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Where can I find information about print standards such as SWOP, GRACoL, SNAP and BRIDGS?

Where can I find detailed information about industry print standards such as SWOP, GRACoL, SNAP and BRIDGS?


These are all organizations seeking to implement graphic arts standards. They are largely volunteer based not-for-profit membership organizations. Essentially they are all trying to do the same thing in their respective fields: design, commercial, newspaper and web offset printing. The good news is that all of these organizations do keep in touch and work together to make sure they don't duplicate efforts.

Gracol is the General Requirements for Applications in Commercial Offset Lithography.
(Also see

BRIDGS is the Basic Requirements for International Design and Graphic Solutions.

SWOP is the Specifications for Web Offset Printing.

SNAP is a committee of the Newspaper Association of America and stands for Specifications for Newsprint Advertising Production

There are several other standards groups that might also be worth checking out even though they aren't on your list:

  • The International Color Consortium (ICC) sets standards for color management.

  • The Ghent PDF workgroup deals with PDF specifications.

  • The International Cooperation for the Integration of Processes in Prepress, Press and Postpress Organization (CIP4) investigating JDF (Job Description Format) applications (CIP4 is a subset of JDF)

All of these web sites have an abundance of information about what these standards groups are doing. Their work has a big effect on the printing industry.

Stephen Beals is a digital pre-press manager and has been writing for major print publications for many years. He is the author of A Practical Primer for Painless Print Production. He can be reached at

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