As brand owners compete to make packaging stand out, commercial and flexible packaging converters and label 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. Others mix ink, store it, and spend way too much time trying to reuse it for future print runs.  If you’re stuck in this cycle, you’re essentially paying for ink...

Posted August 13, 2020 by Rich Knapp

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 accurate digital color standards is one way to combat these errors. Digital color standards can be used in software to specify and communicate color, formulate colorants and raw materials, and control color quality. They give brand owners peac...

Posted August 03, 2020 by Tim Mouw

Whether you work with plastics, coatings or textiles, you must consistently achieve in-tolerance color or your product could be rejected before it even makes it to the shelf or showroom.     This is especially true for brands that rely on off-site suppliers and manufacturers for raw materials and parts that come together at assembly, such as the plastic dashboard, fabric seats, and coated interior panels of a car. Even if each site produces in-tolerance color, it must be monitored an...

Posted June 12, 2020 by Tim Mouw

In a highly competitive marketplace, brands and packaging designers are looking for ways to differentiate their products on the shelf. This increasingly goes beyond color to include embellishment options such as foils, special varnishes, soft touch finishes, and more. Designers are also using more intense solid colors, fluorescents and iridescents, and not just with conventional print. Digital solutions allow more variation in packaging and the ability to address shorter runs and faster cycle ti...

Posted June 04, 2020 by Ray Cheydleur

Reflective surfaces and metallic inks are very popular for printing and packaging applications. Consumers love the look; but for printers, these substrates and inks are expensive and make color control a challenge. Today we’re taking a look at the measurement options available for controlling these very marketable print and packaging applications to help printers and converters meet brand owner expectations and maintain the highest possible quality output. Sphere vs. 45°:0° - W...

Posted May 07, 2020 by Mark Gundlach

There are different levels of process control that are used for print. While visual comparisons can be used to provide a rudimentary judgment of a match, they can be very subjective, and thus not very accurate, or repeatable.    Using a densitometer can provide quantitative actionable feedback for the press operator. This can include measurements of solid ink density, tone value increase (also known as dot gain), Ink Trap, and other print characteristics. These are known as mechanical ...

Posted May 06, 2020 by Mark Gundlach

Spectrophotometers (“spectros” for short) are color measurement devices used to capture and evaluate color. As part of a color control program, brand owners and designers use them to specify and communicate color, and manufacturers use them to monitor color accuracy throughout production. Spectrophotometers can measure just about anything, including liquids, plastics, paper, metal and fabrics, and help ensure that color remains consistent from conception to delivery.   &nb...

Posted March 27, 2020 by X-Rite Color

Color has always been a critical factor for our customers. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many are now trying to design, specify, communicate and ultimately achieve accurate color from remote locations or with less staff and fewer resources. Are you having trouble maintaining your color program in this unprecedented time?  We've compiled our most popular resources – blogs, videos, whitepapers, webinars, and case studies – to help you connect with your supply chain and ...

Posted March 27, 2020 by X-Rite Color

As with everything we touch, our color measurement instruments are prone to contamination from germs and viruses. Our Hardware Team consulted CDC advice and put together steps to disinfect your benchtop and handheld devices. Disinfection Warnings Do not immerse your device in liquid or apply any type of liquid directly on the instrument. Refrain from spraying disinfecting product directly onto the instrument surface, including foam disinfectants. Do not use product...

Posted March 25, 2020 by X-Rite Color

Appearance is more than just color. It’s an all-inclusive look at everything inherent to an object, including texture, gloss, transparency, translucency, and special effects like sparkle and shimmer. When viewed from different angles or under different lighting conditions, appearance effects can change our perception of color. That's why it’s important to control both color and appearance throughout design and development.  Durable goods brands use appearance effects to captur...

Posted February 20, 2020 by X-Rite Color

Managing color throughout production is always a challenge, but advances in color technology, like the metallic, shimmer, and pearlescence effects designed to capture consumer attention, are taking the frustration to a whole new level for quality control managers. This is especially true when producing parts that must match at assembly, such as the metal panels for a home appliance or the painted side mirrors for a vehicle.  Special effects are tricky to control because our perception can c...

Posted January 14, 2020 by Tim Mouw

During this holiday season, let's pause to do more than give thanks. Let's also consider the role color plays on the food choices we make when we fill our Thanksgiving plates. Traditional holiday foods like turkey, mashed potatoes, and pumpkin pie always look the same... we know what to expect when we take our first bite. But what if the mashed potatoes were green this year? Would they taste different? Would you even try them? There has been a lot of research about the role color plays in how w...

Posted November 22, 2019 by X-Rite Color

Colorimeters and spectrophotometers are color measurement devices that are used to capture, communicate, and evaluate color. From cardboard packaging to food, laundry soap, carpeting and small plastic parts, color measurement devices help ensure the color being produced matches the color that was originally specified. They’re used behind the scenes in just about every industry where color is important, including plastics, textiles, paints, coatings, print and packaging. There are basicall...

