The printer in Mitcham, Surrey, has achieved the Heidelberg ISO 12647-2 certification to prove it can consistently match colour throughout a run and from job to job.

Managing director Danny Sullivan said: “We are heavily concentrated on brand quality and consistency with blue-chip clients and will flag up this award to customers in a brochure with case studies.

“We hope this certification could push us more towards print management companies and design agencies because there is a failure within the industry of colour consistency.”

Positive Images, only the 17th company to win the Heidelberg certificate, works for household names in sectors such as health and retail. Printed material includes brochures, leaflets and stationery.

The four-day process saw Heidelberg taskmasters check prepress, calibration and printing. Sheets were sent for scrutiny to Germany, and test sheets must be sent every six months. Certification renewal is every two years.

Sullivan installed a £1m Heidelberg Speedmaster XL 75-5+L two years ago and also runs a six-colour Speedmaster 74 and a raft of digital kit. The newest investment included Axis Control spectral measurement which Sullivan said “eats up all the work but is still not at capacity”.

“We bought the XL because we had already invested heavily in IT at the front end and in post-press but not in the pressroom because of the level of expenditure required. But push came to shove and we had to invest.”

The extra capacity has changed Positive Images’ average runs from between 5,000 and 25,000 to much longer runs for brochures, Sullivan said.

Brother and production director Mike Sullivan said an added bonus of the XL was sustainability. The kit runs with virtually no alcohol and very few start up sheets.

Heidelberg colour specialist Steve Fowler said: “Colour quality sells. Print management companies were the first to demand provable colour standards but this has become a requirement for a growing number of tenders.

“Print colour management focuses the mind on production processes and so has the side benefit of reducing variables and with that, cutting waste as well as minimising the risk of disputed or rejected jobs.

“Printers can even supply their customers with documentation to prove that the colour quality was produced to the tightest parameters,” he added.