Color Matching: Variable that Effect Color in Screen Printing: Lighting and Perception

In the screen printing industry, color matching is the process where color swatches or samples are used to compare and match colors so that the product is precisely the right quality that the customer wants and needs. Here at ECI, we typically use the Pantone Color Matching System – a booklet of thousands of color chips that we use to standardize each customer’s products and equate them with their unique ink mixing formulas. Color matching takes training, discipline and an understanding of everything that makes color look the way it does. There are many different factors and variables that affect color in screen printing and must be taken into account when designing a new part.

This article is the third part in a series concerning variables that effect color matching.

D65 with UV

D65 with UV

D65 without UV 

D65 without UV 

 Lighting

Color is a property of light and what we see is the result of certain colors being reflected and absorbed by the object itself. Our eyes are picking up the colors that are being reflected off the object. Because of this, colors can appear to match under one source of light while look drastically different under another. This is what is called metamerism, which occurs because there are difference in wavelengths and color absorption in different lighting sources. Sources of light include natural, incandescent, cool white fluorescent, broadband white fluorescent, TL84 and Ultralume 3000lighting. ECI understands that there is a need for standardization in these circumstances and therefore use color viewing booths to assure a level of control so that color matching is as accurate and consistent as possible. These color viewing booths take into account color quality, light intensity, and evenness of illumination.

D65

D65

Incandescent

Incandescent

TL84

TL84

Our Own Eyes

All human eyes are different when it comes to perceiving color. Some people pick up more colors than others and few see less or have color impairments. In combination with all the other properties that effect color as we’ve talked about before, the slightest variations and environments can produce massive differences. The best way to guarantee a quality color match is to hold color tolerances which set a guide as to what is acceptable for the customer. Making sure that conditions are accounted and maintained are crucially important for multiple runs.

 

Standardized conditions assure that color matching is the most accurate, especially between multiple runs of the product. This ensures the best quality products for our customers. At ECI, we help our customers understand the different variables to take into account while we work together to design the best product for their specific needs. We have color matching experts with years of training and experience that have an eye for detail and can assure the best quality in color matching.