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Color Measurement 201

Color Measurement 201

Color management… for prosthetics? You bet.

For many of us, fun in the sun can lead to a summertime tan. The science behind this sun + skin interaction is melanin, a skin pigment our body releases to block the UV rays found in sunlight. The more time we spend in the sun, the more melanin is released, and the darker (or more freckled) our skin becomes.

This shift in skin tone doesn’t matter for most people, but for prosthetic wearers even a slight change can be a big deal. Here’s how Royal Preston hospital in the United Kingdom is using color management to ensure their patients’ prosthetics match, regardless of the color of their skin.

Can you see this man’s facial prosthesis? The color is so perfectly matched that it looks completely natural.

Can you see this man’s facial prosthesis? The color is so perfectly matched that it looks completely natural.

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Color Measurement 201

Still reading press sheets manually?

If so, we’d like you to know there’s an easier way.

An upgrade from the original IntelliTrax, IntelliTrax2 is an automated, non-contact scanning system that makes it easy for busy pressrooms to measure color bars and press sheets without the risk of human error. Adding press-side quality control into your color workflow can shorten your makeready, reduce waste, and help you get to optimum color quality fast.

IntelliTrax2 in pressroom

IntelliTrax2 is an ideal color management solution for high-end, high-speed commercial printing and converting operations. Here’s why.

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Color Management, Color Measurement 201

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.

Threads

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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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

How to Combat Counterfeiting with Color Control

Real or fake? When it comes to medicating children, consumers need to know the products they choose are genuine.

Real or fake? When it comes to medicating children, consumers need to know the products they choose are genuine.

When you hear the word counterfeiting, do you automatically think of counterfeit money? Unfortunately counterfeiting goes much farther than that. It’s impacting just about every industry worldwide. It is a huge problem for product integrity and results in financial loss. Estimates put counterfeited and pirated goods at some 2 to 2.5% of world trade, with a value of $600 billion or more.

Counterfeiting can damage a brand’s image. Apparel, pharmaceuticals, pesticides, electronics, cosmetics, tobacco, sports merchandising and footwear have all been subject to counterfeit activity over the past few years. Not only is the rate of counterfeiting growing each year, so are the number products involved.

Counterfeiting can also lead to health concerns for consumers. Foods like cooking oils, olives, and baby food, wines and spirits, healthcare and personal care products, medicines, aircraft and automotive components, and critical electrical safety components are all targets. Some products have even been found to contain injurious or toxic components.We heard of one case where counterfeited tablets were actually coated with road paint to achieve a similar color!

As you can imagine, the Internet marketplace is making counterfeiting even easier. Luckily, there are a number of other ways packaging design and color management technology can help. We had the opportunity to sit down with Cliff Crosfield, an independent, freelance consultant in brand protection, anti-counterfeiting and packaging, to discuss these issues.

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Color Measurement 201

Effective Color Control on Metallized Substrates

You’re at the grocery store, trying to choose a new snack. With so many brands on the shelf, how will you decide? If you’re like most consumers, you’ll probably reach for the most attractive package.

Foil Snack Packaging

Color and packaging play a leading role in brand success, and metallized substrates are more popular than ever. Consumers love them because they convey quality and offer additional strength and protection, but for printers, metallized substrates are expensive and make color control a challenge.

If you’ve established a good workflow for your paper-based products, but metallized substrates are throwing you for a loop, you’re not alone. Reflective surfaces are very different, and what works for one doesn’t necessarily work for the other. Today we’ll look what does and doesn’t work, so you can add metallized substrates into your production repertoire.

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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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Color Measurement 201

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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Color Measurement 201

Staying Current with Standards in Print and Packaging

If you’re in the print and packaging industry, standards can help you set clear expectations for clients, solve problems in your workflow, and improve productivity. They can also bring an independent perspective to production.

The ISO an other standards organizations have been very busy trying to address the new technologies challenges that printers face. At X-Rite, we’re lucky to have Ray Cheydleur, our U.S. and international standards expert, to help us stay current.

Today Ray is providing some insight about what’s new in the world of graphic arts standards, so you can take advantage of them in your print and packaging workflow.

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Color Measurement 201

Five Tips for Using your Spectro Press Side

In a perfect world, you should be able to put ink in the press and run a job.  Unfortunately, there are so many variables that affect color that printing operations often waste thousands of pounds of substrate, and thousands of dollars in press time, making adjustments.

color goes wrong press side; inconsistency in printers

Advancements in technology have made it easier to measure color, but the variables still exist. To help you over come them, we’ll be featuring a series that points out many of the reasons your color could go wrong at press side.

We’ll start with five tips for using your spectro.

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