Color Printing Excellence—Standards, Specifications and their Sources

Standards and specifications are subject to periodic reviews, which result in reaffirmation, updating, replacement, or deletion. Completely new standards or specifications also are developed to meet the changing needs of industry. This Web page was developed to document the fluid progress of these developments. It should be considered as both a supplement to Color Printing Excellence and as an update to the B and C Appendices of the book Color and Its Reproduction

The section that covers sources of standards and specifications also includes listings of professional societies, research institutes, and other organizations likely to be of interest to those in the pursuit of color reproduction excellence. Some of their websites have links to pages about color, vision, and related interesting topics.

If you discover material that you think would make an appropriate and useful addition to this resource, please let us know. Updates of addresses also are very welcome. You can contact the author through his listing (search: Gary Field color), or send your suggestions to the publisher via, who will forward your correspondence to the author. Your interest in making this resource more useful to all who view it is greatly appreciated.



Color-Related Standards and Specifications

The following classification system, which also was used in Color and Its Reproduction, is a modified version of that suggested by David Q. McDowell, a noted authority on standards. The entries presented here were chosen with greater emphasis on the interests of printing companies rather than those of equipment manufacturers and are based, in part, on the NPES Technical Standards Catalog ( Current articles related to standards are posted on the IDEAlliance website (


Measurement and Assessment Procedures

CGATS.4-2011, Graphic Technology—Graphic Arts Reflection Densitometry Measurements—Terminology, Equations, Image Elements and Procedures

ISO 5-3:2009, Photography and Graphic Technology—Density measurements—Part 3: Spectral conditions

CGATS.5-2009, Graphic Technology—Spectral Measurement and Colorimetric ­Computation for Graphic Arts Images

ISO 13655:2009, Graphic Technology—Spectral measurement and colorimetric ­computation for graphic arts images (based upon CGATS.5)

ISO 14807:2001, Photography—Transmission and reflection densitometers—Method for determining performance

ISO 15790:2004, Graphic Technology and Photography—Reflection and transmission metrology—Certified reference materials—Documentation and procedures for use, including determination of combined standard uncertainty

ISO 20462, Photography—Psychophysical experimental methods for estimating image quality

ISO 20462-1:2005, Part 1, Overview of psychophysical elements

ISO 20462-2:2005, Part 2, Triplet comparison method

ISO 20462-3:2012, Part 3, Quality rules method

AS/NZS 1580.601.3:1994, Colour—Methods of Colour Measurement

AS/NZS 1580.601.4:1994, Colour—Calculation of Colour Differences

AS/NZS 1580.601.5:1994, Colour—Calculation of Small Colour Differences Using the CMC Equation

CIE 116-1995, Industrial Colour-Difference Evaluation


Characterization Targets and Test Images

IT8.7/1-1993, Graphic Technology—Color Transmission Target for Input Scanner Calibration

IT8.7/2-1993, Graphic Technology—Color Reflection Target for Input Scanner ­Calibration

IT8.7/3-2010, Graphic Technology—Input Data for Characterization of 4-Color Process Printing

IT8.7/4-2005, Graphic Technology—Input Data for Characterization of 4-Color Process Printing—Expanded Data Set

  • ISO 12640, Graphic Technology—Prepress Digital Data Exchange
  • ISO 12640-1:1997, Part 1, CYMK Standard Color Image Data (CMYK/SCID)
  • ISO 12640-2:2004, Part 2, XYZ/sRGB encoded image data (XYZ/SCID)

ISO 12640-3:2007, Part 3, CIELAB encoded image data (CIELAB/SCID)

ISO 12641:1997, Graphic Technology—Prepress digital data exchange—Colour targets for input scanner calibration (equals IT8.7/1 and IT8.7/2)

ISO/TR 14672:2000, Graphic Technology—Statistics of the natural SCID images defined in ISO 12640


Viewing Conditions

ISO 3664:2009, Viewing Conditions—Graphic technology and photography

CGATS/ISO 12646:2008, Graphic Technology—Displays for colour proofing—Characteristics and viewing conditions

CGATS/ISO 12646:2008/Amendment 1:2010

AS/NZS 4004:2006, Lighting Booths for Visual Assessment of Colour and Colour Matching

BS 950, Specification for Artificial Daylight for the Assessment of Colour

  • Part 1:1967, Illuminant for Colour Matching and Colour Appraisal
  • Part 2:1967, Viewing Conditions for the Graphic Arts Industry

AS/NZS 1580.601.3:1994, Standards for Colour, Visual Comparison and Instrumental Measurement


Materials Evaluation

ASTM International Standards on Color and Appearance Measurement, eighth edition, American Society of Testing and Materials, Conshohocken, Pennsylvania (2008).

ISO 2834, Graphic Technology—Laboratory preparation of test prints

  • ISO 2834-1:2006, Part 1, Paste inks
  • ISO 2834-2:2007, Part 2, Liquid inks
  • ISO 2834-3:2008, Part 3, Screen printing inks

ISO 2846, Graphic Technology—Colour and transparency of ink sets for four-colour printing

  • ISO 2846-1:2006, Part 1, Sheet-fed and heat-set web offset lithographic printing
  • ISO 2846-2:2007, Part 2, Coldset offset lithographic printing
  • ISO 2846-3:2002, Part 3, Publication gravure printing
  • ISO 2846-4:2000, Part 4, Screen printing
  • ISO 2846-5:2005, Part 5, Flexographic printing

ISO 12040:1997, Graphic Technology—Prints and printing inks—Assessment of light fastness using filtered xenon arc light

ISO 12634:1996, Graphic Technology—Determination of tack of paste inks and vehicles by a rotary tackmeter

