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What is SWOP?

by Kevin | Sunday 30, 2012

SWOP is a type of printing and proofing specification. As with all print profiles, it tells the printer how much ink to lay down in CMYK- you could say that this is just one 'recipe.' It was created in the seventies and has made a lot of advances over the years to become a consistent color standard ensuring reliable, predictable color in web offset printing. Because all printers, inks and paper vary, and unless you have a proofing system that's calibrated to SWOP specs, your home printer isn't going to show you how an ad is going to look when it goes to press. In recent years, SWOP adopted the IDEAlliance G7 control methods, which defines the gray balance as the main color control method, not just solid ink densities and TVI/dot gain. In a nutshell, SWOP is the recommended specification for all print publications in the United States. If you're preparing artwork that's going in a magazine- whether it's an editorial or ad insertion, this is the standard you want to go with.

Adobe Profiles you can use:
  • Web Coated SWOP Grade 3 Paper (brighter stock, closer to most magazines)
  • Web Coated SWOP Grade 5 Paper (for slightly darker, more yellow stock)



by Kevin | Friday 07, 2012

Commercial printing, packaging, sheetfed offset: if any of these sound familiar, you want to use GRACoL. GRACoL is a color reproduction spec for sheetfed offset lithography, which uses a brighter Grade #1 paper (SWOP is Grade 3 or 5). ISO Coated v2 (also known as Fogra39) is very similar to GRACoL, but intended for the international printing market. For example, packaging that is being printed in China or European magazine publications should use ISO Coated v2.

Adobe ICC profile for GRACoL:

Coated GRACoL 2006 (ISO 12647-2:2004)
Adobe ICC profile for ISO Coated V2:
Coated FOGRA39 (ISO 12647-2:2004)

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