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What is FOGRA39?

FOGRA39 is a characterization data set, developed by German graphic technology research organization FOGRA in 2006 and registered in the ICC Characterization Data Registry. It represents the colours of a typical print made by commercial offset litho on gloss or matte coated paper, according to the standard printing definition in ISO 12647-2:2004 / Amd 1.

Like all registered data sets, it represents CMYK values and the expected measurements in CIE XYZ and CIELAB. Spectral data is not available.

As with many more recent data sets, FOGRA39 is not derived from direct measurements of prints but on the results of smoothing of multiple measurements to ensure a better reproduction target.

Full details of the FOGRA39 data set can be found in the information page on FOGRA39 in the Characterization Data Registry, with contact information in case of queries.

ICC profiles have been made from FOGRA39 data, including ISOcoated_v2_300_eci.icc from ECI. Profiles made from FOGRA39 data can also be found in the ICC Profile Registry.

An ICC profile made using FOGRA39 characterization data would be used to define the colours of a piece to be printed according to the corresponding printing condition. A document in RGB might be converted to CMYK using the profile as destination; or the profile might be set as the OutputIntent of a PDF/X file sent to the printer. The profile might also be used in proofing, to define the colours of the proof when reproduced on a soft proofing display or hard copy proofing system.

The Characterization Data Registry contains many other characterization data sets, each one corresponding to a specific standard printing condition. Data sets are provided by industry associations and based on experience of printing inks, papers and presses in their market; FOGRA39 is widely used in Europe but in North America CGATS21-2-CRPC6 might be more common.

For any given characterization data set it is possible to make multiple profiles, as there are different ways of constructing a profile for example to give different black generation options.

More recently Fogra have developed the FOGRA51 and FOGRA52 data sets, for premium coated and uncoated woodfree substrates respectively. These can be considered as replacements for older data sets such as FOGRA39. They are based on ISO 13655:2009 M1 measurement conditions, and include information about the amount of optical brighteners in the substrate. The FOGRA51 data set is available in both colorimetric and spectral versions. More information about FOGRA51 and FOGRA52 can be found here.