Recently I had the honor of being elected the Chairman of the Board of Idealliance. For magazine publishers, know it or not, it is one of the most consequential professional trade organizations in the world. You may have never heard of Idealliance, mostly because they play behind the scenes in the world of print production workflows and methodologies.
The association’s greatest contribution, in my view, and one that I now find myself a steward of, is the G7 Master Printer certification standard.
Your printer, whether you know it or not, is hopefully G7 certified. What does this mean, and what is the benefit for you?
G7 is a standard, much like the more widely known ISO standards. But is it exclusively for the printing industry. It is a universal calibration methodology that can be used to adjust any press or printing system to a common neutral appearance, regardless of inks, paper grades (or other substrates) and press technology and configuration. And it’s not just a certification you can purchase – your printer must be tested regularly by independent auditors sanctioned by the Idealliance in order to receive and maintain their certification.
It’s a quality standard, and nearly guarantees that your pages, and advertisements, will always look as good as possible, and more importantly, your advertisers’ color and image fidelity will look the same across the full spectrum of magazines they advertise with regardless of who does the printing. The printer I work for is a G7 Master Printer, but so are all of my worthy competitors – those of consequence in any event. The standard reaches beyond magazine production too, into commercial printing, wide format printing and packaging. Walk up and down any aisle at your grocery store and you are walking through a maze of products that are packaged in materials printed to G7 standards. Stop by the magazine rack and nearly every title you gaze upon has also been printed to G7.
Idealliance has recently begun to research and debate how these same color standards can be brought to bear on digital media outputs. This will surely be a remarkable undertaking given the tenuous commitment digital media has made to ad delivery standardization, which is negligible at best.
So check out Idealliance.org, and then by all means ask your printer if they are G7 certified. If they are not, they should be. If they won’t, then they don’t deserve your business.
Standards level the playing field and guarantees quality. But for you it’s not something to take for granted.
More about Dick Ryan: Dick Ryan has worked in the publishing industry since 1980, starting his career as a reporter for The Milwaukee Journal. Today he works from the Louisville, KY headquarters of Publishers Press, Inc., as the company’s Vice President of Sales & Marketing, responsible for more than $200 Million in magazine and catalog printing sales annually. Prior to becoming the VP Sales for Publishers he headed up content management product and service development as the company’s Director of Business Development. He has been with Publishers Press since 2008.
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