Aiming to address issues that prevent the accurate definition and reproduction of brand colours across printing systems, Belgium-based Insight4Print has launched a free framework and methodology for correct and unambiguous colour definition in packaging and retail print production.

Called Project BBCG (a Better Brand Colour Guide), the initiative is led by Eddy Hagen if Insight4Print as a development from issues covered in his blog, and is endorsed by a number of colour management and print specialists around Europe, including the UK’s Paul Sherfield of The Missing Horse Consultancy and a many-times judge at the Digital Printer Awards, and Kai Lankinen of Dr Lankinen Graphic Innovations.

The problems that the framework addresses are those that are caused by ambiguous colour definitions, a group in which Pantone references are included as the printed samples themselves may deviate from the digital master data, plus undefined RGB or CMYK values or default conversions to CMYK that don’t take into account press, ink and substrate specifics.

Technically, it involves the use of Adobe Swatch Exchange (ASE) format supported not only in Adobe’s Creative Cloud suite of applications but also in applications such as Affinity Designer. CxF, the Color eXchange Format, is also supported as a more detailed colour description, though Mr Hagen notes that this requires more effort to create and use, needing additional tools to implement throughout a prepress workflow.

Mr Hagen said, ‘Flawed brand colour guides might be the biggest issue in the printing industry, leading to lots of discussions, waste and financial losses. Project BBCG offers a solution for this. Given the potential impact, we wanted to make everything available for free. Everybody can not only download an example of a Better Brand Color Guide, it comes with a tutorial showing how to get to that rock solid brand colour definition and print-safe CMYK combinations. A tutorial that was written with brand owners, designers, in mind: it is very accessible, even more complex concepts are explained in an easy way. And, last but not least, also an example ASE file is available for download. This way brand owners and designers can try it, and immediately see the power of this little gem.’

The Better Brand Color Guide tutorial is free to download and is currently available in English and Dutch; volunteer translators for other language versions are being sought.