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The PANTONE® Certified Printer™ Program

Posted June 08, 2015 by Mark Gundlach

pantone certified printer program

Accurate color is important to brand owners and print shops alike. Brand owners want to know their specified colors can be reliably produced each and every time, and printers need a fail-proof workflow to consistently achieve those colors without rework and waste.

The PANTONE® Certified Printer™ Program makes it all possible.

PANTONE Certification helps printers establish and maintain effective SOPs and implement benchmark processes, from the ink kitchen through prepress and production. It’s a certification that’s designed to increase the value of a print shop’s investments instead of starting from scratch.

PANTONE Certified Printers can:

  • Achieve accurate color reproduction, for both PANTONE Process and Spot Colors,
  • Enforce quality control in all steps of the production process,
  • Drive consistent color across shifts and locations,
  • Reduce waste,
  • Increase profitability,
  • Market themselves with the PANTONE Certified Printer logo,
  • And best of all, start realizing ROI in 3-6 months!

When bidding for jobs, PANTONE Certified Printers have bragging rights because they know they’re producing the best possible color, day in and day out.

How PANTONE Certification works

The PANTONE Certified Printer Program helps print shops achieve the greatest benefit with their existing instruments and software. X-Rite/PANTONE Experts help to identify and bridge gaps to create a solid workflow and prevent unnecessary waste and profit leakage.

To become a PANTONE Certified Printer, a print provider must demonstrate competence and good process control in measuring, communicating, and correcting color.

Step 1: Establish current state

A print shop starts by completing separate audit checklists for prepress, ink room, and pressroom. An X-Rite/PANTONE Expert reviews and analyzes every aspect of the workflow—from preflight, file prep and proofing, to ink color formulation and mixing, and finally to pressroom process control—making sure everything is in place to evaluate color and validate PantoneLIVE Dependent Colors. If components such as instrumentation, software or lighting should be upgraded, or if additional training is necessary, recommendations will be made accordingly.

Step 2: Develop and refine standard operating procedures

Employees are better equipped to perform their jobs and make decisions when they know exactly what needs to be done. X-Rite/PANTONE will provide feedback and guidance to help the print shop create and edit standard operating procedures that are based on industry standards and best practices. No more inconsistencies from day to night shift, or reliance on one person for complex work … these SOPs will reduce variability across shifts and over time to help print shops deliver consistent, reliable performance and make staff training easier.

Step 3: On-site validationpantone certified printer program blog

X-Rite/PANTONE will conduct an on-site audit of each department.

  • The prepress department must be able to preflight files, specify color in documents, and produce color-accurate proofs and properly calibrated plates. During the audit, proofs will be measured and validated to match each job’s press conditions.
  • Inkroom technicians must be able to qualify incoming ink supply and accurately formulate inks for the media that is specified. During the audit, formulated inks are proofed on that job’s substrate.
  • Press operators must maintain controlled output that conforms to the defined print specifications. During the audit, the press operator will demonstrate that measurement is done for more than density alone.

Step 4: Sustain and Market

Once the new SOPs are solidified, X-Rite/PANTONE or a qualified third-party expert can provide training to close gaps wherever they occur, including those related to employees and processes. The PANTONE Certified Printer Program is sustainable. When others go away, PANTONE continues to monitor performance on a quarterly basis to ensure that standards and procedures are met. Plus, marketing high quality PANTONE Color reproduction enables you to drive more work, new work and consistent work into your business.

How does PantoneLIVE fit into PANTONE Certification?

Together, PANTONE Certification and PantoneLIVE can provide the most reliable color at the highest possible level. PantoneLIVE is a cloud-based system for storing and delivering color target values to achieve the best color match across various types of media. PantoneLIVE requires specific hardware and software to access and use PantoneLIVE data, ensuring accurate spectral values. Brand owners with high expectations trust PantoneLIVE to protect and share their digital color assets, and PANTONE Certified print shops guarantee that color production and quality assurance tasks are performed using PANTONE spectral values.

During the audit, X-Rite/PANTONE will provide guidance on products that would allow the print shop to provide PantoneLIVE services.

What are others saying about the PANTONE Certified Printer Program?

The PANTONE® Certified Printer Program helps print shops achieve color consistency so they can perform at the highest possible level and gives brand owners peace of mind that they are choosing the best possible print provider.

See what our PANTONE Certified Printers have to say about the program and how it has positively impacted their bottom line.

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