Having your client take a flight from the other side of the world, to approve a printing run at the foot of your press, is a thing of the past. Currently, Characterized Impressions, also called Profiled Color Proof or Proofing, are being included in the process of many flexographic printers because they send their client a color impression with the final result of the packaging, in a matter of minutes, without the need to turn on the press and mobilize an entire technical team. How? Continue reading to explain.
What is it? It is a color print made by the pre-press team using a specialized digital printer and outlined with the information of your press. The printed design guarantees 85% fidelity to what you will obtain in the press, so it is used as a test. Contract and/or starting point to define technical parameters between the parties involved, printer, prepress and client.
How can you and your team benefit from this technological advancement? Characterizing the press and setting all the variables involved in the printing process as follows:
1.- Perform a Benchmark Test on a color, to observe if the variables involved in the process give the desired results, evaluating the system’s ability to print fine details and maintain high resolution in the reproduction of images and texts. Analyze ink quality and consistency, including color saturation, opacity, and ability to maintain stability under different printing conditions, printing speed, etc.
2.- Perform a P2P to observe tone patches with known hue values of the four colors known as CMYK, overprinting of solids with two colors green and blue to measure colorimetric properties, gray balance/calibration close to neutral including in the target IT8. 7/4, highlights, 1/4 tone, midtone, % tone and gray balance shadow patches, to define the dot gain curve, CMYK combinations of two, three and four colors in percentages different color points to colorimetrically quantify the entire color space and determine the achievable color gamut.
3.- Print a Finger Print, fingerprint or single impression to establish the conditions of the printing system, create an ICC Color Profile, make the adjustments to compensate for the increase in tonal value (AVT) and even, in some cases, adjust the color proofing system to the correct simulation response with respect to the final print.
4.- With the information obtained in these tests, the press is profiled against the proofer (digital printer).
1.- The characterizations are individual and independent for each press. If you have several, even if they are the same model, you must characterize them separately.
2.- If you print on several substrates you must profile for each type.
3.- RESPECT THE STANDARDIZED VARIABLES (with capital letters), you must follow the variables defined in the characterization, it is the only way in which you will be able to guarantee accurate color reproduction, consistency and repeatability of your prints.
5.- Any color test that they offer you without doing the steps indicated above, are only copies, basic color prints, with which you will not be able to guarantee fidelity in the final product, bringing you numerous trial and error tests in the press to be able to get closer moderately to that impression, don’t make that mistake!
As we say in flexography “The mission of a proofing system is to create accurate predictions, not pretty images.” Characterized prints are an integral part of color management and focus on ensuring that color reproduction devices and systems maintain consistency and accuracy over time in various conditions.
At Grafiflex, we understand what it means to be a differentiator within the competition, to be at the forefront and to offer flexographic solutions to a trade as demanding as ours.
If you have not yet benefited from this valuable tool, we invite you to do so, we have a highly qualified team at your disposal to carry out these tests. We assure you that your printing process will be a before and after.