Designers: It’s Time To Be Specific!

Posted November 17, 2017 by Cindy Cooperman

You think you’re doing everything right, but your color isn’t consistent. Why?

Through the years, designers have used many tools to help them specify color. Color swatches, style guides and product prototypes have been effective, but with the advent of the digital world, these physical tools are no longer enough.

To be efficient, designers need to be SPECIFIC. X-Rite Pantone President Ron Voigt recently published an article in MediaPost that explains why. To be effective, designers need to be LEADERS, but in the business world they often don’t get the credit they deserve. Often, it’s because designers don’t give themselves enough credit.

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We’ve been working hard to develop tools to help designers express their creativity while ensuring color standards are understood and communicated effectively up front. In this way, they can work with confidence, define innovative visions, and lead others to produce great work.

We’ve found the majority of print consistency issues stem from two common oversights:

1 - Leaving color decisions to the print converter.

If you print the same color on carton board, plastic film, and foil, it’s not going to match. To achieve accurate color that matches the design, you need to consider the type of packaging material you are printing on.

Many designers leave this job to the printer. But when you give multiple converters an ideal color and ask them to produce their best match, you’ll start getting different versions of their “better best” result. Even if all of the samples are within in tolerance, each color will be different from the next. 

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2 - Automatically specifying custom colors.

In an attempt to match a Pantone Color on different substrates, many designers resort to introducing a custom color. This is an expensive (and often unnecessary) option.

Digital Color Communication Drives Consistency

Digital color standards and a digital workflow allow accurate color specification on brand packaging. From proofing to ink matching to printing, digital color will help achieve the best possible match to the designer’s specified color in each stage of production. It’s a surprisingly simple and efficient way to improve color consistency on the shelf.

PantoneLIVE is a cloud-based architecture that enables digital specification and communication of Pantone standards to all stakeholders in the global supply chain. When everyone involved in the print workflow can access and utilize the same digital Pantone color libraries, it becomes much easier to achieve accuracy and consistency.

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Our tools for digital packaging design include:

  • A full library of digitized Master Pantone Standards. These are the same standards found in the popular Pantone Formula Guides that designers commonly work with today.
  • 28 (and growing) digitized Pantone dependent packaging libraries. This versatile database includes a wide variety of packaging materials for different printing processes, making it easy to specify color during design.
  • A visualizer tool, which allows you to create a Pantone color palette and visualize how those colors will look on press while taking into consideration the packaging substrate, ink and printing process.

With X-Rite Pantone solutions, it really is possible to predict achievability and reproducibility on different substrates and materials before going on press.

designers-as-leadersTake Back Control of Your Colors!

Here’s why you should seriously consider making the switch to digital:

An updated brand color specification program empowers designers to take ownership of color standards without involving third party providers.

Incorporating color standards for packaging materials into the brand style guide and specifications will achieve high impact results with relatively low effort.

Working within a named color system will reduce production costs for brand owners and their suppliers.

When you set a realistic and achievable standard with a well defined specification that’s easy to understand and adopt, you give printers the tools they need to meet your needs. It won’t take long to see the positive results!

Check out our new Brand Manager Guide to Getting Color Right on Consumer Packaging to learn more.

Questions? Need a Quote? Contact Us.  1.888.800.9580