Extended Color Gamut (ECG) or Fixed Palette Printing: What is it?
Extended Color Gamut (ECG) or Fixed Palette Printing
Printing technology has seen a number of significant transformations in recent years. Extended Color Gamut (ECG) or Fixed Palette Printing is one of the stand-out trends in the printing world today.
What is Extended Color Gamut Printing?
Extended Color Gamut Printing (ECG) is a printing technology that uses a fixed set of colors to reproduce a wide range of Pantone or brand colors. In label printing, most jobs are traditionally printed with CMYK process inks. This includes Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black inks, in addition to Pantone (PMS) spot colors that match the client’s specific brand colors. For example, this means that a job may print with colors like PMS 285 (blue) and PMS 715 (orange) in addition to CMYK.
ECG printing goes beyond this traditional printing process by featuring CMYK in addition to Orange (O), Green (G), and Violet (V). This allows for a broader range of printable colors using a fixed palette. Fixed Palette Printing is another term for Extended Color Gamut (ECG).
Traditional 4 color printing (CMYK) is now replaced with 7 colors (CMYKOGV). No PMS or brand spot inks are used to print ECG.
The Benefits of ECG Printing
ECG printing offers many advantages over traditional printing methods. Some of these benefits include:
More Vibrant Colors:
ECG expands the range of printable colors, and if applied to images, more vibrant colors are possible.
Reduced Ink Usage:
ECG printing uses a fixed set of colors, which reduces the amount of ink waste and as a result, reduces environmental impact.
By utilizing ECG printing, printers can save money on labor because of shorter lead times between jobs. This technology enables the production of labels at a lower cost.
This process allows for the use of extended gamut printing in ganging or combination runs, resulting in consistent and high-quality print in a shorter amount of time. The fixed set of colors used in ECG printing results in less time required for color correction and matching on press, making it an efficient solution for custom-label printing.
The Technology Behind ECG Printing
ECG printing uses advanced specialized printing software and ink to achieve the desired result. In ECG printing, the printing press is set up with a “fixed palette” of CMYKOGV inks. This helps produce the entire range of PANTONE+ colors without having to change inks and do washups between jobs.
Some print houses may consider different combinations of OGV inks, for example just, OV, OG, GV, etc. Violet at times may be substituted with PMS Reflex Blue to skew the color prism to a better gamut for a particular job.
Applications of ECG Printing
ECG printing can apply to a wide range of applications across various industries. These include custom label printing, large-scale photos, signage, and commercial advertisements. ECG printing is especially useful in the packaging and label industry, where vibrant and accurate colors are essential and play an integral part in marketing to attract customers.
A single client may have a large number of SKUs and each SKU may have its own PMS brand color. In this instance, ECG will have a significant cost-saving benefit. For example, consider a Vitamin bottle version that has a different PMS brand color for children, men, women, and seniors. This can easily be printed using ECG in a single press run.
ECG Printing vs. Traditional Printing
ECG printing offers significant advantages with images over traditional 4/C plus Pantone printing methods. While traditional printing methods have their advantages, ECG printing offers more vibrancy in images.
Furthermore, changeovers between jobs with a traditional printing process is a time-consuming process that requires washups and changing the inks and aniloxes. Therefore, ECG printing eliminates the need for a spot color change, saving time and effort. Switching to ECG printing also allows manufacturers to simultaneously produce labels in combination by ganging multiple jobs/SKUs that translates to lower cost, increased efficiency, and the least waste.
Trust Kwality Labels with Your ECG & Fixed Palette Printing Needs
Extended Color Gamut (ECG) or Fixed Palette Printing is one way to improve a printing workflow. With its ability to consistently achieve a vibrant image finish, the ECG printing trend helps custom labels stand out. ECG printing delivers efficiency and sustainability for all your custom label printing needs.
All of these considerations make it essential to partner with a trusted custom label printing expert. As your label printing Toronto professionals, our team at Kwality Labels is happy to bring your vision to life. To see how we can help, contact us for more information. We look forward to working with you.