Colors That Stay
Graphic Exchange's designer and publisher perfects their Queen.
We learn the same lesson as children playing with blocks: We have to start building a foundation before we can invent our skyscrapers. Similarly, design and production professionals rely on color management to provide a basis for accuracy in print. In the case of Graphic Exchange, a Brill Communications magazine based in Toronto, an unusual eight-color cover tested the foundation of the publication's workflow and became a lesson in skill, ingenuity and a little extra luck.
Since the pages of the magazine are dedicated to reporting on the creative realm, it's not surprising that Graphic Exchange would go where few magazines have gone before: into depths of hi-fi Hexachrome color.
"It's a complete accident," says Dan Brill, editor and publisher of Graphic Exchange. Brill is referring to a press mishap that spawned "three different covers for the price of one," says Brill
It all began when Brill decided to use Hexachrome, a Pantone-developed six-color process that extends color range beyond the possibilities afforded by four-color-process printing. According to Pantone, Hexachrome allows users to produce more vibrant color by adding orange and green to the four-color CMYK base. Brill wanted to experiment with how accurately and how far he could go beyond CMYK with a custom-made 3-D design, also using the most experimental animation tools for designers. But like any exploration, even Brill's enthusiasm bore its share of obstacles. Art was the exception, for the design process, at least, remained obstacle-free.
Selling the drama
The cover's life cycle was born when Martin Murphy, a digital artist, was recruited to deliver a design that would allow for six-color Hexachrome processing plus two unique varnishes, one of which was a metallic ink overlay. Incorporating a metallic and graduated varnish would require two additional plates on press—one for the metallic highlights and the other for the varnish, in addition to six plates used to create the Hexachrome design.