All Posts By

Michael Huda

Do Your Measurements Match Your Supplier’s?

Are your measurement readings different than your supplier’s? If so, you’re not alone.


It’s an important issue you must correct. If your measurements don’t match those of your suppliers, you’ll be rejecting materials you perhaps shouldn’t be, NOT rejecting materials you should be, and wasting a lot of time, effort, and money producing the wrong color.

We’ve compiled the 5 most common reasons specifier and supplier measurements don’t match so you can troubleshoot and correct inconsistencies in your color workflow.

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Understanding Inter-Instrument Agreement

Inter-instrument agreement is a very important consideration when selecting color measurement devices for your workflow. Unfortunately, it’s such a technical topic that it leads to a lot of confusion about what it means and why it’s important.

The new Ci7860 is the most precise benchtop on the market with a published average inter-instrument agreement of 0.06 ΔE*ab. Do you know what that means?

The new Ci7860 is the most precise benchtop on the market with a published average inter-instrument agreement of 0.06 ΔE*ab. Do you know what that means?

Today we’re making it as simple as possible. Read on to learn what inter-instrument agreement means, how it’s different from other terms like inter-modal agreement and repeatability, and why it’s something you really need to consider for your color workflow.

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Which Color is the Hardest to Control?

Spectrophotometers are instruments that measure color. Manufacturers use them in every industry where accurate color is important, from paint and plastics to textiles, packaging, and even food. The data captured by spectros allow designers, brand owners, manufacturers, and quality control professionals to precisely communicate color and ensure it stays accurate throughout production.

Sometimes I’m asked which color is the hardest to measure and control. Can you guess what it is?


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The Secret to Raw Material Sourcing in Textiles

In an effort to reduce costs and keep up with demand, many U.S. textile and apparel companies are turning to global markets for their raw materials. According to a recent study by The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, this trend has been spurred by trade agreements, and it’s putting a lot of pressure on manufacturers to find suppliers with high quality raw materials at low prices.


Since final products are only as consistent as its raw materials, working with a variety of sources can be challenging. Luckily, these challenges can be fixed with a few simple color management tools. Read on to learn how adding a few simple tools to your color management arsenal can make it economically feasible to source from anywhere in the world.

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The Ultimate Guide to Caring for Physical Samples

Physical standards are one of the most precise ways to communicate color in many industries, including textiles, print, automotive, paints, food, chemicals, packaging, and plastics.

Many brand owners and designers communicate color expectations using physical standards, and suppliers and manufacturers rely on them to capture spectral data for formulation.

Color with Glossy Matte

While physical standards can be a great help, they can also hurt business if they’re not cared for properly. Today we’ll look at five tips to help you preserve your physical samples so they maintain their integrity for as long as possible.

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How to Talk Color with Customers and Suppliers

Which of these swatches would you call bright red?
Pantone stickers


Speaking the language of color isn’t like giving someone your phone number and expecting they’ll remember it. Our minds just don’t process color like that.

While vague color descriptions are sufficient for many people – “Turn left at the blue house” or “choose the reddest strawberries” – if you work in an industry where color is important, you need to know how to speak a much more specific color language.

How do you create a color that “pops” or “radiates?” What color is “sunshine?” Is “raspberry” red, blue, or purple? And what do you do when your customer asks for such a color?

Unfortunately this is how people communicate in the color industry all the time. When it comes to vague nuances, the chances of getting color right using verbal communication alone are very low, which leads to rework when the color isn’t right.

Don’t just shake your head and try again. Color communication doesn’t have to be so difficult. Today we’ll look at the main reasons color communication goes wrong, and some simple ways to fix it.

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What is an acceptable St. Patrick’s Day tolerance?

Green is green, right?

Maybe if you’re celebrating St. Patrick’s Day, but not when your bottom line is impacted by color accuracy.IMG_5611

In the color industry, a tolerance is the acceptable amount of difference between a standard (the color you’re trying to match) and a sample (the color you are producing). To determine whether a color is within tolerance, many manufacturers use a color measurement device called a spectrophotometer to measure both colors and compare the difference between them. This difference is known as the Delta E.

Generally, the amount of color difference that the naked eye will notice is somewhere around a Delta E of 1 (a trained colorist may be able to see much less), but that’s just a starting point. Acceptable color tolerance varies by application and industry.

If you’re printing billboards on a wide-format printer, for example, the color doesn’t need to be as exact as it does for small plastic toy parts that must match once they’re assembled. While a Delta E of 3, or even 5, may be acceptable for the billboard, the toy won’t pass inspection if the color of the parts is farther apart than a Delta E of 1.

There’s something else that must be considered when setting tolerances in manufacturing, and it’s great news for manufacturers producing St. Patrick’s Day merchandise. It’s harder for us to detect slight shifts in the color green than it is in other colors like reds, blues, and tans.

Today we’ll look at an experiment conducted by David MacAdam in the 1940s that helps us understand why some colors have tolerances that are farther apart than others.

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When color goes wrong…

What happens to products when color goes wrong?

It’s wrong color that keeps discount stores in business. Copy paper that isn’t quite bright enough, a label with the wrong color red, or a pillowcase that’s a shade off from the rest of the sheets, and the product is rejected. A discounter can buy the whole lot for a fraction of the cost and sell it for profit.

wrong color; xrite blog

This, of course, is not good for manufacturers, and it is the real reason color control in manufacturing is so important. From color specification through manufacturing to final quality inspection, the color has to stay true. And it if does stray, it must be caught early so adjustments can be made before too much time and money is wasted.

wrong color; xrite blog

Although color evaluation can be subjective and emotional, today’s color measurement systems take that out of the equation by providing fact-based analysis and spectral data, so everyone is speaking the same language. By staying current with developments in tools, techniques and technologies for measuring, monitoring and managing, and communicating color, manufacturers can maintain color accuracy across sites and throughout their workflows.

Today we’ll look at the top seven places in a production workflow where color can go wrong. Compare this to your workflows to see how you can make sure your color stays right.

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The Importance of Calibration

Why calibrate?

For the most part, today’s color measurement instruments are 100% digital. In fact, there are very few analog components inside, except for the light bulbs. Although they’re more stable than their analog predecessors, their tolerances are much narrower, and they need regular calibration to stay within these tight specs.

digital color measurement instrument

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What is a Spectrophotometer?

color's fingerprint

The spectral reflectance curve provided by a spectrophotometer is commonly known as the color’s “fingerprint”.

Spectrophotometers are color measurement devices used to capture and evaluate color. As part of a color control program, brand owners and designers use them to specify and communicate color, and manufacturers use them to monitor color accuracy throughout production. Spectrophotometers can measure just about anything, including liquids, plastics, paper, metal and fabrics, and help ensure that color remains consistent from conception to delivery.

Today we’ll look at how spectrophotometers work, how they are used, and the most common types available today.


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