New edition of ISOCoatedV2 in M1 in sight?

Even almost 9 years after the introduction of the successor colour space PSOCoatedV3, ISOCoatedV2 / FOGRA39 is still the most widespread colour space in Europe. We at Proof GmbH count around 200 jobs from time to time for the German Printing and Media Industries Federation, among others. In the last count, proofs in ISOCoatedV2 accounted for around 68% of all proof jobs at our company. This is a clear sign of the continued widespread use of the colour space.

ISOCoatedV2: From the classic colour space to the beacon of the industry

In addition to the print proofs for offset printing on image printing paper, numerous other applications also come to mind: ISOCoatedV2 is also used for many other, non-standardised or less standardised printing processes and is used as an exchange colour space: From digital printing in exhibition stand construction to packaging printing in flexo and gravure printing: almost all major players in the market rely on the power of ISOCoatedV2.

At the Fogra 2024 colour management symposium in Munich, we heard a lot about how companies and large print service providers from printing processes other than offset printing also rely on ISOCoatedV2 as a colour space reference for their applications. They are virtually following ISOCoatedV2 from the “master standard” and simply orienting themselves to the “largest ship in the colour space sea: ISOCoatedV2”, which is well established among all players in the market such as agencies and designers. Over the last few years, this has turned a successful colour space into a de facto standard.

Updated and future-proof? ISOCoatedV2 is “growing up”

It is therefore not surprising that there has been a call to provide the less popular PSOCoatedV3 with a modernised older brother: An updated FOGRA39/ISOCoatedV2, which, at the age of almost 18 years, can leave the most important legacy issues behind in order to perform its lighthouse function even better as a renewed replacement colour space.

The advantages of a new ISOCoatedV2 in M1:

  • Adaptation to the new measurement condition M1 in force since 2015 and the new standardised light D50 in accordance with ISO 3664:2009
  • Conversion of the old GDMI Gretag-Macbeth measuring base to the new XRGA for better comparability of measured values and higher precision
  • This improves process control thanks to updated H values for full tones for cyan and magenta
  • Retention of the white point of LAB 95/0/-2 and the proof on papers with few optical brighteners (OBA)
  • Classic ISOCoatedV2 proofs would still be valid, but with the new ISOCoatedV2 M1 printing condition, “new” proofs could produce more consistent and better results
ISOCoatedV2 / FOGRA39 Relaunch in M1?

Jürgen Seitz from GMG already presented this outlook at the last DPWG meeting of Fogra in Aschheim and already presented a new FOGRA39 data set in XRGA M1 for discussion. We in the proofing sector could then print a classic FOGRA39 proof on low-lightener proofing paper and measure it with M1 (like all new standards) – with the best results. However, the overriding aim is not so much to update an existing printing condition, but rather to make an exchange colour space fit for the future. The proposal for the profile name of the ICC profile for the ECI: ISOCoated_v2_M1.icc.

What speaks against an updated ISOCoatedV2?

Colour management expert Jan-Peter Homann from Berlin points out: “Users use characterisation data for separation, proofing and controlling the printing process. However, a new characterisation data set would not be suitable for print process control due to the white point with M1. The small but still existing differences to the classic ISOCoatedV2 FOGRA39 data set could unsettle users and make communication between prepress, proof and print more complicated and cause misunderstandings. Jan-Peter Homann therefore fears that an updated ISOCoatedV2 would be ignored by the market.

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