Reflecting on the 2018 Color Conference

Printing Industries of America typically hosts a color management conference early December in Phoenix. Though this time it was hosted in January 2018 and the location moved to a more colorful San Diego, the conference proved to be as relevant as ever. The event brought in numerous first timers, reaching a 10-year high and incredible 40% attendance boost from last year.

The four-day schedule was packed with presentations from the who’s who in the color management world, and keynotes by key designers and brand experts from Google, Adobe, Carnegie Mellon University, Diageo and 3M. Clear industry trends emerged in the various color sessions, which were split into Print Production, Design and Brand, Emerging Technologies & Standards, and R&D tracks.

Although standard CMYK printing is a given now (hopefully any printer still in business have already adopted a stringent process control as well as print to standards), Color 2018 made it clear that printers might want to experiment with wider gamut either using XCMYK or additional color channels, use different print technologies (such as flexography), or integrate special effects by using metallic inks. Whichever interests applied, printers could find informative sessions on these topics, and leading experts that were always happy to answer questions during breaks or after hours.

What significantly stood out at Color 2018, however, was the increased awareness for brand color appearances on national and global scale. The conference brought numerous print processes and print service providers together to achieve a singular brand color vision.

The underlying technology to achieve this vision uses spectrally captured CxF/X-4 data often embedded PDF/X-4:2010 files for easy communication. While support for CxF/X-4 isn’t universal just yet – notably Adobe Creative Suite applications – numerous tools and applications make adding this format to standardized workflows a breeze, and without upsetting what’s currently in place. This means CxF/X-4 can be a non-disruptive upgrade path that simplifies adoption and reduces learning curves to a bare minimum. Other sessions illustrated how sheetfed presses, high-speed inkjet and toner based systems can not only coexist, but how, with the right color management, they can create virtually indistinguishable color outputs. Even augmented reality and accurate reproduction of paint pigments in fine art paintings were addressed in some of the seminars.

Looking to the future, creatives, brand professionals, production specialists and color management experts alike can look forward to the Color Conference 2019, which already promises the most practical and in-depth information from the best minds in color.

For information on CxF Toolbox or any of our color management tools and devices, contact us at



David Palmieri, VP of Marketing


Tel: +1 (612) 870 0061

Marcus Goerlitz, VP of Sales


Tel: +1 (612) 455 8905


Established in 1985, CGS Publishing Technologies International GmbH, Hainburg, Germany, is a world leader in color proofing, productivity and production systems for the professional graphic arts market. Headquartered near Frankfurt, CGS also has operations in the Americas, as well as sales and support partners throughout the world.

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