Many companies spend a lot of time and money on color measurement instruments and software but forget about the importance of lighting when approving products for shipment.
When used properly, spectrophotometers and color management software can tell you if your colors are within tolerance, and they can also manage gloss and metamerism (see explanation of metamerism below). However, you could still be sending out unsatisfactory parts if they don’t look right after they’re assembled, once they hit the store shelves, or after they arrive in the consumer’s home or office. At some point in the supply chain, someone must visually evaluate these parts – next to each other and under different light sources – to make sure they are ready to ship.
Proper evaluation considers how the product will look, when assembled, in each possible location. A light booth can simulate colors pre-purchase under store lighting, as well as under lighting that might represent their final environment. For instance, carpet manufacturers need to know how their products will look in the showroom as well as under incandescent tungsten, warm-white fluorescent, and the LED bulbs increasingly found in homes.
When a finished good is comprised of several materials, a light booth can ensure that the harmony among components remains constant under all lighting conditions. A light booth should be used to verify color acceptability, and more importantly, to ensure that the item does not exhibit physical defects.
Today we’ll look at the color science behind why a light booth is a necessary part of every color evaluation workflow.