The Lowdown on Hi-Fi Color
Several companies that heavily touted Hi-Fi printing just five years ago are no longer in business. Who knows if Hi-Fi helped lead to their demise, but far fewer printers have embraced it than what was expected during its heyday
10 years ago.
Hi-Fi printing is more expensive than the conventional four-color process. It's more difficult and expensive for the printer to produce, as extra plates and special inks are needed. There is an innate cost involved when testing any radically new technology.
But, for a printer who prints a lot of spot colors, setting up for Hexachrome can actually be less expensive. The six-color configuration minimizes makereadies and wash-ups saving time, materials and labor.
Who Is Offering It?
So where do you find a printer that offers Hi-Fi printing? Good question. It may be harder than you think.
Hutcheson agrees, "Hi-Fi printers are scarce, and the market for Hi-Fi printing remains small." Pantone lists only two certified printers on its Web site, and both are packaging printers.
Hutcheson wasn't surprised, "Hexachrome just isn't on their radar as it used to be because of low customer interest."
Your peers, always a trusted source, may be the best resource for finding printers. Also, several Hi-Fi printers can be found exhibiting at the annual BookTech Conference and Expo in New York, held March 7-9.
A Solid Niche Among Vibrant-Color Seekers
Hexachrome printing hasn't lived up to its early expectations, but still has etched out a solid niche. Vibrant, and I mean vibrant color is a desire of all designers.
If you haven't discovered the benefits of Hi-Fi printing, then it is time for a little education. Thinking in six colors can be a challenge to any designer, but once it clicks, a whole new world of color opens up to you and your books.