Brian Ashe brings 25 years of experience to the field of color management. Brian applies his expertise in color reproduction across a variety of industries including graphic arts, packaging, textiles, plastics and inks.

Working with a client base as diverse the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Proctor & Gamble, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and DreamWorks. Brian teaches clients about setting standards, communicating color, and process control.

Brian has presented papers at a variety of color conferences such as Clemson University, FFTA, GATF, and been a guest lecturer at RIT and Parsons School of Design.

Brian’s background in Quality Assurance, ISO certification and print production gives him a unique perspective on customer needs.

Simplified Scoring and Communication for Print Suppliers and Print Buyers

Brian Ashe, Esko

The metrics and parameters used by print suppliers to ensure quality and process control are often mysterious and impenetrable to the uninitiated. Printers wishing to ensure a buyer the quality of a job is acceptable are faced with explaining concepts such as tone value increase or ΔE. There is a way to simplify this communication and combine most print quality metrics into an easy-to-understand single number. This paper will lay out the case for how this can be done

The first step is to determine what data will be used to create the score. This will be referred to as the Print Quality Level (PQL). The range is determined by a given tolerance. All scores (PQL) are computed following this common rule, where range = 2 x tolerance and score = 100 -deviation / range x 100.

Example 1: A color deviation of ΔE = 1.0 at a tolerance of ΔE = 1.0 (just in spec)

  • range = 2 x 1.0 = 2.0
  • score = 100 -1.0 / 2.0 x 100 = 50

Example 2: A Tone Value Increase difference of + 2.0% at a tolerance of +/-5.0%

  • range = 2 x5.0 = 10.0
  • score = 100 -2.0 / 10.0 x 100 = 80

The average Print Quality Level (PQL) as a single indication can still be misleading!Therefore, a rate of compliance is applied as a means to weigh data and account for averaging. This is calculated by the number of passed samples per total number of measured parameters per printed sample (number of inks, spot colors and sections) and used as factor to compute the final score.

This same program will also have the ability to connect to a central hub for project management, adding design input and on-line approvals for artwork. The project management software can pull meta data from various databases opening the door to automation of mundane tasks. It will also be important for the program and the project management software to have a two-way communication exchanging scores and scorecards. Keeping any reference data or scores and scorecards on a cloud-based system is important to its’ cross-application success. It will be important to connect to various measurement devices, whether traditional 45-0 hand-held single measurement, hand-held scanning or inline scanning. Looking to the future we would want to include spherical geometry devices to address the rise in the use of special effects inks and metallic substrates.

Benefits to Suppliers

  • reduce waste
  • immediate feedback at press
  • optimize inks before they arrive in the press room
  • consistency between plants and presses
  • less on-site press approvals
  • ease of use

Benefits to Buyers

  • real time reporting from anywhere in the globe
  • equal way to evaluate all suppliers with the same system for scoring jobs
  • reduce the need for on-site press OK –large net saving in reduction in travel costs
  • drive consistency into the supply chain, no more “silos of excellence”
  • reduce color variation on shelf when packaging is supplied by multiple vendors.
  • Customers see the recognizable brand equity color on the shelf.
  • The “quality score” becomes a useful metric when evaluating suppliers for future contracts.