Hexachrome is a discontinued six-color printing process designed by Pantone Inc. In addition to custom CMYK inks, Hexachrome uses orange and green inks to expand the color gamut for better color reproduction. It is therefore also known as a CMYKOG process.
Hexachrome was discontinued by Pantone in 2008 when Adobe Systems stopped supporting the HexWare plugin software. While the details of Hexachrome were not secret, its use was limited by trademark and patent to those obtaining a license from Pantone. The inventor of Hexachrome is Richard Herbert, who is also the president of Pantone Inc.
In order to use the Hexachrome process in a digital printing process, Pantone produced a plugin for Adobe Photoshop that allowed the designer to work in an RGB color space more typical of computer work. The plug in was called HexWare, which contained a set of Adobe plug-ins used by printers and designers who used the Hexachrome system. Older versions of QuarkXPress and Adobe InDesign also came with the Hexachrome system already installed and enabled.
The main purpose of Hexachrome was to create a printing ink system that could depict brighter and clearer pictures by being able to produce more accurate colors. Using this system instead of the CMYK ink system prints also allowed for more accurate skin tones and pastels. The Hexachrome system let users print images from computer screens that were not able to be accurately duplicated before. As well as producing overall better quality than previous systems, Hexachrome also increased efficiency as it produced many more spot colors. Having more spot colors increased efficiency by allowing the press to use one ink set for all jobs, rather than one specified ink set for each job. Keeping a printer configured for Hexachrome also eliminated the number of washes required on the printer; therefore saving times and simplifying printing production.
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