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An Introduction to G7® Color Management


G7 Certified Master printers enable precise color management across print processes, devices, substrates and inks.

Ever since George Baxter patented the first commercially viable color printing process in 1835, print professionals have been trying to manage the colors achieved when ink is applied to paper. “Color management” is the term now used to describe the art of reproducing an image on a printed piece as accurately as possible.

For marketing managers, color accuracy is understandably of paramount importance. In the minds of consumers, iconic colors like Starbucks Green, UPS Brown and Target Red are inseparable from the brands they represent. Unfortunately, as brands grow in the marketplace, it becomes more and more difficult to control those iconic colors.

Consider the Starbucks example. The signature Starbucks Green must be replicated on signs, menus, napkins, gift card carriers, drink coasters, coffee cup sleeves and more. Each item is printed independently at various times throughout the year by different vendors on different substrates using a variety of printing press technologies. Without a robust color management system, that signature green would start to vary greatly. Thankfully, there is a solution and its name is G7.

What G7 is and seeks to do

Idealliance is an organization that develops specifications and certifications for the graphic communications industry. Their G7 specification is the recognized standard. It is used with color management for printing in North America and in most other countries around the world.

In very simple terms, the G7 process standardizes a color match from the original image to the final printed piece. G7 gives print professionals the “color compass” they need to:

  • Ensure a similar appearance in a printed piece across multiple printing devices.
  • Consistently align desired color targets.
  • Align all print processes, substrates and inks to achieve consistent measurable results.
  • Meet customer expectations with color reproduction while also balancing their budgetary limitations and turnaround time expectations.

The concept is perhaps best embodied in Idealliance’s trademarked phrase, Print Anywhere®. G7 makes it possible to achieve the “visual similarity” in printed pieces that is so vital to protecting a brand in the marketplace.

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Why G7 certification matters

The finer points of G7 and color standards – and how to achieve them on a given press – are far beyond the scope of this blog. Talk to a G7 Certified Master Printer and you will hear about things like color gamuts, GraCOL, Delta E color differences, ink drawdown proofs and more. Suffice to say, G7 is a highly complex standard that requires extensive training and hands-on experience with print production.

However, what G7 does for you is much easier to describe. When you work with a G7 certified partner, you can trust that your signature brand colors – and all of your printed materials for that matter – will be handled with care. The advantages of working with a qualified G7 print partner are many:

  • Consistent color in your marketing materials adds to the perceived value of your brand and builds brand loyalty among your customers.
  • The G7 methodology eliminates inefficient trial and error on the part of the printer during setup of a print job, accelerating turnaround time.
  • Less trial and error means the costs passed along to you for print proofs are reduced.
  • Less make-ready time on the printing press means less print waste, enhancing the sustainability of your marketing efforts.
  • Using a G7 certified printer reduces the need for on-site press checks and the travel costs that often result.
  • Working within the G7 standard streamlines communication and expectation-setting between the print partner and the print buyer.

Leading the Way in Color Management

Taylor is a leading advocate within the printing industry of Idealliance’s G7 standard. In fact, Taylor is one of the few companies worldwide to have its own G7 trainer on staff. This investment in color management expertise has enabled us to credential more than 150 Taylor employees and business partners as G7 Certified Professionals and Experts.

This expertise, in turn, carries over to our production facilities. More than 30 facilities in Taylor’s print production network are G7 Certified Master facilities. Acrylic Design Associates is the latest to join this prestigious list, achieving G7 Master Qualification – Colorspace certification, the highest level of G7 certification possible.

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Acrylic Design Associates, a Taylor Corporation company, is a leading producer of custom retail displays, LED fixtures, signage, artwork and architectural features. While acrylic is in their name, they work with a wide range of materials including plastic, wood, metal, fabric, paper and more. This in-house color management expertise enables Acrylic Design Associates to match colors across materials and marketing campaigns with great precision.

See how Taylor’s embrace of G7 standards saves you money and results in a stronger brand identity in the marketplace. Contact a Taylor representative to learn more.


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