Color matching is the most important concept that you’ve never heard of. However, if you’re doing a professional printing job, color matching is incredibly important to understand. 

Thankfully, you’ve come to the right place as we here at Box Genie are experts when it comes to color matching. Here’s what you need to know:

What Is Color Matching?

Color matching involves matching one color to another. We’ve all ordered a product in a certain color online, only to receive it and realize that it’s not what we thought it was. The goal of color matching is to prevent this mishap from happening. 

In the printing industry specifically, color matching involves matching color on the screen to the same color off-screen. This is because screens can be quite deceiving and can easily distort and transform colors if you’re not careful. 

Why Is Color Matching Necessary?

Color matching is necessary because your computer screen uses a different color model than your printer. Your computer uses the RGB color model which combines red, green, and blue to create an image against a black screen. 

However, your printer likely uses the CMYK model which combines cyan, magenta, yellow, and black to create an image on a white piece of paper. While this may not seem like a big difference in many scenarios, when it comes to professional printing for brands, it can have a huge impact.

When Is Color Matching Used?

Color matching is used in the printing industry to ensure that the color that you see on your screen when designing your packaging actually prints onto your boxes in the same way. 

Color matching is also used in the paint and decor industry to make sure that you don’t end up with patchy walls that consist of multiple different colors. 

Color matching is even used in the fashion industry to make sure that the colors of different clothing items match. If you’ve ever had to order a specific color dress or tie for a wedding, then you can understand the value of color matching. 

How to Get the Best Possible Color Match?

Color matching is important, but it’s definitely not easy. However, getting an accurate color match is possible when you follow these seven steps: 

  1. Get the Right Lighting
  2. Use a Good Monitor
  3. Check Your Eyesight
  4. Calibrate Your Screen
  5. Step Away From the Screen
  6. Test Your Work
  7. Work With a Professional

Step 1: Get the Right Lighting

The first step toward achieving the best possible color match is to get the right lighting. Different types of lighting can cause the same color to appear differently, affecting your ability to get an accurate color match. 

To get the best lighting, make sure that there’s no glare on your screen. Also, make sure that you have natural lighting that’s not too bright but not too dark. Finally, make sure that your screen is straight up and down rather than tilted. 

Step 2: Use a Good Monitor

Color matching on a monitor can be challenging as monitors utilize the RGB model with red, green, and blue against a black background. This is vastly different from the CMYK model with cyan, magenta, yellow, and black against a white background. 

You can help close the gap between these models by using a monitor with a high resolution that’s able to reproduce colors accurately. 

Step 3: Check Your Eyesight

When it comes to color matching, your eyes can play tricks on you. Believe it or not, many people see colors differently. Even though you may not be color-blind, you may not see color as well as you think you do. 

For this reason, it’s always a good idea to keep up with your eye exams on an annual basis — even if you have perfect vision! And if you don’t have perfect vision, it’s important to consistently wear your glasses or contacts to prevent eye strain and judge contrast, brightness, and color. 

Step 4: Calibrate Your Screen

The next thing you need to do to ensure the best possible color match is to calibrate your computer screen. There are tools that you can buy to help you do this. These tools work by measuring the ambient light in the room and adjusting the settings of your screen accordingly. 

That way, you don’t have to wonder how your lighting affects your perception of color. 

Step 5: Step Away From the Screen

If you’re trying to color match a specific color to use on your packaging, it might help to step away from the screen and look at the color in real life. The best way to do this is to get a physical version of the Pantone Color Book.

That way, you can see what the color looks like instead of just trusting its portrayal on your screen. This also allows you to test the color in different lighting to ensure that it remains constant and doesn’t pick up any other undertones. 

Step 6: Test Your Work

Even if you think you’ve found the perfect color match, it’s still important to test it out before you move forward with a bulk printing job. If possible, try to print out a single copy of your design to ensure that it’s what you expected. 

That way, you can make any necessary adjustments and avoid potentially wasting tons of ink, materials, and money. 

Step 7: Work With a Professional

To make the entire color matching process easier, you may also want to consider working with a professional printing partner. These companies are experienced with color matching and are familiar with how different colors react based on lighting, materials, ink, etc. 

So instead of stressing about achieving the perfect color match on your own, simply outsource to a professional company that’s better qualified and able to achieve better results. 

How Does Color Matching Work?

The Pantone Matching System or PMS is used to match colors in the printing industry. The PMS consists of 2,161 different colors, each with its unique code. 

But since printing is done mostly using the CMYK method, Pantone has also created a corresponding system consisting of 2,868 colors and their corresponding values to achieve the same color every time. 

