Rice Krispie Treats
GRACoL, GRACoL 7, G7, SWOP, SNAP... So many letters... What do they all mean? And what's the difference?
I hear a lot of people throw around the terms listed above. They are often mispronounced, misused, misunderstood, misspelled, and incorrectly referred to as standards.
All industries have standards, and the graphic arts industry is no different. There are a number of different standards committees. If you ever find yourself suffering from insomnia, just spend an hour or so listening to a discussion on standards - CGATS, ISO, IEEE, ANSI, FOGRA, ECI, etc... Although very necessary, these conversations can be a bit on the dry side.
But don't let anyone tell you that standards committees don't have a sense of humor. Remember the Kellogg's icons, Snap, Crackle and Pop? Someone had the idea to name SNAP, GRACoL and SWOP after those lovable cereal dudes. I'm not kidding. Someone thought long and hard over that one.
The modern, hip version of Snap (SNAP), Crackle (GRACoL), and Pop (SWOP)
Okay, but what do these terms mean?
Specifications for Non-heatset (Newsprint) Advertising Production
This is a set of best practices for newsprint production. SNAP is not intended for web, sheet fed, or gravure printing.
General Requirements for Applications in Commercial Offset Lithography
GRACoL provides specifications and guidelines for commercial sheetfed offset printing. Things like proofing, total ink limits, screen angles, and solid ink densities are all defined within GRACoL. The GRACoL committee (a specification of IDEAlliance) publishes updates to these guidelines on a regular basis.
The current version of the GRACoL publication, released in fall of 2006. GRACoL 7 places more emphasis on gray balance over TVI (Total Value Increase, or dot gain) on a #1 sheet. Used in commercial, sheet fed printing applications.
G7 is a specification that outlines a step-by-step methodology for calibrating proofing systems and printing presses to CMY gray-tone curves. It defines process controls for the neutrality of an image in a proof or on a press. The basic ideas behind G7 were developed by Don Hutcheson of Hutchcolor LLC. The term G7 is derived from "G" for gray balance and the 7 ISO colors, CMYK/RGB.
Specifications for Web Offset Publications
SWOP is a set of guidelines for heat set web offset printing on #3 and #5 grade paper. Most magazines and catalogs fall into this category. SWOP has adopted the new G7 calibration, printing and proofing process control methods. Before SWOP announced the adoption of a #3 grade paper in 2006, the term SWOP was often interchanged with TR001 (technical report #1) for the guidelines on traditional #5 groundwood publication paper.
It is important to mention that these are all guidelines, or specifications, not standards.
Widen produces all of its contract proofs in compliance with GRACoL, SWOP3 and SWOP5 specifications. We also enjoy a good bowl of Kellogg's Rice Krispies for some tasty SNAP, GRACol and SWOP.