For some years now there has been a move towards what is sometimes called an output-agnostic approach on artwork preparations. The characterisation data Fogra 53, used in the new ICC profile, eciCMYK, can be used in such a generic print workflow.
Many designers struggle when it comes to choosing a suitable ICC profile for their artwork, often because they simply don't know what paper or printing process will be used for the final print production. One way around this is of course to use the RGB colour space in the design stage, and only softproof to CMYK when all the print parameters are known. But many designers, and prepress operators and printers as well for that matter, prefer to move to CMYK when the artwork is getting close to the approval stage.
But which ICC profile to use if you are not entirely sure what paper or printing process? You don't want to choose one with a very small colour gamut, because once you have made the conversion from RGB to CMYK, the gamut is reduced, and cannot be brought back to the original size or quality. Perhaps we could use a fairly large CMYK colour gamut, and adapt this to the print method and paper type at the very last minute, while trying to keep the colour appearance as close as possible to the reference colour gamut, in this case eciCMYK? So this is the theory – let’s look at some pros and cons with this approach.