How Accurate Is Color Matching?

Color matching can be extremely accurate when done correctly. How do you think that brands can maintain a signature color on different mediums at different times? It’s all done through color matching. 

However, you don’t need to be a nationally-recognized brand to perform accurate color matching and ensure that your branded colors and logos remain consistent. Instead, all you need is the right information and tools to help you match your colors perfectly every time. 

What Factors Affect the Color Matching Process?

While color matching can be incredibly accurate if done correctly, several factors can affect the color matching process: the printing method, packaging material, packaging finish, and lighting. 

  • Factor 1: The Printing Method—There are several different printing methods, and different methods can cause colors to appear differently on the same paper. Take digital printing, for example. Digital printing layers combinations of colors using tiny dots. While these dots may not always be very visible, they’re still there. This highly intricate process can leave a lot of room for variation.
  • Factor 2: The Packaging Material—Several different types of packaging materials can affect the color matching process. For example, kraft paper is made out of recycled material. However, this material isn’t dyed; instead, it’s left in a natural brown color. Since you’re working with a brown base instead of a white base, colors may not look as vibrant on kraft paper as they would on white paper.

    Using kraft paper may also cause changes to certain colors like brown, green, and orange — resulting in colors that may look very different from what you saw on your screen or even on white paper. Finally, you’re generally unable to use white ink on kraft paper as it wouldn’t show up very well. 
  • Factor 3: The Packaging Finish—You can either choose between coated or uncoated in terms of packaging finish. A coated finish results in a shiny look, whereas an uncoated finish results in a more matte look. When you print on an uncoated finish, the ink gets absorbed into the material and may look darker as a result. However, when you print on a coated finish, the ink sits on top of the material and usually looks more vibrant, accurate, and precise. 
  • Factor 4: The Lighting—Finally, the lighting can affect your ability to get an accurate color match. If you’ve ever painted a house, you were probably told to paint swatches on different walls with different lighting and to look at them at multiple points throughout the day.

    Well, the same rule is true for color matching for printers. Other types of lighting can bring out different undertones in certain shades, so for the most accurate color match, make sure that you have the brightest and most natural light possible. 
  • What to Look for in a Professional Printer

    Here are five things to look for in a professional packaging and printing partner: 

    1. Experience
    2. Reputation
    3. Product Offerings
    4. Efficiency
    5. Affordability

    1. Experience

    You need to look for an experienced company that knows the packaging industry and printing process inside and out, for starters. Box Genie has over 45 years of industry experience and has been family-owned for three generations.

    Box Genie’s mission is to pass on all that knowledge and experience to you so that you can take full advantage of custom packaging with high-quality printing. 

    2. Reputation

    You also need to look for a company that has a great reputation. Box Genie has worked with over 2,000 brands to meet their packaging needs, including big brands like Bose, Black & Decker, and Canon. At the same time, we also work with smaller businesses to meet their specific needs and tackle unique challenges.

    But don’t just take our word for it; check out some of our glowing reviews given by our satisfied customers. 

    3. Product Offerings

    Additionally, you need to ensure that your packaging and printing provider has the types of products you’re looking for. For example, Box Genie offers a wide range of packaging solutions, including mailer boxes, one-piece folder boxes, shipping boxes, and triangle document mailers. We also offer custom box inserts and dividers

    Our products come in several sizes, materials, and printing options to choose from. We offer kraft paper with a natural brown color, essential white paper in a low shine finish, and magic white paper in a high gloss finish with advanced printing capabilities. 

    Most of our products also come with two-sided printing if you’re looking to go the extra mile in terms of branded and customized content. 

    4. Efficiency

    To receive your products promptly, you also need to look for an efficient company. Box Genie produces and prints all of our boxes in the United States, translating into faster shipping timelines. 

    We can complete most orders in seven to ten business days. From there, it can take three to four business days for shipping. This means that once you submit your designs, you can receive your completed order in about ten to 14 business days. 

    5. Affordability

    Last but certainly not least, you need to look for an affordable packaging and printing partner. Look for companies that offer volume discounts wherein the more units you order, the lower the price-per-unit. Box Genie specializes in bulk orders and offers volume discounts based on the size of your order. 

    Create Your Packaging With Box Genie

    If you’re looking for a professional printing and packaging provider that meets all these qualifications and then some, look no further than Box Genie! Reach out to our experts today for an accurate color match so that we can start printing your custom packaging products. 



    Sources:

    Color Matching | Techopedia

    How to Colour-Match Your Print Projects | Creative Bloq

    Pantone Color Systems - Introduction | Pantone

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