One Print Client’s Approach to Color

Over the last few years my client—who has a large following—has attracted the interest of entrepreneurs in Europe who want to apply her color system to fabric printing (bolts of fabric) and garment printing (the clothes themselves). A great idea. This is very hot now. Perhaps these entrepreneurs will dye the background of the fabric one color and then add either inkjet or dye sublimation printing for the designs on the fabric, depending on the material substrate.

This week my client noted that she and her potential business partners were not sure how to communicate color to manufacturers. Initially, my client had chosen specific PMS colors for her color swatch book pages because of the precision and repeatability of the Pantone Matching System, not to mention that these colors are universally recognized by commercial printing suppliers.

Since her color swatch book system includes 28 distinct versions, many with repeats of various colors, my client had chosen to print her swatch books on an as-needed basis on high-end digital commercial printing equipment (such as the HP Indigo). Because of this my client had converted all of her colors to the nearest CMYK process builds. Percentage combinations of screens of these four colors came close enough (for my client’s needs) to simulating the 100+ specific colors distributed across the 28 separate color swatch books. And this way my client would not incur the huge cost of needing to print via offset lithography—instead of digital printing–using a huge number of PMS inks for a huge number of press runs (and for so few copies of each of the 28 master versions of the color swatch books).