GMG ColorCard digitises ink drawdowns

GMG has developed a new ColorCard tool to take some of the drudgery out of producing spot colour ink draw downs, which are common in the packaging and label markets in order to properly communicate the colour references for a job to everyone involved in its commission and production.

GMG ColorCard gives a digital way of producing an ink drawdown card.

An ink draw down is basically a test print made with the final ink mix that gives a client an idea of the colour. Once the ink has been mixed, it’s printed out, usually on a small flatbed printer or even just rolled onto the production paper with a small hand-roller so that it can be measured and validated. From here it would then have to be printed on a production press, and a square patch would then be cut out and stuck to a chart so that everyone involved could see exactly the colour that was going to be used. It’s fairly common to take multiple versions so that a client can judge how using different ink densities affect the colour. It’s also necessary to create copies for each person, including the client and the press operators, and might have to be repeated for different substrates. 

So the idea behind the ColorCard is to take out a lot of the manual repetition. It’s still necessary to mix the ink and to roll it out onto the production paper but at this point it’s measured with a spectrophotometer and the spectral data fed into the ColorCard software. From here it can then be printed out on an inkjet proofer with the appropriate proofing media and profiles to create a digitally printed ink reference that can be customised with density tolerances, customer logos and so on.

It uses standard CxF data and different proofing media can be used to simulate the effects on different substrates, including corrugated and folding carton. It’s a simple matter to print as many copies as needed and the files can be sent electronically and printed through a remote proofing set up if necessary. And of course the files can also be saved in the cloud for future reference.

It should be possible to produce a ColorCard in under three minutes, and GMG claims that this can save up to 90 percent of the time needed to manually produce an ink drawdown. It should allow printers to produce their own colour cards rather than paying an ink manufacturer to do it.

ColorCard is a plug-in for GMG’s OpenColour solution for spot colours. It comes as a package that includes GMG colour management software, an Epson SC-P500 inkjet printer and the GMG proofing media needed to produce the cards. You can find further details from gmgcolor.com.


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