Fred15 Project

See further below for project material.

What will the new ISO 12647-2:2013 mean in practice? And what is "Fred15"?


Following the new version of ISO 12647-2 for offset printing published in December 2013, there has been some concern that it will require major efforts to implement, without bringing much improvement. Looking more closely at the new ISO 12647-2 and taking into account the latest developments in metrology, standardized lighting, and optical brightener handling, there are significant advantages to be obtained. Before putting into daily practice, however, the bvdm, ECI, Fogra and Ugra need to complete the beta test already underway since December 2013. It is expected that by 2015, guidance on the implementation of the new ISO 12647-2, as well as appropriate best practice guidelines and tools will be provided. Until then, the current characterization data (Fogra) and profiles (ECI) for offset printing remain in effect without any changes. In the meantime, users and manufacturers are invited to participate in the beta test to gain experience and familiarize themselves with the new requirements and procedures. Under the project title “Fred15”, the latest information – both during and after the beta test – will be available on the website of the ECI ( The ECI mailing list is the preferred platform for all discussions around the “Fred15” project.

What will change with the introduction of ISO 12647-2:2013?

The new version of ISO 12647-2, released in 2013, takes into account the developments and experience gained in recent years. An example are tone curves, which have been adjusted as no further consideration needs to be given to film-based processes. The defined dot gain now corresponds largely to the natural behavior of printing machines with linearly exposed CTP printing plates. On average, the need for tonal adjustments in process calibration is substantially reduced, thus simplifying calibration.

The ISO 12647-2 standard is not the only thing that changes. The new version, inter alia, brings with it the use of a new measurement condition M1. The measurement condition M1, published in 2009 as ISO 13655, matches D50 more closely (especially in the UV range). Thus, the measurement with M1 corresponds better to visual perception. Also in 2009, the specifications for standardized lighting were adjusted. Among other aspects, the requirements for the UV component were defined more precisely. Currently available standardized lighting solutions agree that this significantly improves their adaption to D50 over the past. Through the interaction of the three standards, the overall consistency has improved substantially. An important note, however, is that additional cost arises from the fact that up to date measurement devices and standard lighting solutions have to be used throughout the entire process chain.

Another factor ISO 12647-2 addresses is the procedure for dealing with papers that do not correspond exactly to the substrate descriptions in the standard. In particular, the target values for process control are to be derived from conversions or form characterization data. This enables standard conforming results for other papers, leading to more practical and flexible processes than was possible previously.

Last but not least, optical brightener handling improves through the consistent application of D50, including measurement technology. For many users it is in this context where most benefits arise.

What to do now?

Many users are asking themselves how to deal with the new ISO 12647-2. At least during the course of the year 2014, the answer is very simple: nothing needs to be done. There is no urgent need for action, as the previous version of ISO 12647-2, combined with related tools such as ICC profiles, target values, control elements, etc., are being used successfully in daily production. A hasty transition to the new ISO 12647-2 could incur risks due to insufficient experience in its implementation, and proven tools necessary for practical work are not yet available. Adopting a new version of a standard can often require a substantial effort – so precautions should be taken so that the change occurs in a reliable manner. To help assure reliability, implementation of the new version of ISO 12647-2 has been undergoing a beta test since the end of 2013, taking place in several phases. Necessary tools and guidelines are being developed in parallel, and their practicality verified.

This project is called “Fred15”. This name stands for

  • Beta test phase
  • Set of guidelines and tools developed during the beta test
  • Roll out and implementation phase after completion of the beta test.

As in the past, the bvdm, ECI, Fogra and Ugra are working closely together on the “Fred15” project. Users as well as manufacturers who wish to familiarize themselves with the new ISO 12647-2 and support the beta testing phase, are invited to read more on the “Fred15” page of the ECI website, where beta test versions of characterization data, ICC profiles, instructions, download, etc. are being provided as they become available. The professional exchange around the “Fred15” project takes place on the mailing lists of the ECI, and the mailing lists will also be used to inform about further developments.

Implementing to the new ISO 12647-2:2013

Implementation of the new ISO 12647-2 will start after the beta test has been successfully completed. The introduction of “Fred15” for the implementation of ISO 12647-2:2013 in practice is expected to be launched next year (i.e. 2015). At launch, the bvdm, ECI, Fogra and Ugra will make an announcement and provide corresponding recommendations and packages with tools and practical guidelines.

The transitional period

It is expected that from 2015 onward there will be a period where production in performed using both the old and the new ISO 12647-2. This applies to those creating print ready files as well as to printers. With technologies already available, data can be converted reliably between the two variants of the ISO 12647-2 – i.e. from “old to new” and “new to old”. For example, device link profiles will be provided for this purpose, which can be used directly in standard color servers.


Fred15 Project – Material

All of the material provided below is for testing purposes only! Final versions of material (profiles, characterisation data, tools, etc.) will be provided at the end of the Fred15 beta test phase (scheduled for early 2015). The heading for each packet is prefixed with the date on which it was originally provided. Latest material is shown at the top, older versions of material follow further down.

2014-03-21 - FOGRA51beta - Characterization data and ICC profiles

Printing Condition 1 (premium coated), optimized for slightly increased amount of optical brightener agents

FOGRA51beta M1 Characterization Data 13.3.2014
FOGRA51beta M1 ICC Profile 21.3.2014
FOGRA51beta M0 Characterization Data 13.3.2014
FOGRA51beta M0 ICC Profile 21.3.2014

Note: Questions? Need for clarification? Concerns? Feedback? Please use the ECI mailing lists for discussing Fred15 project and materials

2014-03-19 - FOGRA52beta - Characterization data and ICC profiles

Printing Condition 5 (wood-free uncoated), optimized for substantially increased amount of optical brightener agents

FOGRA52beta M1 Characterization Data 13.3.2014
FOGRA52beta M1 ICC Profile 19.3.2014
FOGRA52beta M0 Characterization Data 13.3.2014
FOGRA52beta M0 ICC Profile 19.3.2014

Note: Questions? Need for clarification? Concerns? Feedback? Please use the ECI mailing lists for discussing Fred15 project and materials

2013-11-26 - PC1, PC5 “spot on” - Characterization data and ICC profiles

Printing Condition 1 (premium coated); Printing Condition 5 (wood-free uncoated), exactly matching the aim values of ISO 12647-2:2013 (“spot on”)

PC 1 Premium Coated “spot on” Characterization Data 14.11.2013
PC 1 Premium Coated “spot on” ICC Profile 26.11.2013
PC 5 Woodfree Uncoated “spot on” Characterization Data 14.11.2013
PC 5 Woodfree Uncoated “spot on” ICC Profile 26.11.2013

Note: Questions? Need for clarification? Concerns? Feedback? Please use the ECI mailing lists for discussing Fred15 project and materials

  • Typical prepress-related aspects to check:
    • Establish a new proofing queue by using OBA-rich proofing stock and M1 measurement devices
    • Check the profile for softproofing OBA-rich stock (printed according to ISO 12647-2:2013)
    • The separation quality is no topic for testing at present
  • Typical press-related aspects to check:
    • Extract web aim values for process control (dry sheets)
    • Check the inking levels for both primaries (by using your typical ink film thicknesses)
    • Check if you can reach the provided secondary solids (ink trapping)


Note: More material to be provided as it becomes available. Anybody wishing to share Fred15 related material on this page, please make yourself known via the ECI mailing lists.