• Luke Stuart

Colour Matching, Sure we can!

When it comes to signage and colour with a good colour management system in place and good communication, excellent results can be achieved.

The two most common outputs for signage that require colour matching are computer cut vinyl, and digital print. Depending on the job itself, the most practical output is usually decided on and the colour matching then begins!

Where possible it is important to maintain brandspecs for a company logo, this way any media or output can be matched to a common source. This will give brand consistency and ensure the end product is to the customers satisfaction.

Brandspecs are a vital part of any company's intellectual property.

The best colour specification is the Pantone Color Matching System. Pantone is largely a standardized color reproduction system. By standardizing the colors, different manufacturers in different locations can all refer to the Pantone system to make sure colors match without direct contact with one another. At the design stage any company should have set Pantone colours specified by their designer. This will ensure all future production is standardized.

When we have been provided a colour matching specification whether it is a Pantone colour, existing signage or media such as business card or flyer, we can start the colour matching process. If no colour or brandspecs can be supplied we will usually recommend a test-print or having a customer hand pick a colour from our library.


Computer cut vinyl / Pre-coloured vinyl

One common output for signage manufacturing is computer cut or pre-coloured vinyl. This comes in a wide variety of brands, colours, and grades such as cast vehicle grade, calendered intermediate grade or promotional grade vinyls.

A selective number of colours are available and in most circumstances a reasonable colour match can be achieved.

If the output of computercut vinyl is not practical or a colour match can not be achieved then the second option is digitally printed vinyl.


Digitally printed adhesive vinyl

With our in-house HP Latex printer we can print onto adhesive vinyl and also other suitable medias such as banner film, synthetic paper, wallpaper film etc.

We have a custom developed colour matching system and with a wide range of colours available and consistent accurate colour profiling we can achieve a good colour match.

Physical matching of a Pantone colour or other media ensures the results are consistent and up to a high standard.


Colour gamut limitations

There are some limitations to the colours that can be produced on a large format CMYK printer.

You will see below an image demonstrating the colour gamut available.

The circle of colour indicates all the visible colours seen by the naked eye.

The area inside the yellow line are the colours we see on-screen such as a phone, laptop, tablet or computer monitor. And finally you will see the colours available to print on a CMYK printer inside the blue line.

'source - https://myworldofcolour.wordpress.com/tag/color-gamut/'

With these limitations in mind, colour matching first and foremost is about good communication and reasonable expectation. Excellent quality and results can easily be achieved and for the purpose of most signage to inform, advertise or direct. A close colour match will add to the effect and the quality of the final product.


Colour matching tips and adivce

  • Take the on-screen colour provided in design proofs/mockups as indicative only

  • Always ask for a test print if you are unsure

  • Ask to hand pick computer cut or pre-coloured vinyl

  • Some colours are easier to match than others - notoriously tricky colours such as orange or grey

  • Always maintain brandspecs. for a company logo or artwork

  • Insist on Pantone colours at the design stage

  • A set vinyl colour, rgb and cmyk colour specification is also advisable at the design stage

  • Communication is key