All Posts By

Tim Mouw

Color Innovation

Unleashing Xtreme Color

Looking forward to the X Games? Kicking off next week in Aspen, the annual sporting competition draws thrill seekers from around the world to participate in Xtreme events, such as skiing, snowboarding, and snowmobiling.

Image courtesy of www.bleacherreport.com.

Of course, this living-on-the-edge lifestyle isn’t for everyone. Luckily, with X-Rite you don’t have to be a daredevil to enjoy Xtreme color! Here’s a list of our most innovative solutions to help you achieve the greatest possible results… from the safety of your office, shop, or lab.

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Color Measurement 201

A Few of the Unusual Things Our Customers Measure

Our color measurement devices are used by designers, brand owners, formulators, printers, and manufacturers around the world. Ranging from portable handheld devices, to large benchtop instruments, to spectrophotometers mounted inline, they can measure just about anything to help formulate and maintain a perfect color match.

Many of our customers, especially those in the paint industry, are asked to color match some pretty interesting things, and we love to hear about them. We recently asked 40 people the following question:

What is the most unusual thing you or one of your customers has measured? 

Read on for snippets from the interesting, funny, and sometimes gross responses!

Want to measure the color of splattered baby food? No problem with the CAPSURE device! See the rest of the video here.

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Color 101

2016’s Top Color Management Concerns

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! A time to reminisce… to celebrate our successes, and to explore areas that may need a little more attention in 2017.

If color accuracy is on your list of things to improve, this article is for you. We’ve compiled a list of the blogs our readers found most helpful and interesting in 2016, so you can start working toward your goal of more accurate color in the New Year.

Did your favorite blog make the list?

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Color 101

No Treats, just Tricks! 5 Fun Optical Illusions

FoamGhostThere are many things that affect what we see. Optical illusions aren’t just fascinating; they teach us about how we visually perceive our surroundings. In our color perception series, we shared some of the factors that affect how we see color and the impact it has on manufacturing.

Today we’ll take a closer look at some of the ways our brains, eyes, and the environment can influence what we see… we’ll call it adult Trick or Treat! Continue Reading

Color Measurement 201

The Secret Life of Colorful Food

There’s been a lot of research around the role color plays in how we expect food to taste. The fact is, we judge flavor by the color of the food or drink, even before the first taste. We expect red foods to taste sweet like strawberries or cherries. White should taste like vanilla, and green is probably limey and tart or minty. Color cues can even determine whether we take that first bite. On the wrong food, like mashed potatoes or pumpkin pie, most of us won’t try green at all!

Green Pumpkin Pie

In the heat of summer – when a sweet, refreshing treat is all that’s on your mind – would you buy a brand of ice cream if the cartons on the shelf are off-color? The Algida ice cream factory in Corlu, northwestern Turkey, knows the likely answer is no. That’s why they came to us for help tightening their process control, so that each batch not only tastes great, but has uniform color.

As you can imagine, the color of ice cream – or any food for that matter – is not the easiest thing to measure. Here are the top four things manufacturers must consider when measuring food, and how X-Rite solutions can help.

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Color Measurement 101

Are You Using the Right Tolerancing Method?

When visually evaluating color, everyone accepts or rejects color matches based on their color perception skills. In manufacturing, this subjectivity can lead to confusion and frustration between customers, suppliers, vendors, production, and management.

Are these acceptable color differences?

Are these acceptable color differences?

This is why color measurement devices are important in so many industries. By measuring colors using a spectrophotometer, you can communicate and compare spectral data for exact results.

To aid in color decisions, color acceptability limits called tolerances can be set as guidelines for how much perceived color difference is acceptable. Tolerances are used to control color, ensure consistency within a production run, and to minimize lot-to-lot variability. But even when using spectral data and tolerances to quantify color, customers and suppliers still find themselves disagreeing.

Why does this happen?

Through the years, different numerical ordering systems have been developed. If customer and supplier are using different ones, the tolerance – and acceptable color – will be different. Today we’ll look at the most common tolerancing methods so you can be prepared, no matter which method you are expected to use.

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Color 101, Color Measurement 201

It’s officially summer. Are your pants white enough?

Beginning around the 1930’s, the rules of fashion dictated no white before Memorial Day. It was a status symbol, when the wealthy left their winter garments behind and headed to the beach for the summer with their lightweight, carefree clothes.

Although the rule still loosely applies, modern day fashion is more concerned with the brightness of your whites than when you start wearing them. So how do manufacturers ensure their products are as white as they can be?

Optical brightening agents (OBAs) are chemicals that are added to everything from linen slacks and silk blouses to socks and underwear. They use the process of fluorescence to trick your eyes into believing your clothes are whiter and brighter than they actually are. To ensure your garments enhance and retain this whiter than white appearance, many laundry detergents contain optical brighteners, too.

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Color Management, Color Measurement 201

What is metamerism, and why should you care?

Have you ever walked out of the house wearing two black socks, only to arrive at work and realize one of them is navy blue? If so, you’ve been a victim of metamerism.

Metamerism is a phenomenon that occurs when two colors appear to match under one lighting condition, but not when the light changes.

Metameric Pairs

Metameric Pairs

This picture shows the same dyed wool swatches under U30 fluorescent (top) and A incandescent (bottom) light sources. Notice how the samples appear to change color? This, of course, is something manufacturers want to avoid. Metameric matches are quite common, especially in near neutral colors like grays, whites, and dark colors like these. As colors become lighter or more saturated, the range of possible metameric matches becomes smaller.

To manage metamerism during color production, you need to know what causes it.

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Device How-To

Effective ways to measure reflective surfaces

No matter what you’re manufacturing, taking spectral measurements will help ensure your color remains accurate and consistent throughout your production run. When choosing the best spectro for your needs, your first consideration should be the type of surface you’ll be measuring.

Measuring reflective surfaces poses a challenge because the effect of gloss can actually change the color appearance of a sample. The surface reflection of light is what causes the gloss effect. Since a 0°/45° spectrophotometer doesn’t include gloss in the measurement, it can’t provide a true representation of how the human eye will perceive the color.

So how can you measure reflective or shiny surfaces? Today we’ll take a closer look at how to use an 8° diffuse sphere instrument to measure both spectral included (SPIN) and spectral excluded (SPEX).

Ci7800 spectrophotometer measurement

Measuring a shiny plastic part with the Ci7800 benchtop sphere instrument.

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Color 101

What’s Sabotaging YOUR Sustainability Efforts?

Today is Earth Day. You know the buzz phrase – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – but do you know what it means for your manufacturing process?

Designed by Freepik

Designed by Freepik

Here are the top three places in a color workflow that can sabotage a company’s sustainability efforts.

  1. Not monitoring color throughout production, which leads to expensive rework and wasted raw materials.
  2. Incorrect colorant formulation. Are you using too much? Are you wasting the leftovers?
  3. Sending color samples back and forth and long approval cycles, which can have a big impact on a company’s carbon footprint.

Read the full story to learn how color management technology can help you address these crucial areas. Not only will our earth benefit from your greener manufacturing processes, but your budget will too.