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do you mix your ink by eye or use a mixing system

  • by eye

    Votes: 1 6.7%
  • by eye using Pantone formula as reference

    Votes: 7 46.7%
  • using a mixing system for accuracy

    Votes: 7 46.7%
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
i'm curious to know how many print shops are actually following the Pantone numbers given with a print job and mixing the ink using the formula and not just by eye.

Dealing with licensed art, color accuracy is very important and can make a big difference with the final print when doing simulated and index prints.
It seems common for print shops to mix by eye using a physical Pantone color chart as reference rather then using a type of mixo system for an exact match. Many of the shops i work with tell me they are matching the color (but they don't mention it's by eye or using a system) and in most cases they are matching by eye and it's only when i explain the issues with the print do they go back and mix the correct color using the system.

I realize it takes time to mix using the system but they end up wasting time by showing me a strike off that won't be approved only to go back and have to remix colors. They look at the pantone swatch in the book, see what they have on the shelf that is close, then adjust the color as needed. Often the tone of the color is off, sure it may look similar but it's still not the right color and when mixing with the other colors (simulated process or index) it changes the results.
I'm wondering if i'm asking too much from my printers.


*if you're not a print shop and would still like to voice your opinion in the poll, feel free, just look at it as if you are the printer not the one contracting them.

Thanks in advance to all that participate and answer honestly in the poll, it's appreciated.
 

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If your printing licensed products you need to find a printer that has the capabilities to match the ink exactly. I print for a licensed wholesaler and he insist the colors are dead on. Close won't cut it.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
If your printing licensed products you need to find a printer that has the capabilities to match the ink exactly. I print for a licensed wholesaler and he insist the colors are dead on. Close won't cut it.
i agree and all our printers are suppose to be using the mixo system that they have, they just don't usually... they tell me they do.. but they most often just mix it by eye because of time constraints. I do understand their situation i just don't agree with it, in my mind they end up wasting more time this way.

Here's an example... print calls for Red 195C, they have Warm Red C all ready mixed so they use that... sure it's "close to it" but it's not the same and effects the print. print calls for CoolrGray 11... they have CoolGray 11 already mixed from another job so they add some white ink to lighten it to match CoolGray 10.

when speaking to the printer about this issue, they explain they don't have time to mix all the colors and that it's costly to mix all these colors for every print job. as a former printer, i understand and sympathize with them but i feel it's an issue.

i estimate it takes about 10min to mix a color, using the system, at the most (is this a good estimate?). so if you have to mix 8 colors for a job (no need to mix for top white, underbase and black) that's over an hour to just get the ink ready. I can see how this is warranted for large volume productions (10,000+) but for runs less then 3,000 they say it's a loss.
 

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I'll bet if you don't pay them because they don't print the correct color they will start mixing the right color. If time is an issue they they feel they are not compensated for it than you need re negotiate prices. There are too many good printers that will do top notch work, for customer to take substandard quality. It sounds like you are doing a good bit of work. Find another printer and see if you can work something out with them, if so, go back to the printer you are working with and give him an ultimatum. For my contract customer we mix PMS colors for free, for orders as small as 144.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I'll bet if you don't pay them because they don't print the correct color they will start mixing the right color. If time is an issue they they feel they are not compensated for it than you need re negotiate prices. There are too many good printers that will do top notch work, for customer to take substandard quality. It sounds like you are doing a good bit of work. Find another printer and see if you can work something out with them, if so, go back to the printer you are working with and give him an ultimatum. For my contract customer we mix PMS colors for free, for orders as small as 144.
thanks for that.
this is how i feel and why i posted this poll. i just felt i maybe being unreasonable if i give the printers this ultimatum. It's not just one printer, this is from at least 6 different print shops that i work with (i often use the print shop i work closely with for my examples). I'm very demanding but i am also reasonable and i wanted to gauge how other shops feel about this sort of situation. unfortunately i have no control over price negotiations altho i am trying my best to inform those that do have a say so they realize how this one issue effects so many other aspects of the business.
 

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My biggest customer does in the neighborhood of one million shirts a year. We print about two thousand a day for him. He has several printers that work for him. He is very demanding, to a point that will drive you up the wall with the things he kicks out. But at the end he has made me a better printer and he is a good steady paying customer. Often the prints we do for him has to match a print that is reproduced often. If the colors aren't dead on he will reject them. Close won't get it. He has one customer that we print a shirt for that has a front and a back print, on a white shirt. It has text on both sides. He will pick the shirt up and look through it to make sure the front and back line up with each other. If it is the slightest bit off from front to back he will reject them. He will look at every shirt this way. So I'm familiar with PICKY.
 
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