Posted October 07, 2019 by Tim Mouw

Inter-instrument agreement is a very important consideration when selecting color measurement devices for your workflow. Unfortunately, it’s such a technical topic that it leads to a lot of confusion about what it means and why it’s important. The Ci7860 sphere benchtop spectrophotomter is has an inter-instrument agreement specification of 0.06 average Delta E*, enabling brands to create the most precise master color standards. Today we’re making it as simple as possibl...

Posted October 03, 2019 by Mike Huda

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 pro...

Posted October 03, 2019 by Thomas Meeker

Spectrophotometers are excellent tools for measuring samples against their color standards to compare differences, but it can be difficult to achieve color accuracy for irregularly shaped products like liquids, plastics, cans, and powders. We design a variety of parts and accessories - also called “rigs & jigs” - for many of our instruments to help measure odd shapes and sizes.  Parts & Accessories for Benchtop Spectrophotometers Liquids are notoriously difficult ...

Posted October 02, 2019 by Mike Huda

Spectrophotometers are color measurement devices that measure color to ensure it remains consistent from the time it’s specified until final quality check. They can be used to measure everything from liquids and plastics to paper, metal, and fabrics for just about every industry.   Here Are Our Top Spectrophotometer Picks for 2019.   Best Spectrophotometer to Create Digital Standards Using a digital standard is the most accurate way to specify and communicate color, des...

Posted August 16, 2019 by X-Rite Color

When choosing a food product, consumers demand consistency in both taste and appearance. While a lighter batch of oranges may still produce a delicious juice blend, a pale color can jeopardize USDA approval and leave consumers questioning the quality. Unfortunately for food and beverage manufacturers, the color of food – especially drinks like fruit juice and blended cocktails – is one of the most difficult things to control during production. Here’s why. 1. Liquid is hard to...

Posted August 15, 2019 by X-Rite Color

There’s been a lot of research around the role color plays in how we expect food to taste. The fact is, we judge flavor by the color of the food or drink, even before the first taste. We expect red foods to taste sweet like strawberries or cherries. White should taste like vanilla, and green is probably limey and tart or minty. Color cues can even determine whether we take that first bite. Most of us won’t even consider trying a food like mashed potatoes or pumpkin pie if it is ...

Posted August 12, 2019 by Tim Mouw

With so many requests for innovative bases, transparency, and special effects, formulating color for paint, coating, and plastic applications can be a challenge. To keep up, formulation software needs to be innovative, too. We recently launched version 10 of our Color iMatch formulation software, and it is our smartest version yet. It allows you to select cost-reducing parameters, such as lowest cost or fewest colorants, and will determine the best formula for your application. It work...

Posted July 10, 2019 by Rich Knapp

It’s expensive to ship the wrong color. To make it right, you need to bring it back to the lab for reformulation, send someone to re-tint at the customer site, or dispose of it and start over. In addition to the expense of wasted time and materials, how do you quantify the loss of an unhappy customer? Five Steps to Efficient Formulation  With the right tools and processes, you can work fast and achieve precise matches.  1. Formulate Against an Accurate Standard. First, you ...

Posted May 29, 2019 by Rich Knapp

Hitting offset lithographic color targets isn’t always fast or easy. The manual process of measuring color bars and making ink key adjustments takes time and opens the door to operator error. Meanwhile, the press is running (and wasting) paper and ink. To achieve accurate and repeatable color, printers need to convert their printing operation to an efficient manufacturing process and drive efficiencies in all phases of their operation. For many, a closed-loop automated solution is the...

Posted April 03, 2019 by Ray Cheydleur

Benchtop spectrophotometers measure in either transmission or reflectance mode to capture and quantify color on various opaque, transparent, and translucent samples, including glass, liquid, fabric, and plastic. Today we’ll explain the difference between transmission and reflectance measurements so you can determine which benchtop will meet your color measurement needs.  Transmission vs. Reflectance Measurements Both transmission and reflectance spectrophotometers emit all of the wav...

Posted February 26, 2019 by Mike Huda

When customers are just getting started with color management, they often ask, "What is the difference between a spectrometer and a spectrophotometer?". With such a minute spelling difference, it's easy to make a quick typo and get the wrong answer for this color question. So...what's the difference? Spectrometers vs. Spectrophotometers    What is a Spectrophotometer? A spectrophotometer is a color measurement device that is used to capture and evaluate color on just about anything, in...

Posted March 05, 2018 by X-Rite Color

The two most common spectrophotometers are the 0:45 and the sphere (aka diffuse/8°). We get a lot of questions about which is the best choice. Here’s the difference in how these two devices measure color, and guidelines for when to use each. 0:45 In a “fixed geometry” or “single angle” device, the first number is the starting point of the light, and the second number is where the light ends up after the reflection off the surface of the sample. In a 0:45 ...

Posted January 18, 2018 by Mike Huda

If you work behind a paint counter, you know customers can surprise you with interesting and unique objects to color match. Many samples are relatively easy to measure, but when a customer shows up with a curved baseboard panel, a square of shag carpet, or a plush toy, things can get a little tricky. A few years ago, we learned just how challenging it was for our retail paint customers to color match unique samples. We took in a bag with textured and multi-colored items and asked the person behi...

