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A Few of the Unusual Things Our Customers Measure

Posted December 28, 2016 by Tim Mouw

Our color measurement devices are used by designers, brand owners, formulators, printers, and manufacturers around the world. Ranging from portable handheld devices, to large benchtop instruments, to spectrophotometers mounted inline, they can measure just about anything to help formulate and maintain a perfect color match.

Many of our customers, especially those in the paint industry, are asked to color match some pretty interesting things, and we love to hear about them. We recently asked 40 people the following question:

What is the most unusual thing you or one of your customers has measured? 

Read on for snippets from the interesting, funny, and sometimes gross responses!

Want to measure the color of splattered baby food? No problem with the CAPSURE device! See the rest of the video here.

The Great Outdoors

“To quantify ‘Lake Tahoe’ blue, I set out on the lake with two of my most trusted light capturing instruments: my Nikon D800 DSLR and the spectrophotometer that came with my i1Publish Pro 2 kit. I measured literally thousands of color hues and tonal qualities ranging in hues from very emerald green to a deep midnight blue and a tonal range from a very light turquoise to nearly black. I also measured surface characteristics and light angle on the water as it related to color appearance. In the end, I captured thousands of images and created a color palette that I may use in my artwork.”

i1Publish Pro 2 includes the i1Pro spectrophotometer.

“A customer came in with a eucalyptus leaf to color match for paint to make the storage building behind his house blend in with the trees.”

“A customer came in one day with a sample to color match – a baggie full of dirt. His house was located in the desert and he wanted the roof coating to match the surrounding areas. Using the Formulation Master 2001 software and the SP62, I scanned the material and successfully formulated it into a color we called “Ranch Tan.”


“A VIP customer had an urgent color-matching request. Usually he just sent the digital data, but this time he requested a meeting. To my surprise he handed me a plastic bag holding an opened lollipop! Fortunately the lollipop was flat not spherical, so with a big smile I took it to our lab to do the color matching.”

“A customer wanted to match his coffee, both before and after cream.”

spectrophotometer rigs jigs measure sample color

Spectrophotometers can be fitted with rigs and jigs to measure liquid, powder, or hard to hold samples.

“A lady came in with her five-year old daughter to choose paint for her room. When asked what color she would like to have on her walls, the little girl spit out her bubble gum and said, “THIS color.” We managed to smooth it out and dry it with the paint table hair dryer and voila! We developed the perfect shade of bubble gum pink. The little girl felt very empowered and was awed by the technology, and Mom was relieved that everything went so well.”

“A chef from an Italian restaurant measured spaghetti sauce for the color on their jar-style golf cart.”

“I once was asked to create an interior flat wall paint to match a double orange popsicle. I had to refrigerate the popsicle between adding colorants to achieve the proper tint.”


“Today I matched a reindeer leg from a Christmas scene.”

“An actual Golden Retriever! A customer came in with her dog Busey and wanted to match her dog’s coat. The dog was very well behaved and let me measure it with the iVue. I ended up using part of the formula the iVue gave and a close color chip. We called the color Busey Blonde.”

MatchRite iVue and ColorDesigner PLUS system

The MatchRite iVue non-contact spectrophotometer can measure a variety of sample sizes, shapes, textures, and opacity levels for fast, accurate paint matching.


“The most unusual request came from my wife who just started up her own hair salon. Being a designer I was tasked with designing her logo and business card. After asking her numerous times for the PMS colours she wanted, she finally came to me with her color of choice: bright pink painted nails. I was able to use my X-Rite device to measure the colour and used it to create a fairly close match. Without X-Rite I would still probably be chasing my tail!”

“A customer who works for the Red Cross wanted a flesh tone for his mannequins. They were getting worn and he wanted to freshen them up, so he brought in an arm. I scanned the finger and made that color and the customer was thrilled. Who would have thought of matching something like that? We both laughed.”

“A customer was making outdoor lawn ornaments and came into my store asking for a flesh tone paint color. I directed him to the paint chip color center, but the paint chips were either too pink or too tan. He then looked at my forearm, pointed, and said, “I want that color right there on your arm!” I held the spectrophotometer over my forearm, took several measurements, and let the X-Rite software average a formula. The customer was happy with the paint I mixed!”

capsure cosmetics; xrite capsure; capsureme; skin matching; skin measuring device; sephora capsure

CAPSURE Cosmetic is a convenient handheld instrument that measures skin tone and recommends matching cosmetics products.

“I was asked by a customer to color match a doll’s head. When I measured it with the spectro, the color wasn’t quite what the customer wanted. He asked for something a little more like a skin tone, so I measured my arm. He said that was too tan. I pressed him to find out what he was making, and he finally admitted – a pen holder in the shape of a human butt! So I took a portable spectro and measured my own… posterior. The customer was very happy with the color match. (I still have one of the pen holders he shipped me from the production run.)”

And a few unmentionables…

“I work in the Color Department at Cyber Graphics creating color profiles. One of our salesmen brought work from Procter and Gamble for a new line of Dora and Diego Pampers. We were asked to color match specific corporate character colors… on the diapers themselves! The biggest problem was the material they were to be printed on. It wasn’t a poly stock, but the self-absorbent polymer inside the diaper. It was similar to felt, and let’s just say it really was very ABSORBENT! When we applied the inks they were quickly absorbed, leaving a washed out and hard to use set of images. I was not to be beaten by this challenge, and thanks to X-Rite we successfully hit our tolerances!”

“A toilet seat. Apparently, this was the only item that was removable from a residential bathroom where a custom color match was desired. It was a crazy job, but(t), someone had to do it.”

“A mother and son were looking for a particular color for the son’s bedroom, but could not find the right one. I told them I could color match a sample if they wanted to bring one in. The son’s face turned beet red as the mother reached in her purse and pulled out a pair of her son’s aqua blue underwear! With out missing a beat, I put them in my color match computer and mixed the prefect color for their project.”

Sound advice from one of our customers:

“Treat your color-matching device like your best employee. If you keep it clean and comfortable, it will treat you right… and everyone will give YOU all the credit.”

Have you measured something interesting enough to make our list? We’d love to hear about it… be sure to share with us on TwitterFacebook, or LinkedIn!

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Technical Questions? Contact Support(888) 826-3042