ISO 12644:1996, Graphic Technology—Determination of rheological properties of paste inks by the falling rod viscometer


Printed Output

CGATS TR 001-1995, Graphic Technology—Color Characterization Data for Type 1 Printing & Supplement 1

CGATS TR 012-2003, Graphic Technology—Color Reproduction and Process Control for Packaging Printing

CGATS TR 015-2011, Methodology for Establishing Printing Aims Based on a Shared Near-neutral Gray-scale

CGATS TR 016-2012, Printing Tolerance and Conformity Assessment

ISO 12647, Graphic Technology—Process Control for the Manufacture of Half-Tone Colour Separations, Proof and Production Prints

  • ISO 12647-1:2004, Part 1, Parameters and measurement methods
  • ISO 12647-2:2004, Part 2, Offset lithographic processes
  • ISO 12647-3:2005, Part 3, Coldset offset lithography on newsprint
  • ISO 12647-4:2005, Part 4, Publication gravure printing
  • ISO 12647-5:2001, Part 5, Screen printing
  • ISO 12647-6:2012, Part 6, Flexographic printing
  • ISO 12647-7:2007, Part 7, Proofing processes working directly from digital data
  • ISO 12647-8:2012, Part 8, Validation print processes working directly from digital data

ISO/TS 10128:2009 Methods of adjustment of the colour reproduction of a printing system to match a set of characterization data

Specifications for Web Offset Publications, eleventh edition, IDEAlliance (2007)

Specifications for Newsprint Advertising Production, SNAP Committee (2011)

Australian Print Standards, Australian Government Publishing Service, Canberra, 1995

General Requirements for Applications in Commercial Offset Lithography, Version 7.0, IDEAlliance (2007)



Sources of Standards and Related Technical Information

(primarily English-speaking countries)

Official Standards Organizations
American National Standards Institute
1819 L Street, NW, 11th Floor
Washington, DC 20036, USA

BSI British Standards
389 Chiswick High Road
London W4 4AL, England, UK

Commission Internationale de l’Eclairage
CIE Central Bureau
Kegelgasse 27
1030 Vienna, Austria

International Organization for Standardization
1, ch. de la Vole-Creuse
1202 Geneva, Switzerland

National Standards Authority of Ireland
1 Swift Square
Dublin 9, Ireland

Standards Australia
Level 10, The Exchange Centre
20 Bridge Street
Sydney, NSW 2000, Australia

Standards Council of Canada
270 Albert Street, Suite 200
Ottawa, Ontario K1P 6N7, Canada

Standards New Zealand
8 Gilmer Terrace, Level 6
Wellington 6011, New Zealand

Specifications Setting Organizations and Other Useful Addresses
ASTM International
100 Bar Harbor Drive
West Conshohocken, PA 19428, USA

Flexographic Technical Association
3920 Veterans Memorial Highway, Suite 9
Bohemia, NY 11779, USA

Gravure Association of the Americas
8281 Pine Lake Road
Denver, NC 28037, USA

(GRACoL, G7 and SWOP Specifications)
1600 Duke Street, Suite 420
Alexandria, VA 22314, USA

Magazines Canada
425 Adelaide Street West, Suite 700
Toronto, Ontario M5V 3C1, Canada

National Association of Printing Ink Manufacturers
National Printing Ink Research Institute
15 Technology Parkway S., Suite 115
Peachtree Corners, GA 30092, USA

NPES, The Association for Suppliers of Printing, Publishing and Converting
(Source for CGATS, IT8 and ISO standards)
1899 Preston White Drive
Reston, VA 20191, USA

Pacific Area Newspaper Publishers’ Association Inc.
(PANPA Specifications)
The Terrace, Level 2
60 Union Street
Pyrmont, NSW 2009, Australia

Specialty Graphic Imaging Association
10015 Main Street
Fairfax, VA 22031, USA

Specifications for Newsprint Advertising Production
5501 Merchants View Square, Suite 500
Haymarket, VA 20169, USA

Technical Association of the Pulp and Paper Industry
(Paper Testing Standards)
15 Technology Parkway South, Suite 115
Peachtree Corners, GA 30092, USA

Professional Societies
Colour Society of Australia, Inc.
The Colour Group (Great Britain)

Institute of Paper, Printing and Publishing
Claremont House
70-72 Alma Road
Berkshire SL4 3EZ, England, UK

The International Society for Optical Engineering
1000 20th Street
Bellingham, WA 98225, USA

Inter-Society Color Council
7820 B Wormans Mill Road, Suite 115
Frederick, MD 21701, USA

Lithographic Institute of Australia

Optical Society of America
2010 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20036, USA

Royal Photographic Society
Fenton House
122 Wells Road
Bath BA2 3AH, England, UK

The Society for Imaging Science and Technology
7003 Kilworth Lane
Springfield, VA 22151, USA

Society for Information Display
1475 S. Bascom Avenue, Suite 114
Campbell, CA 95008, USA

Technical Association of the Graphic Arts
c/o Printing Industries of America
200 Deer Run Road
Sewickley, PA 15143, USA

Research Institutes
Lerchenfeldstrasse 5
CH-9014, St. Gallen, Switzerland

Fogra Graphic Technology Research Association
Streitfeldstrasse 19
81673 Munich, Germany

International Association of Research Organizations for the Information, Media and Graphic Arts Industries

Printing Industries of America
200 Deer Run Road
Sewickley, PA 15143, USA

Rochester Institute of Technology
Munsell Color Science Laboratory
Rochester, NY 14623, USA

University of Leeds
Department of Colour Science
School of Chemistry
Leeds LS2 9JT, England, UK

Published on Wednesday, February 27, 2013 (updated 05/31/2014)

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