of our allies ESKO, with EQUINOX: 

  • Reduce inventory of spot color inks.
  • Less washes in the press.
  • Higher productivity with less downtime between jobs.
  • Enable job pooling on the press.
  • Achieve brand color matching across all printing technologies.