Color is our perception of reflected light across the visible spectrum. When light hits an object, it absorbs some rays and reflect others. The color of light that reflects back into our eyes is the color we perceive. The more light an object absorbs, the darker it appears. With black, very little light is reflected.
Pure black in the presence of light wasn’t achieved until 2014 when Surrey NanoSystems announced the invention of Vantablack. This high-tech artificial substance absorbs 99.965% of all light that hits it, from the ultraviolet, through the visible and well into the infrared spectrum. When applied to an object, Vantablack makes the object look like a flat, bottomless void in space.
Here you see a crumpled piece of aluminum foil, with Vantablack covering the middle. There is so little reflection you can’t even perceive the wrinkled texture!
Image Copyright Surrey NanoSystems 2017
Whether you manufacture plastics, coatings, or textiles, the reality is the same: If you don’t achieve consistent color, your product won’t sell. In fact, at the shelf, most people decide whether they’re going to purchase a product within 90 seconds, and much of that decision is based on color.
We know it can feel overwhelming to make changes to your production workflow, especially if you think it’s “good enough.” But the industry is changing. Brands are demanding more accurate color, faster. To stay competitive, you need to continue moving up the continuum of color control.
Luckily there is a growing range of color tools available to achieve accuracy and consistency. Today we’re sharing what’s available to help you deploy more consistent color in your manufacturing workflow.
Have you ever sent out a job that passed your inspection, only to have the customer reject it for out-of-tolerance color? You recheck the data and the instrument says the color passed the agreed tolerance… why is the customer saying it doesn’t? We get a LOT of these conflicting measurement calls in technical support.
The solution is simple – document a color control program that clearly defines how to assess color, then make sure everyone (including your customer) follows it. Today we’re sharing what you need to include in your program so you can begin working with confidence.
Although plastics professionals have been managing color issues in the production workflow for many years, the dynamics are once again changing. From consumer electronics to automotive parts and flexible packaging, a growing number of brands are incorporating special effect finishes into their products.
While metallics, pearlescents, and other complex finishes are beautiful and help brands stand out on the shelf, they also introduce new color management challenges into the manufacturing process. That’s because the way special effect flakes are aligned, the thickness of the plastic, and the viewing angle all contribute to the final appearance of the product.
How do you quantify the amount of “shimmer” in a special effect plastic?
If special effect finishes are leaving you struggling to find the most efficient way to achieve consistent color AND appearance, here are two solutions to help you stay competitive.
In an effort to better understand YOU, YOUR business, and YOUR color challenges, we’re inviting you to be a part of the new X-RITE LAB. Our research and design teams are asking for YOUR input as we look for new and exciting challenges to solve.
The X-RITE LAB is a group of professionals who are interested in voicing their color challenges and emerging as thought leaders. Regardless of industry, role, or years of color knowledge, we’re looking for individuals whose professional goals resonate with our mission – getting color right the first time, every time.
Spectrophotometers are color measurement devices used to specify and communicate color and monitor accuracy throughout production. There are spectrophotometers to measure just about anything, from liquids and plastics to paper, metal and fabrics. Brand owners, designers, lab techs and quality control professionals rely on them to ensure color remains consistent, from the time it’s specified until final quality check, in just about every industry.
This Ci7800 benchtop spectrophotometer is measuring a fabric swatch.
Spectrophotometers come in many shapes and sizes. There’s the practical, convenient portable spectrophotometer, small enough to fit in the palm of your hand and travel around the lab for on-site quality checks. Then there’s the larger benchtop device, standing ready to measure the most precise color for the most accurate specifications and tolerances.
Which is right for your color workflow?
Since benchtops are generally more expensive, many are left wondering if the investment is worth it. Today we’re comparing how portable and benchtop spectrophotometers perform in common color measurement scenarios so you can decide which is best for your needs.
We’ve written a lot about “color workflows” and “color management” on our blog. Today we’re connecting the dots to show you how “color workflow management” can mean big savings in a busy pressroom.
Without color workflow management, you can end up producing something you think is right, but is completely wrong in the end.
Especially in the printing industry, checking color quality at multiple steps along the way is the key to ensuring you’re on the right track. Color workflow management closes the gap between users, specifications, and color to ensure good quality.
Whether you’re producing textiles, automotive parts, or plastic pieces, color needs to remain consistent or the final product will be rejected. Unfortunately, there are many ways for color errors to creep in during manufacturing.
Creating and using digital standards is one way to combat these errors. They can be used to accurately specify and communicate color, design layouts, and formulate colorants and raw materials. Digital standards give brand owners peace of mind that the color they communicate is the color that will be produced, and manufacturers the confidence to work faster and more efficiently.
To create digital standards, you need an accurate, repeatable master spectrophotometer. But with so many instruments on the market, how can you choose? Today we’re highlighting some of the features of our new Ci7860 so you can judge for yourself whether it’s the right instrument for you.
As brand owners compete to make packaging stand out, printers are charged with achieving accurate color – on unique substrates – with shorter print runs. Many spend a lot of time mixing ink, then end up throwing it away when the color isn’t right.
If you’re stuck in this cycle, you’re essentially paying for ink twice – once when you buy it, and once again to dispose of it. What are the economics behind this waste? What’s the impact on our earth?
Today we’re demonstrating how the InkFormulation Software’s Leftover Management feature can help you reduce inventory and waste and lower your disposal costs.
What happens when you have more than 2,000 brand colors to manage across a complex global packaging supply chain? Things get complicated!
Although it may seem easier to create a new color than to dig through databases or binders of color drawdowns to find the closest match, the problem comes later when you’re faced with a huge, unmanageable library.
One of our clients, a well-known fast-moving consumer packaged goods (FMCG) company, understands how easily things can get out of control. They were not only battling time and cost inefficiencies by using a proprietary color library, they lacked standardization for creating, communicating and managing brand colors.
Production was expensive and quality was suffering. They knew things had to change, but they didn’t know where to start. That’s where we came in.
Today we’re sharing their incredible success story.