by Tim Mouw, Applications Engineering & Technical Support Manager, X-Rite Pantone
Lighting plays a huge role in how you perceive color, making a light booth a crucial part of any flexographic visual evaluation program. It can help you verify whether the color of your product is acceptable, plus ensure colors will remain accurate in every lighting condition at point of sale and after purchase.
Visual evaluation is especially important for packaging applications, which require consistent color across different substrates, inks and printing processes. You can spend hours getting brand colors right, but if packaging doesn’t match on the store shelf, the product will be seen as inadequate.
Always view your prints under lighting conditions that conform to ISO standards. In addition to D50 (daylight), you may need to view production samples under other lights that simulate store or household lighting to assure that different parts of the package, such as the label and the box, will continue to match on display shelves or in the consumer’s home.
X-Rite’s Spectralight QC is a holistic visual color assessment system with state-of-the-art light sources capable of meeting practically any brand owner specification.
However, just using a light booth isn’t enough. Today we’ll share a few common pitfalls our customers encounter when visually evaluating color.
- Light booths are painted Munsell gray, a neutral shade that does not distract your eyes from the colors you are evaluating. It’s important to keep everything else around you neutral, too. Wearing brightly colored clothes or storing objects in your light booth will distract your vision.
- Make sure your light booth is the only source of light in the room. If you set it up it in the print shop under bright fluorescent lighting, or place it near a window with sunlight pouring through, these light sources will interact with the standard source you have selected in your booth and skew your results.
- Do you wear glasses or contacts? Make sure the lenses aren’t tinted, because even a little color can make a difference when you’re judging slight variations in color.
- When looking for color difference between two samples, they should be touching. Leaving even a little blank space between them can trick your eye into missing a slight shift in color.
With five light sources, X-Rite’s Judge QC will help you evaluate standard to samples and batch-to-batch color variation.
- Staring at a color for longer than a few seconds doesn’t improve your decision-making ability. In fact, our delicate eyes require frequent rest during critical color evaluation. Once they start to get tired, they’ll send incorrect information to your brain, so only look at a sample for a few seconds, then close your eyes and let them rest before looking again.
Want to learn more? Check out The Science Behind Visual Evaluation on X-Rite’s blog for a more technical explanation for making your visual evaluation program the best it can be.
About the Author:
Tim Mouw is the manager of the Applications Engineering and Technical Support Team for X-Rite in the Americas. In his role, Tim oversees a team of 20 technical support specialists that help customers improve color quality control processes. Over the past two decades, Tim has tough over 300 courses on color science across North & South America, Europe, Asia, and Australia.
Source: FlexoGlobal Blog