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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I’m developing a color pallet with corresponding PMS color codes laid out on a test t-shirt printed front and back for a wide spread of color.

To expedite my color issues for my CafePress Store though; I think I’m going to guestimate the so to speak “dot gain” problem in my cartoon images and bump up the brightness 15 to 20%.

Once I have my test t-shirt; based upon the results I should be better able to determine the correct PMS colors to go with on my designs for printing.

If anybody has a better idea of how to handle this please let me know. So far CafePress keeps telling me I need to fix my monitor. From my perspective, what your monitor looks like has some but little bearing on what the printing press, or inkjet printer, or laser printer outputs. You can print the same image file to 5 different printers including Goss newspaper presses and come up with 5 different color variations including levels of lightness and darkness. So I’m working through this as we speak. Its frustrating. :(
 

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Color matching is definitely a frustrating matter, but I can only imagine what a nightmare it would be if you're not printing your own stuff. I would not assume that Cafepress will give you consistent colors every single time, especially if you're talking about different types of garments... thin t-shirt, thick hoodie, mug will all look different due to the material and the different printing processes.

I've never bought into monitor calibration myself; like you said, every printer is different and so is every monitor. Are you having problems getting really bad prints, or are you just trying to prevent that from happening? A sample print like you're talking about may ease your mind but for most projects probably isn't really necessary. If colors are critical you may want to go with a local vendor instead.
 

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While your monitor has no actual effect on the printing, our goal as dtg printers is to get the output (printed design) to look exactly as it does on the monitor...so monitor issues do come into play, as well as color profiling/color management. Have you asked them what profiles they use, which working space, and what program they use to print from? That may help you set up your artwork a little better.
 

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Color matching on garments can be real frustration being not ever blank will have the same consistancy, you can get close but color matching is a waste of time. Even on vinyl the color can shift from batch of vinyl to batch, but this color shift is not usually that big of a deal, but garments are not produced to that tight of a standard. JM.02
 

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These all are good points. One of the best ways to address this is to educate the end client. I show them CMYK on plain paper, Photo paper, T-shirts etc. and make sure that they understand the limitations and give them a choice that fits their needs. Most people are not that picky, but once in a while....

We do what we can ,with what we have. These machines can do fantastic things. We just have to sell what they do and figure out how far we can take them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Color matching is definitely a frustrating matter, but I can only imagine what a nightmare it would be if you're not printing your own stuff. I would not assume that Cafepress will give you consistent colors every single time, especially if you're talking about different types of garments... thin t-shirt, thick hoodie, mug will all look different due to the material and the different printing processes.

I've never bought into monitor calibration myself; like you said, every printer is different and so is every monitor. Are you having problems getting really bad prints, or are you just trying to prevent that from happening? A sample print like you're talking about may ease your mind but for most projects probably isn't really necessary. If colors are critical you may want to go with a local vendor instead.
Thanks for the reply. I haven’t been getting really bad prints as much has I have had a color shift and a dulling of color. The overall image printed is sharp and clear. Yesterday I received my first test shirt from CafePress with one of my designs on the front and a test color pallet with shade gradations on the front. It is now apparent that there is a strong color shift to Magenta on the t-shirts as much as there was on the coffee mugs that I had purchased for tests. Going with a local vendor is what I’m used to but I’m trying to break out with new designs without the start up fees associated with local vendors. The thing that CafePress really offers is fulfillment and one of prints that allow at designer like myself to bypass the upfront costs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
While your monitor has no actual effect on the printing, our goal as dtg printers is to get the output (printed design) to look exactly as it does on the monitor...so monitor issues do come into play, as well as color profiling/color management. Have you asked them what profiles they use, which working space, and what program they use to print from? That may help you set up your artwork a little better.
Thanks for your reply. No I have not asked them what profiles they use, or working space, and program they use to print from. I think I will just drop your questioin onto the CafePress forum and see what I get back for an answer. The last time I asked about color matching only helpful response I got back told to make a test shirt.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
These all are good points. One of the best ways to address this is to educate the end client. I show them CMYK on plain paper, Photo paper, T-shirts etc. and make sure that they understand the limitations and give them a choice that fits their needs. Most people are not that picky, but once in a while....

We do what we can ,with what we have. These machines can do fantastic things. We just have to sell what they do and figure out how far we can take them.
I think you are correct. However in my situation CafePress printing operations are located in Louisiana somewhere, their main administrative office I think are in San Jose CA and I’m in Portland Oregon. This makes things a little difficult. If I could have just received a color sheet of colors matched to Panton Color Matching System color codes from CafePress; then I think I would have been fine. For me ts just a problem of trying to figure out which colors can be printed and how to get them. At this point I just got a test shirt back and I see that there is a general red shift in all my colors so I’ll reset up my color pallets and cut back on reds and dial up blue to compensate.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Color matching on garments can be real frustration being not ever blank will have the same consistancy, you can get close but color matching is a waste of time. Even on vinyl the color can shift from batch of vinyl to batch, but this color shift is not usually that big of a deal, but garments are not produced to that tight of a standard. JM.02
Thanks for your reply. You make a good point about garments not being the same depending on consistency. And I think I see what you mean about ball parking the color. As long as I can design graphics for colors that work well no matter how they shift I’m ok. So I’m using a black and white rule and going for contrast brightness and sharpness.
 
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