Are the advantages of FM screening and Hexachrome worth it?

Answered by Suzanne Morgan, founder, Print Buyers

My printer is about to invest in both FM screening and Hexachrome printing. I will soon be producing some art style coffee table books. Are the advantages of these technologies worth it?

R. F.

FM (frequency modulated) screening, also called Stochastic screening, is a digital screen process that converts images into very small dots of equal size and incorporates variable spacing (or difference in frequency) of these dots to give greater tone range. More dots are "clustered" together for darker tones.

Hexachrome printing is a six-color process where color separations are done in CMYK plus Hexachrome green and orange. One of the major benefits of Hexachrome is the increased color gamut that it affords. Color ranges that cannot be achieved with CMYK are made possible by using CMYK+G+O.

Is it worth using these higher-end printing processes? Only you can decide. There’s no doubt that both can produce higher quality results. It may very well be worth the additional costs for your "coffee table" type book print projects which have a longer shelf life and higher value. To help you make your decision, I would suggest getting print samples of FM screening and Hexachrome and then ask your supplier to quote the job both ways – with and without these processes.
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