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4 Tips To Drive Absolute Color (the “Other” Universal Language)

Technology | June 23, 2014

4 Tips To Drive Absolute Color (the “Other” Universal Language)

It’s often said that there are two universal languages – Mathematics and Music.

Regardless of our native tongue – be it Arabic, Bengali, Chinese or English – all educated people know the shared language of numbers. We can all stand in a queue at 7-Eleven and calculate how much the Mars bar or Coke in our hand will add up to, whether it’s in dollars, rupees or euro’s.

In the same way music offers a common set of symbols that are recognized the world over. Put a few pages of Beethoven’s 5th in front of a violinist from Moscow and a cellist from Rome and they’ll know exactly what to play.

Today, because of the advances in technology, a third universal language has evolved – Color!

Color defines your brand. And for any brand seeking to thrive in today’s competitive marketplace, driving absolute color through print quality management is critical.

Here are 4 tips for nurturing your brand and protecting its visual equities with absolutely consistent color, worldwide, from Paul Haggett, Business Development Manager, Schawk.

1. Understand that all human beings perceive color differently, with factors like age and gender being just two of the many variables. Your brand is too valuable to leave color management to disconnected individuals working for unrelated print vendors. To achieve the most consistent outcomes, do what you do in so many other areas of life – use science & technology!

2. Establish a defined and measureable color target for your critical brand colors, and do it using the substrates / materials on which your packaging goes to market. Ideally, a color target is physical sample, or swatch of the target color, which also displays the measurable, numeric values of that color (L.a.b. Values), as measured by an industry standard device known as a spectrophotometer. All materials reflect light differently, and to have a single, un-defined color target for all packaged items (Bags, cartons, labels, etc.) will only set you up to fail.

3. Work closely with both your print vendors, and your brand protection agency / pre-media provider to establish realistic tolerances for color variation. All complex production environments need a tolerance for a certain level of variation, and printing is no different. There will be color shift throughout a run, but work with experts in printing and color management to ensure those tolerances are tight, and push for continuous improvement.

4. Modern printing and color reproduction should be seen as a science, not a “black art”. The variables are many, but they are measureable and controllable. Schawk’s ColorDrive is the only global supply chain focused tool designed specifically for brands to track, measure and report on the consistent reproduction of defined brand standards, any where, any time. Drive brand efficiency. Drive brand consistency. Drive brand value.

For more tactics on how to drive absolute color, download Schawk’s ColorDrive brochure.