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A Study of EU Organic Logo Color

The PMS-376C case of the EU Organic label is again a good example for reevaluating meaningful color separation tolerancing:
– PMS-376C is not reachable with CMYK (dE>3,67; in FOGRA39).
– ECG inks would achieve it very accurately (dE=0,52).
– Spot inks can reached it (dE=1,29), but surprisingly, the average is out of tolerances (dE=5,45).

PMS-376C dE00 with n=30 random samples:
Ave = 7,29
Min = 1,29
Max = 16,40
STD = 3,46

Only 10% of the examined prints (n=30) are within the dE=2,5 tolerance. 90% of the examined prints are out of dE=2,5 tolerance.

In this case, what would be your recommendation for color separation of the EU Organic logo?
A) 4c – CMYK only?
B) 5c – CMYK + SPOT Green?
C) 5c – CMYK + EG Green?

An interesting observation is that all out-of-tolerance colors are found in the +a -b quartile, meaning that the samples are not enough green and are too blue. Other observations based on this case:
– PMS book closely matches digital library (dE=0,77).
– Process inks are totally out of tolerances (dE=7,85).
– EU Organic logo is in 77% cases process printing and 23% spot printed.
– All offset executions are process printing only.
– Gravure spot inks can also vary a lot (dE=11,70).
– Not all design colors need tight tolerances (dE<2,50).
– Brand owners accept color variations (dE=16,40), based on color priority.
– There’s no reason to force using spot inks always.
– Tight tolerances lead to unnecessary waste, without influence on sales function.

What do you think? Any surprises?

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