Hulking challenges, heroic solutions: Corrugated colour accuracy with Contact Originators

Getting consistently accurate colour rolling off presses can be a big challenge for today’s corrugated printers. 16th January is Printing Ink Day, a day to celebrate the advances and successes of the print industry, so what better time to put colour under the microscope?

With mounting pressures on lead times, costs and achieving business sustainability, imperfect colour replication can be enough to make even the calmest and most composed print teams ‘hulk out’.

Just imagine if comic book icon The Hulk was a different colour, even just a few Delta E shades away from his iconic green. The human eye is incredible and can detect these minute changes instantly. In fact, colour replication struggles led to this green being used. The comic book printer could not consistently print the grey skin that the character had been designed with, so to ensure consistency in future issues, the decision was taken to recolour the iconic superhero to the green we know today.

This early anecdote still resonates today – colour reproduction matters. Brands spend many millions of pounds perfecting their identity, often including the trademarking of their specific brand colours, and are rightly protective of these assets.

Think about the yellow of industrial brand Caterpillar, or the purple of Cadburys, deviations from these very specific colour shades are instantly perceptible. Colour that isn’t precise over even the shortest of print runs can result in a lot of waste, extended lead times, and unhappy customers.

Why work with a corrugated packaging reprographics specialist like Contact Originators?

It’s simple; access to experience and technical expertise that makes consistent colour accuracy easier and more accessible than ever before.

Printing is both an art and a science with many press and consumables variables to manage. Even the most experienced in-house packaging design teams can struggle with achieving colour accuracy due to the number of factors involved. Working with the Contact team takes away a lot of the common pressure points, ensuring your production always stays on the front foot.


Excellence in colour accuracy

We provide a comprehensive range of colour management services, using the latest tools and techniques to drive value for our customers – and to turn their competition green with envy.

For example, the colour toolbox we use includes GMG OpenColor, widely considered to be the gold standard in colour prediction. The platform uses spectral data, the fundamental ‘DNA’ of colour, to precisely simulate how a given colour will translate across different processes and substrates. Where colour values, descriptions and standards can vary from one place to another, especially for global brands that operate internationally, spectral data breaks colour down into irrefutable data that creates the same colour outcome every time.

In turn, this gives us our own proofing and colour management superpowers – able to help our customers access right-first-time printing, every time, without the fuss.

This colour intelligence also means it’s incredibly simple to help our customers make better use of Extended Colour Gamut (ECG) printing, also known as Fixed Colour Palette printing. ECG reduces the reliance on costly (and often wasteful) spot colour inks by making better use of the extended CMYK/OGV ink palette. Currently, around 90% of PANTONE® colours can be recreated with ECG printing, helping support optimal use of resources and a more sustainably minded print sector.

Efficiency, predictability and innovation

Our colour excellence toolkit also includes Print Control Wizard (PCW). As part of our prepress workflow, the technology adds a new level of efficiency to platemaking in the corrugated industry. It streamlines plate production by standardising critical print parameters such as imaging resolution, exposure settings, plate, substrate, anilox, press type, and inks.  We know that quality is non-negotiable, and with features like Dot Clean Up functionality, PCW efficiently removes partial dots, ensuring clean tints and vignettes. This reduces the need for object-based screening, minimising errors and waste.

The innovation doesn’t end there. In a UK-first, our workflow now also includes Esko’s ArtPro+ platform, connected to GMG OpenColor software, further boosting our accuracy and efficiency.

Ready to unleash some superhero-sized corrugated printing performance? It begins with a packaging reprographics partner like Contact Originators.

With a full suite of services including colour management and plate production, and sustainability-focused innovations such as MagnaForma™, we prove that The Hulk isn’t the only thing that’s incredible!

Find out how our team can deliver smashing results in your corrugated printing prepress – get in touch now.

To find out more about the latest Contact innovations, get in touch