Supporting the Development of a New Technology to Facilitate Precise Brand Color Reproduction and Management Worldwide

Drawing on its exclusive technologies and network capabilities, DIC Group company Sun Chemical Corporation has played a crucial role in a project aimed at ensuring a consistent global image for one of Heinz’s main brands.
Sun Chemical is the preferred partner of PantoneLIVE, a cloud based digital color management platform launched by Pantone, the world leading brand for color definition. PantoneLIVE is designed to remove key brand color variation and utilizes Sun Chemical patented technology for harmonizing brand color across multiple packaging substrates.

Brand color variations arising from regional disparities and packaging differences

Brand color variations arising from regional disparities and packaging differences

Headquartered in the United States, H.J. Heinz Company is a leading global manufacturer of food products with production on five continents and sales in more than 200 countries and territories. Recently, Heinz realized it had a problem with the brand color for Heinz Beanz tinned baked beans, one of its most iconic brands. Despite having historically specified a master color standard for Heinz Beanz Blue, perception disparities in different countries and territories and the diversification of packaging formats had led to significant variation.

Factors contributing to this problem include labels, the widespread use of shrinkwrap for overwrapping multipacks of cans and of paperboard cartons and a broad range of printing methods, including offset, gravure and flexo, depending on the substrate. Exacerbating the situation, different printing companies are used in each country and territory, making it both time-consuming and costly for Heinz staff to physically check and manage colors in advance. Still, Heinz recognized that regional inconsistencies in Heinz Beanz’ respected and well-loved brand color—synonymous to many consumers with the Heinz guarantee of quality—was a problem that needed to be resolved swiftly.

Ensuring global brand color consistency

Heinz tasked its brand lifecycle management partner, Sun Branding Solutions Ltd, of Bradford, UK to set up a project team to develop a practical solution. The team’s brief was to ensure color consistency for Heinz Beanz Blue across all packaging substrates and printing methods by creating a solution that would:

  1. facilitate color consistency regardless of the packaging substrate and printing method used, and be repeatable anywhere in the world,
  2. reduce costs by facilitating web distribution and ensuring accurate digital standards, and
  3. improve agility in responding to market change by increasing speed to market, including through the shortening of development times for new packaging.

Sharing and maintaining global digital standards in the cloud

Sun Chemical staff analyze and test packaging colors
Sun Chemical staff analyze and test packaging colors

As another Sun Chemical group company, Sun Branding Solutions was able to trial an early beta release of PantoneLIVE, with support from Sun Chemical’s dedicated team of color management experts. Together, the project team ensured color control over the entire design, artwork and prepress process, as well as with stress testing the new PantoneLIVE digital brand color management technology.

The multi-discipline project team began by scientifically quantifying color variations to set color standards and color tolerances - that is, acceptable color differences - for Heinz Beanz Blue. This eliminated the impact of individual subjective visual interpretations and regional disparities, facilitating consistent, objective assessment of color reproduction. The next step was to produce proofs and physical samples for each type of packaging.
Exclusive digital standards for reproducing the color on each type of packaging were then created based on paper, film and ink data sourced directly from the PantoneLIVE ‘color cloud’ database. Sun Branding Solutions verified results at all stages using visual and spectrophotometer readings.

Digital Brand Color Management Technology

Sharing and maintaining global digital standards in the cloud

In August 2011, the digital standards were uploaded into PantoneLIVE, making it possible for printing companies and other vendors worldwide to access relevant specifi cations from this cloud-based platform, thereby realizing a technology that ensures the consistent reproduction of Heinz Beanz Blue across all substrates and printing methods.

A Sun Chemical survey conducted after the global rollout of the new technology revealed that color variation across the different types of packaging used for Heinz Beanz had fallen to approximately 1/6 of the level at which it was prior to the technology’s development when measured using spectrophotometer readings. In practical terms, this means that these variations are imperceptible to the human eye. The need for Heinz staff to physically turn up at printing companies to check packaging has decreased significantly, yielding cost and time savings. Most importantly, consistent packaging has enabled Heinz Beanz to maintain the premium image consumers associate with the brand.

Moving beyond the initial Heinz Beanz Blue trial, phase 2 involves equipping the supply chain to utilize the PantoneLIVE platform on an ongoing basis. The transition from the old fashioned analogue wet ink color proofing towards this more consistent, cloud based digital color management is gaining pace as the industry as a whole recognizes the improvement in color consistency, as well as the cost and time reductions that can be realized with PantoneLIVE.

We are proud to have assisted Heinz in finding a solution to this problem. Sun Chemical and Sun Branding Solutions played a critical role in the project team where they were able to take on and accomplish the challenge set by Heinz, utilizing PantoneLIVE. The members of the Sun Chemical contingent rallied their collective scientific and specialized technological expertise to analyze vast amounts of data and to verify results at every stage.

This experience served as a reminder of how difficult it is for global corporations to maintain and manage a consistent global brand image. I have no doubt there are many firms around the world facing similar problems that we can help. We gained a great deal working with so many different people on this project. With Sun Chemical’s PantoneLIVE Preferred Partner status, we can reinforce our capabilities, broaden our network and look forward to assisting more companies in the development of solutions for ensuring brand color consistency.

Color variation across Heinz Beans Blue packaging formats has been greatly reduced

VOICE

We are proud to have assisted Heinz in fi nding a solution to this problem.

We played a critical role in the project team and accomplished the challenge set by Heinz, utilizing PantoneLIVE. The members of the Sun Chemical contingent rallied their collective scientifi c and specialized technological expertise to analyze vast amounts of data and to verify results at every stage. This experience served as a reminder of how difficult it is for global corporations to manage a consistent global brandimage. I have no doubt there are many firms facing similar problems that we can help. With Sun Chemical’s PantoneLIVE Preferred Partner status, we can reinforce our capabilities, broaden our network and look forward to assisting more companies in the development of solutions for ensuring brand color consistency.

Patrice Aurenty Business Leader Color Management Sun Chemical Corporation

Patrice Aurenty
Business Leader
Color Management
Sun Chemical Corporation

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