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Understanding Graphic Measures International

June 4, 2024

Graphic Measures International (GMI) is a pivotal organization in the printing and packaging industry, established in 2009 by a coalition of printing and packaging experts. GMI was created to introduce a uniform set of quality standards for packaging production, ensuring that brand owners could maintain high-quality packaging throughout their supply chains. These standards cover structure, graphics, print quality, and other crucial characteristics that uphold brand integrity.

The Significance of GMI Certification

Over the years, major retailers such as Home Depot, Target, CVS, and Walgreens have mandated that GMI-certified printers produce their in-house brand packaging. This requirement spans thousands of products, particularly in the personal care and nutraceutical sectors, ensuring a consistent and high-quality appearance of products on a global scale.

How GMI Certification Works

GMI’s certification process encompasses all aspects of package manufacturing for consumer-packaged goods manufacturers, retailers, and brand owners. Beyond printer certification, GMI offers on-site monitoring, in-store assessments, and training services. GMI meticulously monitors and reports each aspect of a print job, including paper, color, cut, fold, and even toxicity.

The certification process is grounded in ISO 12647 standards, which dictate the printing process guidelines. GMI builds upon these standards by introducing a comprehensive scoring system. Brands can specify which printing aspects they want to monitor, and GMI sets the parameters for each metric. During or after a print job, GMI tests samples and scores each metric based on deviations from the set tolerance. The scoring system ranges from 0 to 3:

  • 0: Ideal, no flaws.
  • 1 and 2: Minor flaws.
  • 3: Major flaw, resulting in an automatic fail for the print job.

Throughout the printing process, printers send sample sheets to GMI for testing. If the samples pass, the packaging is produced and shipped to the vendor. Post-production, GMI often conducts in-store measurements to ensure consistency.  Since vendors pay GMI for each submission, GMI verifies that printing and product totals align.

Achieving and Maintaining GMI Certification

Earning GMI certification is a rigorous process that involves comprehensive on-site audits focusing on graphics and color management, press quality (registration, trapping, die-line accuracy, finishing), and quality assurance (process implementation, audits, traceability, barcode readability, and non-compliance protocols).

Maintaining GMI certification requires continuous effort. Converters must implement protocols to ensure consistency in each printed product before delivery to customers. GMI certification includes three levels to distinguish printers:

  • Platinum: High-performance printing supplier with a continuity score of not less than 90%.
  • Gold & Silver: Good print supplier condition with a continuity score between 80% – 89%.
  • Bronze: Printer under review with a score below 79%.

The Impact of GMI on the Industry

The certification process is not just a formality; it significantly impacts the cost and quality of print jobs. Typically, GMI certification can add about 15% to the cost of any print job. Despite this additional cost, the benefits of working with a GMI-certified printer are substantial. Of the over 10,000 US-based label printers, only 219 are GMI certified, and a mere five have achieved platinum status, including PLPS Deer Park.

The Value of GMI Certification

Even for projects that do not explicitly require a GMI-certified printer, working with one ensures a level of excellence that can be critical for brand integrity. “We are proud of our GMI Certification because it recognizes the quality we strive to achieve every day,” says Leslie Gurland, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at PLPS. “Whether a company requires a GMI printer or not, color consistency has always been an area of expertise for us. All of our customers are extra secure in knowing that we print to specific numbers and standards, not a subjective set of rules,” she adds.

Conclusion

In the competitive world of packaging and printing, GMI certification stands as a benchmark for quality and consistency. It ensures that brand owners can trust their packaging to maintain its integrity and appeal across all markets. For more information on our services or to work with a GMI-certified printer, contact our Premium Label & Packaging Solutions team today!

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