Use Of Graphics Standards In The Packaging Industry

The clients and manufacturers of packaging are in a perpetual struggle about proofs and printed products, color intensity, uniformity of the product to the original, colors, etc.. Almost 90% of all complaints in the printing industry refers to the printed color. The main reason are the expectations of buyers and predictability of the results of the final product.

The most common problem of printing houses is satisfying the customer’s expectations in terms of color. So often we hear the statement from them that their customers are doing some corrections of ink applying on a printing press while they are doing proof of printing, that they comment on the experience of color in a graphically unacceptable way, and so on.

The main question is how to improve this process and have a satisfied customer, but also and satisfied manufacturer?

Of course, the answer is in the application of standards in production, which include stability and repeatability of the manufacturing process. Unfortunately, very few manufacturers of packaging apply technical standards for the graphic arts industry, and then also have a myriad of problems.

PSO – Process Standard Offset

Especially in offset printing there is described a standardized work process called PSO – Process Standard Offset. Based on technical standards for offset printing ISO 12647-2 where the workflow is fully described from customer input files to the printed editions. This standard includes file management, color management, making the proof, its verification and certification, making CtP plates, control dot gain, causing the shades in the press, control printed editions etc..


printing standards

Using PSO you warrant for quality of production of complete printed products, from file creation to final printed product. PSO describes which are the appropriate measuring devices and control methods for the production process can be monitored, managed and proven. This includes measuring devices with spectroscopic and densitometry settings, as well as the corresponding test elements (like use of control strip).

Furthermore, the PSO sets the nominal values and tolerances for printing on modern manufacturing materials, demonstrating what is reasonable and feasible.

Those who adhere to and work towards this standard have a imprint that is standard and it is the starting point for all other prints.

Quality is measurable, verifiable and feasible!

Why is it important to work towards a standardized process described for offset printing?

Because the quality has become measurable, verifiable and feasible! Because you will have a minimum of problems in production, you will avoid complaints, and that is what the customer expects from you – to deliver printed product in accordance with the technical standards for offset printing.

The customer no longer has time to send him a proof sheet or any rehearsal. He simply asks you to prove that your prints will match standard.

Because of this, more and more in international tenders for printing, you can see one of the item requests under the names FOGRA39, PSO or ISO 12647-2 etc..

These are all different names for the same goal, and that is the impression which can be achieved by anyone who adheres to the guidelines.

Do you know how to work according to standard 12647-2?

Here’s another reason why it would be good to know how to work according to standard 12647-2. More and more often we can hear the statement from printing shops that they have a problem with unjustified complaints that customers use in order to minimize the value of the goods they supplied to them. How printing house reacts at this point ? Accepts complaints and provides additional rebates on supplying goods. Buyer recognizes that as opportunity that every time with complaint he gets more for less money.

The customer is always right – some would say, so there is no point in arguing with him about the justification of the complaint. If you are doing the procedure for offset printing and you can document that and have a quality presentation to your customer he will know he is working with professionals who accepts the fact-based prescribing procedures recognized by the ISO international organizations.

Believe me it would be the last complaint from a customer that you will get.

Another problem is money because of the introduction of standards it needs to invest in employee education, measurement equipment, software and for the certificate itself. But you need to invest to be able to get something.

Personally, I think it is better to invest in it than in new machines anyway because the prints will be the same as before. Employees who do not know the procedures for offset printing will work the same on any equipment. Maybe good, maybe not, but you do not know that.

Fortunately, there are shining examples of printing houses that have recognized the need for observing the procedures and monitoring processes of offset printing. Experience suggests that with the introduction of standardization everybody’s happy because it is known exactly how and in what way we should work and what kind of final printed product we should receive.