Can I Have Your Recipe?
In the world of packaging, CMYK is an appetizer, whetting but no longer satisfying end-users’ growing appetite for color. It stands to reason: color is arguably the most identifiable and valuable of all the assets associated with a given brand. And not just any color, but intense, vibrant color that differentiates a company from its competition, creates an irresistible emotional connection with the consumer; color that is the key component of high-impact graphics designed to grab a consumer’s attention and hold it long enough to trigger a purchase decision.
With its limited gamut and ability to simulate only about 60 percent of standard Pantone colors, however, the four-color process system packs insufficient marketing punch for many packaging applications. Designers are constantly frustrated when printing in CMYK alone, as it permits just four color (halftone) combinations, and therefore can reproduce only a limited range of hues. Working with spot colors also can be costly and time-consuming. A more aesthetically rewarding and cost-effective option is to alter or add two or more special colors to the standard four-color process set (cyan, magenta, yellow, and black) in order to augment or “extend” the standard gamut and enable the press to print a wider range of colors.
For the printer/converter, using one set of inks can effectively reproduce a vast number of spot colors while reducing the number of press runs, wash-ups, and inks involved. Fewer changeovers also yields greater consistency over the length of the print run. For the package designer, extended color printing offers a greatly expanded palette and the promise of faithful reproduction of original art work. For the end user/CPC, payoff comes in the dramatic visual shelf impact that translates into dollars at the cash register. Granted, working with extended ink sets requires some adjustment, but the results clearly are worth the trouble for a growing number of printers and end users.