Posted December 04, 2017 by Tim O'Rourke

Whether purchasing a new car, consumer electronics, or household appliances, color consistency influences the perception of quality. If the color doesn’t match from front-to-back and side-to-side, customers will likely question the quality and move on. That’s where color measurement can help. In today’s competitive marketplace, manufacturers are going beyond color to utilize extreme effect finishes to differentiate their products. But, as manufacturers are quickly learning, me...

Posted October 25, 2017 by Thomas Meeker

The World Series starts next week. While players and fans are gearing up for the big event, stadium groundskeepers are preparing, too. You’ve surely seen those meticulous patterns in the grass – crisscross, spiral, plaid – but do you know how the groundskeepers create them? Thanks to a phenomenon called geometric metamerism (aka gonio-appearance), the grass really is greener on the other side. Read on to learn more about this optical illusion that can trick your eyes and wreak havoc on y...

Posted October 17, 2017 by Mike Huda

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....

Posted October 13, 2017 by Mike Huda

We frequently get calls from customers who can’t figure out why their measurements vary, even when they’re using maintained devices. Why would a sample read one way one day, then slightly different another? Many times the culprit is thermochromaticity, and it becomes an even bigger problem as the seasons change. Every kind of material changes color with temperature. These changes cause the material to exhibit a shift in reflected wavelengths of light, which can alter our perception....

Posted September 19, 2017 by Mike Huda

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) follow...

Posted September 08, 2017 by X-Rite Color

If you recently invested in a spectrophotometer or colorimeter, you know there’s a lot more to learn about color measurement than just how to use your new device. To help you begin exploring the exciting world of color, we’ve compiled seven blogs that explain how to set up your color measurement device, care for it, and use it to its maximum potential. 5 Tips for Setting Up Your Spectrophotometer Using a spectrophotometer (“spectro” for short) to measure color doesn...

Posted July 25, 2017 by Mike Huda

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 measuri...

Posted June 27, 2017 by Greg Stehn

With today’s complex cross-media campaigns, accurate profiling is even more important for managing customer expectations across the color supply chain. Our i1Pro 2 solutions help photographers, videographers, prepress and digital printers create profiles for the best color on monitors, scanners, projectors, printers, and online web-to-print submission tools. But with so many to choose from, how do you know which is the right tool for your color workflow? Whether you’re looking to add a new comp...

Posted April 11, 2017 by Ray Cheydleur

In a perfect world, you should be able to put ink in the press and simply run a job. Unfortunately, every year flexo and gravure printing operations waste ink, substrate and press time trying to get color right. Although advancements in technology have made it easier to achieve color accuracy, the variables that affect color still exist. In this three-part series, we’re sharing over two dozen reasons your color might be wrong on press. If you missed the first article – Instrumentati...

Posted March 30, 2017 by Scott Harig

In a perfect world, you should be able to put ink in the press, run a job, and achieve color consistency. Unfortunately, every year flexographic and gravure printing operations waste ink, substrate, and press time trying to get color right.    Although advancements in technology have made it easier to achieve color accuracy, the variables that affect color still exist. In this three part series we’ll share over two dozen reasons your color might be wrong at press side. Today&rsqu...

Posted March 19, 2017 by Scott Harig

Consistent color is a journey. A few weeks ago I blogged about the most common pitfalls people run into when starting a color program… Wrong lighting Less-than-perfect color vision Inaccurate physical standards Inconsistent device color measurement …And introduced some inexpensive color tools to help overcome them.   But the journey doesn’t stop there. Even if you’ve been successfully managing color for years, advances in inks, dyes, and substrates are introducing new challen...

Posted March 13, 2017 by Shoshana Burgett

How many trial and error steps does it take you to formulate a color? If you answered more than three, it might be time to enlist the help of a computerized solution. Computer-aided color formulation can bring huge benefits to your business. Out of the gate, even beginners can hit color targets faster, saving time, money and expensive colorants. Once you’ve established an accurate process, you can expect to match 95% of your color requirements within a reasonable color distance on the firs...

Posted March 02, 2017 by Mike Huda

At X-Rite Pantone, we pride ourselves on our ability to help customers specify, communicate, formulate, and produce consistent color. You’re probably familiar with our major markets, like plastics, industrial coatings, and print & packaging. You may also be aware of the more “common” things we measure, like paint, printed surfaces, and textiles. But, as you look for the emergency exit on a plane, watch a butterfly float by, or choose the freshest package of cheese from the ...

Posted February 23, 2017 by Mike Huda

You say color is important, but do you know why it’s so important? In reality, color is a critical element in the manufacturing process. Unfortunately, many manufacturers are realizing that getting color right is much harder than it used to be, and the brands they support are asking them to meet tighter tolerances. Here’s why. While advances in color technology – think metallic packaging, pearlescent finishes, custom fabrics and vibrant new colors – entice customers, they also make it much more...

Posted February 07, 2017 by Shoshana Burgett
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