Here's a color proofing article I wrote on my site. Posting here to share some information. I get a lot of vague reference to color requirements, which can be frustrating when I really need to know the exact color. Here's how I manage color expectations.
Understanding the customers color requirement can be a real challenge. How many times have you heard (or uttered), "Hey, give me 100 pieces of those blue shirt, with green embroidery of my logo", only to find out that the outcome is not what you are expecting? In the first place, when the customer says "blue", what kind of "blue" is he referring to? There are thousands of shades of blue. Which shade? Thankfully there are many tools/methods to get to job right.
If it is mandatory to have the absolute perfect color, please insist to see color charts. Color charts come in many forms.
Fabric Color swatches
Fabric swatches are good when ordering custom colored T-Shirts.
Some custom factories will provide you with fabric swatches to help you get not only a color confirmation, but a texture, pattern and fabric weight confirmation. These swatches are extremely useful especially for color matching and pattern confirmation. We have some for available
Take note that even with this color swatches, expect a 5%-10% variation with the actual outcome. Every batch of fabric that comes out of the factory is different.
Embroidery Thread Color Chart
Embroidery Thread Color Chart is good for getting the color of your embroided logo right.
We have this embroidery color chart for available
. It's a small investment that can save your sorry bottom, knowing that the customer has seen and confirmed the right color.
Note that, cameras & scanning are awful in capturing the correct color. Or Maybe your monitor color calibration is out. So the color threads you see is not perfect.
Pantone Color Chart - Solid Coated & Solid Uncoated
The whole world uses these charts as means of communicating colors. Whether they are off set printers, silkscreen printers, embroiders, fabric dyeing house - they call under stand Pantone. You should too! However they don't come cheap. Here's the store locator
on where to get your Pantone booklets
come in two versions. Check with your printers which version they use - coated or uncoated.
This is also another Pantone booklet, normally used by fabric dyeing house. But its not neccessary. Normal Pantone books will do.
Fabric Lab Dip
Now if the fabric swatches do not have the color you are looking for, you may request for a lab dip. This is where the dyeing house will formulate the color of your choice, but you will have to communicate the right color first. This is achived by specifying a pantone code, or by giving them a sample color on fabric/paper that you expect.
These are two examples on how a lab dip report looks like. It will state the specification of the fabric of which a lab dip has been performed on, and at least two color samples. You are suppose to choose the color sample by signing at the side and returning a copy back to the dyeing house. Take note that there is a significant minimum order you have to commit to get a fabric lab dip. We will do lab dips if you have at least 300pcs order. In any case, check with the manufacturers requirement first.
Once the manufacturer understands what color you expect, they will want to give you a sample. You can gauge a manufacturers commitment to quality from their willingness to provide you with a sample. Some manufacturers will not give you a sample if your quantity is too small. MD Textile will always want to give you a sample, because we are committed to zero rejections and not wanting to spoil your day.
Here's two different samples. The left one is silkscreen, and on the right is an embroidery sample. Check the colors carefully and don't forget to double check the spelling. Foreign manufacturers always get the spelling wrong. Can't blame them them, as most of them can't speak your language.
Finally, get the customer to sign the confirmation form
they are agree with your sample. If there is any changes or dissatisfaction, document it in this form. Don't forget to attach the samples to this form. This form has proved to be a life saver. Sometimes customers will deny that they ever approved the samples. Or manufacturers will claim that the goods is as per sample. This form will help settle arguments and nuclear warfare.