Hexachrome was a six-color printing process designed by Pantone Inc. In addition to custom CMYK inks, Hexachrome added orange and green inks to expand the color gamut, for better color reproduction. It was therefore also known as a CMYKOG process. Hexachrome was discontinued by Pantone in 2008 when Adobe Systems stopped supporting their HexWare plugin software. While the details of Hexachrome were not secret, use of Hexachrome was limited by trademark and patent to those obtaining a license from Pantone. The inventor of Hexachrome was Richard Herbert, who is also the president of Pantone Inc.[1]

Richard Herbert

Richard Herbert is the COO and President of Pantone Inc.; these titles were handed down by his father, Lawrence Herbert. After realizing that graphics and printing would soon be completely taken over by computers,[1] Richard obtained degrees in computer engineering and business from Hofstra University, hoping to improve the digital application and printing of color.[2] He was responsible for many achievements of Pantone Inc.; such as digitizing the Pantone Matching System and incorporating the print and display data from the previously used CMYK model. Herbert continued to keep Pantone Inc. at a high standing in the field of color communications, as its matching system was used internationally.[2]


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.[3] The plug in was called HexWare, which contained a set of Adobe plug-ins used by printers and designers who used the Hexachrome system.[3] Older versions of QuarkXPress and Adobe InDesign also came with the Hexachrome system already installed and enabled.[3]


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.[4] Using this system instead of the CMYK ink system prints also allowed for more accurate skin tones and pastels.[5] The Hexachrome system let users print images from computer screens that were not able to be accurately duplicated before.[5] As well as producing overall better quality than previous systems, Hexachrome also increased efficiency as it produced many more spot colors.[4] 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.[4]


Some software companies that employed the Hexachrome system were Aldus (now Adobe), Adobe Photoshop, and QuarkXPress; as well as the printer manufacturers HP, Epson, and Xerox.[1]

See also

External links


  1. 1 2 3 Anchell, Steve. "The Pantone Story". Rangefinder Magazine. Retrieved 1 March 2012.
  2. 1 2 "Richard Herbert.". Electronic Publishing.
  3. 1 2 3 Reid, Dan. "Hexachrome Printing". Digital Output. Retrieved 2 March 2012.
  4. 1 2 3 Reid, Dan. "6 colors hits the spot".
  5. 1 2 "An extreme color gamut can help". Retrieved 1 March 2012.
  • "An extreme color gamut can help". Retrieved 1 March 2012. 
  • "Pantone Expands the Color Range With Hexachrome System". Business Source Complere (not publicly available). 
  • "Hexachrome on web offset line.". Pantone Inc. 
  • Anchell, Steve. "The Pantone Story". Rangefinder Magazine. Retrieved 1 March 2012. 
  • Reid, Dan. "6 colors hits the spot". 
  • Reid, Dan. "Hexachrome Printing". Digital Output. Retrieved 2 March 2012. 
  • "Richard Herbert.". Electronic Publishing. 
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