TC 130 is the technical committee for international standards within print and publishing, brought together under the title ‘Graphic Technology’.

Printing and the associated graphic technology industries form one of the largest business sectors in the world and yet, although we all access printed materials every day, it is in many ways a sector that does not receive the same exposure as many other industries. This is partly because even the largest printing companies are relatively small compared to the giants of aircraft and automobile manufacture, for example, and partly because printing is based on a range of processes, so that there is no one SIC (Standard Industrial Classification) that covers the whole industry and therefore published statistics never cover the industry as a whole or reflect its impact. 

Just as the printing industry is rarely seen as a whole, printing standards do not receive the exposure that they should have. This is partly again because many companies are small and do not appreciate the value of implementing standards and maybe do not even know about them. And yet, as can be seen on the ISO web site, ISO TC 130 has developed over a hundred standards that apply to almost all aspects of graphic technology, the application of which is intended to improve both the quality of a company’s work and its competitiveness in the market.

As mentioned in its Scope, ‘ISO/TC 130 addresses standardization in the field of printing and graphic technologies. This field covers all phases of the process, where graphic elements (image, text, line art, pattern and others) are created, manipulated, assembled, communicated, and finally  delivered electronically as digital products or physically to substrates using inks, toners and other marking or functional materials, and finished as demanded by the end applications.’

Those who develop international standards (and they come from many countries) do so because they know that the application of standards benefits everyone, from the operatives in the industry through to the final customer – and printing is not just about books, newspapers and magazines; almost everything people buy has printing of some kind on it or on its packaging (drink cans medicines and food, for example). And, because those who develop standards believe in them, they want to see these standards used.

The TC 130 website
This site is not aimed at those involved in developing standards, but at those for whom the standards are developed (printers, publishers and all those involved in the industry). It is not intended to compete with the ISO website, which gives details of the standards and how they can be obtained, but to complement that site. It will give news about standards development for the graphic technology industries and information about those who carry out this development. 

The site contains a brief history of how and why the committee was started, as well as additional documents, free to download, that explain how and where TC 130 standards can be used in the print and publishing process (see the tab ‘Resources‘ above), as well as information on how they relate to one another. It also includes articles about the development of specific standards, the background to this development and case studies on how standards are developed and applied. 

The aim of the site is to improve awareness of graphic technology standards and of the benefits of using these standards, in the hope that increasing awareness and understanding will lead to a wider take up and application of these standards. As the advertising slogan of a UK newspaper, the Evening Standard, used to say: ‘Everyone needs standards’.

The profile image above shows many of the delegates in TC 130, at the work meeting in Tokyo in November 2023. (Photo: XXX)

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