Exploring the World of Color

By David Savastano, Ink World Editor | 10.30.09

Anyone who walks through a supermarket or a bookstore’s magazine section knows that the world of packaging and publishing is a colorful one. The reason, of course, is that consumers notice color, and studies show that much of what is purchased occurs because a consumer makes a split-second decision based on what they see.

What consumers see is the finished product. However, to get to that perfect package or publication takes a tremendous amount of time. Generally speaking, the end-user designs the product, and inks have to be formulated to achieve the color and the necessary properties for the specific substrates. Printers then take the ink and run the presses.

That is the short version of the process. This month, Ink World looks at the world of color from two aspects: high performance pigments (HPPs) and color matching.

In “The Growth of High Performance Pigments,” beginning on page 22, the use of HPPs in high-growth areas such as flexible packaging and ink jet is discussed. HPPs provide excellent resistance to weather, chemicals and light while providing high color strength, heat stability and low migration, making these pigments ideal for packaging. HPPs are estimated to account for approximately $1.2 billion of the estimated $4.2 billion pigment market, and their use is growing much quicker than conventional pigments. As printing ink requirements become more complex, HPP sales are poised to continue to grow in the coming years.

Of course, formulating the right color ink is only the first step. Running it successfully on press is another matter. Years ago, color matching was considered an art, done by sight alone. Today, computer software programs, spectrophotometers and proofing systems have made color matching more of a science.

In “Color Matching and QC,” beginning on page 26, industry experts discuss the changing nature of color matching. Color matching is an essential part of printing, and consistency and repeatability are two of the most important attributes when it comes to color matching and quality control. More and more printers are utilizing sophisticated color matching equipment and software prior to press, and ink companies are developing systems that are allowing printers to meet their own customers’ demands ever more successfully.

We live in a world that is full of color, and ink companies and their suppliers can take pride in having a tremendously important role in creating that color.
David Savastano
Ink World Editor