Ifra has changed the rules of its International Newspaper Color Quality Club to make it less time-consuming and shorten the period between tests and the announcement of the results.
The new rules aim to ensure practice-oriented evaluation and open up Club membership to all who produce high quality consistently, while new categories mean all newspaper printers should be able to take part.
Online registration for 2010-2012 begins this May, and ifra has agreed to requests that test prints could be produced at the beginning of the year.
The new operational plan is as follows:
-registration (online) from May to end December 2009;
-production of the monthly test prints and submission between January and April 2010;
-final evaluation and announcement of the new Club members in June 2010;
-presentation of the winners during Ifra Expo in October 2010.
This reduces the time between when test prints are produced to their evaluation and announcement of the results. Newspapers which register by October 16 can take part in a free test run with evaluation report in order to detect any possible need for print production optimisation in good time.
The changed competition rules reduce the time and effort invested by the participants, without detracting from the informational value of the test results. Instead of only a once-off produced result being evaluated, the consistency of printing quality over a four-month period is evaluated, with intermediate reports informing participants about their progress.
For purposes of the printing tests, a newly-developed test element will be used that resembles a colour ad and is as wide as a standard text column. Therefore it can be incorporated into the regular issue without appearing out of place. This will make the test more practice-oriented and simpler to carry out.
The creation of additional categories opens up the competition for the first time also to newspapers that work with heatset or UV, or which are printed by a process other than coldset-offset and, instead of newsprint, for example, use SC, LWC or pink-tinted paper. This takes account of the growing trend towards semi-commercial production.
Club membership is no longer being limited to 50 newspapers. Achieving a given number of points will be the sole criteria for attaining membership in the exclusive Color Quality Club.
Ifra says it is not the 50 newspapers with the highest number of points that are the winners, but all that show they can produce within the tolerances specified by the ISO 12647-3 newspaper printing standard and that present an overall good printing quality. Manifest quality deficiencies, such as misregister, wrinkles, printing plate edges, toning, etc., will result in points being deducted.
“With these innovations, the INCQC, established over 15 years as the quality standard for the international news publishing industry, has come into line with the latest developments in modern newspaper printing and opened up for new interested parties,” says project manager Roland Thees.
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