Unlocking the power of Expanded Colour Gamut printing

11 Sep 2023

For printers creating packaging and labels for their brand partners, precision and vibrancy are paramount.

Quality is crucial, and brands demand nothing less than perfection when it comes to colour consistency. However, achieving this has traditionally relied on the use of spot colour inks, formulated for a very specific use, on a very specific substrate. However, as print margins become ever tighter, specific spot colours inks can prove to be a costly, and often a wasteful approach to printing.

However, with the increasing sophistication of prepress and print technology, the tide is turning, and the converting industry is steadily embracing Expanded Colour Gamut (ECG) printing, also known as Fixed Colour Palette (FCP) as a cost-saving technique.

At Creation, we are proud to champion Expanded Colour Gamut printing for our customers and believe it’s an ideal way to contribute to business-wide sustainability. Cutting spot colour inks out of the equation not only offers printers and their brand partners a more efficient and cost-effective solution but also in wider terms, paves the way towards a more sustainably focused printing industry.


The evolution of Expanded Colour Gamut Printing

Expanded Colour Gamut Printing is a technique that expands the traditional CMYK colour model to include additional inks – orange, green, and violet – resulting in a wider colour gamut available on-press. The result of this extended palette is accurate representation for a broader range of colours, inching closer to the hues of traditional formulated spot ink colours.

The standard CMYK four-color process, though cost-effective, can match only around 55% of PANTONE® spot colours. By adding OG and V to the mix, Expanded Gamut Printing can achieve around 90% of PANTONE® spot colours. This level of accuracy saves time and resources by minimising trial and error rounds and producing consistent and predictable results, while also minimising ink changeovers.


Advantages for printers, brand partners and designers

Ultimately, the power of Expanded Colour Gamut Printing lies in its efficiency and flexibility. Switching from spot ink rotation to a fixed CMYK/OGV palette, the press can produce a wide range of PANTONE® spot colours without requiring ink changes between jobs. This translates to reduced setup time, enhanced short-run ability and increased press efficiency, addressing the demands of a rapidly shifting market.

Further, with the need for spot colour inks minimised or eliminated, ECG effectively reduces both ink costs and inventories. By combining CMYK with orange, violet and green, over 90% of PANTONE® colours can be achieved. With the support of a partner like Creation, it’s never been easier to convert spot colour jobs to a fixed colour palette.

By embracing ECG printing methods, converters also access significant benefits in reduced press downtime. Ink changes between jobs can be a disruptive time sink, and a real challenge as the market demands speed. With no ink changes required between individual jobs, the need for wash-ups is minimised, leading to faster changeovers and decreased makeready time. This efficiency not only optimises production, but also contributes to waste reduction and cost savings.


Driving sustainability with ECG

As the global focus on sustainability intensifies, Extended Gamut Printing emerges as a promising solution for printers. Spot colour inks can be resource-intensive to produce, and because they’re only viable for a specific use, they can generate a lot of waste.

By reducing the demand for spot colour inks and decreasing waste through optimised press setups, ECG can help label printers to align their press activity with a broader sustainability initiative.

It’s clear that as the printing industry seeks to bolster efficiency, minimise excess costs and reduce its environmental footprint, Extended Gamut Printing is lighting the path forward.

As brands seek efficient, cost-effective solutions from their printing partners without compromising colour integrity, ECG fills that role, and as brands steadily adapt their iconography and colour palettes to be compatible with extended gamuts, this viability will only grow.

Looking to learn more about Extended Colour Gamut or Fixed Colour Palette printing, and how to integrate this approach into existing print workflows?

Get in touch with the Creation team today!

Contact us on +44 (0) 1604 906000  or info@creation-repro.com
and we’ll be happy to help