All Posts By

Tim Mouw

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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What is Metamerism? | X-Rite Blog

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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Spectral Measurements on Reflective Surfaces | X-Rite Blog

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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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.

Achieving Accurate Paint Matches

In the world of retail paint, getting to the best color match quickly is key to keeping your customers happy and coming back for more. Today we’ll review ways to get the most from your color measurement tools so your associates can be color experts, and you can enjoy fewer corrections and improved profitability.

Paint Chips on Quilt

Do any of these swatches match the customer’s quilt? Not really. Gain customer’s trust by creating a perfectly matched paint color.

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5 Color Evaluation Pitfalls to Avoid

If you work in an industry where color accuracy is important, you know that lighting plays a huge role in how you perceive color.

A light booth is a crucial part of any visual evaluation program. It can help you verify whether the color of your product is acceptable, plus ensure it will remain accurate in every lighting condition after purchase. When parts are manufactured at different factories, a light booth should also be used to make sure they continue to match under any lighting condition once assembled.

Four Lightbooths

This image shows how different colors look under four different lighting conditions: D65, D50, Store and Home.

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Why does it take so long to produce new car colors?

Detroit recently hosted The North American International Auto Show. It’s an exciting event for consumers who want a sneak peek at what’s on the horizon in the automotive industry. Energy efficiency, new gadgets, enhanced comfort, and of course, the latest paint colors and special effect finishes.

For years, white has been the most popular car color, but more varied colors are starting to emerge. USA Today’s Chris Woodyard wrote that blue is a new color trend at this year’s auto show. It’s also rumored that automotive paint suppliers are including brighter colors in their 2019 automotive color collections.

It’s only 2016. Why such a long wait for new colors?

Believe it or not, producing a new auto color can take up to five years from inspiration to the showroom floor. It’s a long, tedious process for designers, paint companies, and auto manufacturers; but innovative color measurement technology is changing the game and speeding up time to market.

blue becomes a hot automotive color in 2016

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What is the FOCA Seminar?

The Fundamentals of Color and Appearance – FOCA for short – is a very popular one-day seminar for anyone who deals with color. From the best way to communicate color so everyone is speaking the same language, to tips for judging the smallest color differences, you’ll learn everything you need to know to measure, view, and understand color data in any industry.

Whether you’re dealing with plastics, textiles or paints, or using dyes, inks or other colorants, the basics of color are very similar. But in color science, the basics aren’t always very easy to understand. FOCA brings all of the complicated scientific terms and color management processes into everyday language you can actually understand and use.

FOCA trainers are industry leaders who have accumulated years of hands-on practical experience and expertise in their respective fields. You may also recognize them as contributing authors for our blog.

CIELAB Exercise Chips

CIELAB Exercise Chips

Today we’ll share some of what you’ll learn if you’re lucky enough to attend one of our nationwide seminars.


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Why is controlling color so hard?

As an Applications Engineer and Technical Support Specialist at X-Rite, I get a lot of calls from frustrated customers who don’t understand why they can’t get their color right. They’re tired of the trial and error, rework, and wasted materials that are impacting their bottom line and credibility with customers. They just want their color workflow to WORK and FLOW.

Why is it so hard?

Today we’ll walk through the top 8 reasons color control programs fail, so you can evaluate and improve yours.

xrite; x-rite benchtop; color control

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X-Rite eXact Scan Receives 2015 InterTech Award

Each year the Printing Industries of America selects the most innovative graphics arts solutions to receive the 2015 InterTech™ Technology Awards. This year, the X-Rite eXactTM spectrophotometer with Scan Option was among the recipients of this prestigious award.

Today we’ll take a look at the top features that make the eXact with Scan Option a star with offset litho, flexo, and digital printers.

X-Rite eXactTM Scan; InterTech Award

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