After all the fuss about Maggi, we need to be extra careful with the packed food that we eat. Any unusual or weird symbol on the package scares the shit out of us and soon enough questions like 'am I gonna die?' start pondering into our mind. However, these colored circles I'm talking about are nothing to worry about. These circles are called "printer's color blocks" or "process control patches."
Let's scroll down to find out more about them.
Printer's color blocks or process control patches are used on food packages to indicate the hues of ink that were used to produce the design on the package. The printer checks these colored patches in order to ensure that the necessary color scheme is followed for the package of the product. If there is any issue, these blocks help the producers find out which color's deficient or surplus use has caused the issue.
The color scheme is based on CMYK i.e. Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black. These colors usually appear on the package since they are the basis of most colors produced by printers. Besides these basic colors, the package may contain certain additional hues. For instance, on Cheetos bag, we can see orange hues too. These blocks are called "spot colors". They are usually mixed with CMYK color scheme to add consistency to the color and design of the package.
Process control patches are usually circular but on some packages, they can be found in square or rectangle shape. Mostly on bagged packages, circles are used while on boxed packages, squares or rectangles are used.
These process color patches are present on every package, be it a chips bag or soda can or even candy wrappers. These blocks are, however, not meant for consumers to be studied or analyzed. The purpose of printing these blocks on packages is purely "technical". (So we are safe! Phew!! :P)
This cross-hairs symbol appears along side the dots. Now what does this mean? This is a "register mark" or a "position mark". Its job is to simply align all the colors printed on the packaging. Again, nothing to be scared of!
Now the question comes, what if these are not printed on the package? Do we need to worry? No. Not at all. It is not mandatory to include this element. The decision lies with the producer. It's optional though most large-scale producers prefer to include process color patches.
Another symbol which is found on most of the food packages across Europe. This "estimated sign" indicates that packaging is filled according to the European Union Directive 76/211/EEC. Yep! That's all!
Did you know about any of these symbols before? No?Well! Don't be disheartened. Most of us don't. But now that you know their wield, don't forget to flaunt your knowledge in front of your friends. :P