Design for Extended Color Gamut
Extended Color Gamut (ECG) printing, adding a limited number of select colors to the palette of standard process cyan, magenta, yellow, and black inks to create more vibrant colors, is not a new concept. The Hexachrome ECG system, among others, has been around for years. ECG is enjoying a re-surging interest and there are a few design techniques to improve the success of this printing strategy.
Just because a strategy or solution is quicker and cheaper doesn’t necessarily mean that it is successful, especially when the integrity we’ve worked so hard to build into our brands is at risk. Any viable solution must still deliver the brilliant, unique identity that our stakeholders have come to expect.
Color Simplification vs ECG
Most systems add green, violet, and orange to CMYK to extend the range of built colors. When a unique color is an integral part of a branding system and repeated throughout the architecture, the ECG palette can be modified to include this equity color. For instance, if your global brand includes a PMS 293 word mark, you may replace ECG violet with this color. This ‘color simplification’ may still limit spot color usage, extend the gamut of built colors, and maintain logo integrity.
Careful Color Selection
Avoid contaminant colors by selecting clean, rich colors built from a minimum of process inks. Work closely with your printer and color separator to establish a reliable system of color proofing and use it to your advantage. Not sure if your proposed flavor colors will build accurately or work well with other built colors? Request a proof of the color palette to make informed decisions before the design is locked. Reliable partners will identify at-risk colors and propose alternative solutions.
Limit Built Copy
Minimize the print registration challenges by avoiding text created from multiple colors. Select one acceptable color from the palette for nutrition facts and ingredient copy. Designing white (knockout) copy from a built background poses similar registration challenges. Using one-color key lines around photography, multi-color illustrations, built background colors, and knockout text (when appropriate) ensures success on press.
Scott Hosa started his career in the graphic arts at 14 years old as a printer’s helper at a local newspaper, and has been in printing and packaging ever since. He studied graphic design at Youngstown State University, industrial design at The Ohio State University and has worked on all aspects of global branding for clients including Bayer, GSK, Hershey Company, Kraft Foods Inc., PepsiCo., Pfizer, Procter & Gamble, SC Johnson and Unilever. Hosa is currently helping clients build agile brands that thrive in today’s dynamic, disruptive marketplace as associate director of technical graphics at Landor, a global leader in brand consulting and design.