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Design proof color issues.

Discussion in 'General Signmaking Topics' started by Pixels Are Bad Mmmkay?, May 28, 2019.

  1. Pixels Are Bad Mmmkay?

    Pixels Are Bad Mmmkay? Very Active Member

    We've been in business about 8 years now and in that time we've never had problems with customers saying that their finished product didn't match the colors on their design proof...until now.

    Two weeks ago, I sent a proof over to a customer for some business cards with a background that is obviously very purple. However, when they got their cards they weren't happy with the color and said they thought they were going to be a dark navy blue. When I mentioned that the color on the design proof is clearly purple they said it did not look that way on their computer, nor on their cell phone. Rather, they said it looked like a dark navy, which they would have been very happy with.

    Earlier today, the same thing happened. I sent a proof to the customer for some truck lettering that clearly shows a green gradient inside the lettering. However, the customer called me as soon as his sister dropped his truck off with him and said he thought it was going to be black. Purple showing up dark navy I can maybe wrap my head around, but a medium shade of green showing up as black? Come on...really?

    I send all of my proofs as RGB jpegs so I don't see how these images can be that far off. I guess I'm going to have to add a disclaimer to the design proofs from now on that mentions that colors may not appear as they should depending on how you view them and maybe even suggest that they print them off on a home or office printer to get a better idea of the final color, or better yet, come to our shop to view them on our monitor as everything on our monitors prints more or less exactly how it appears on screen.

    Has anyone else had issues like this with customers viewing proofs? If so, how did you deal with it? I've attached the images in question and I'd like to know how they appear on your monitor or phone. Any feedback would be great as this seems like a trend and I'm going to be sure to put a stop to the nonsense before it gets any more out of hand.
     

    Attached Files:

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  2. Texas_Signmaker

    Texas_Signmaker Very Active Signmaker

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    I do call-outs on the design that has a square of the color with the name written on the side..

    I have a disclosure that simply says:

    Please review this proof carefully! Spelling and phone numbers are your responsibility.
    Colors represented in this proof may vary from final product.
    If color accuracy is important, please notify us prior to approving the design.
     
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  3. Pixels Are Bad Mmmkay?

    Pixels Are Bad Mmmkay? Very Active Member

    I guess it's just something I never thought about because we've never had these color problems prior to this and not to mention the colors people claim to be seeing are nowhere even remotely close to what they appear as on the proofs. I mean if the guy said "I thought it was supposed to be a darker green" I might consider running new ones and replacing the previous ones for half price or something but when he says the green looks black on his end, I tend to wonder if he's color blind or if he even really bothered to look that close, or maybe a combination of both. By the way, what did the images look like on your device?
     
  4. Texas_Signmaker

    Texas_Signmaker Very Active Signmaker

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    The business card looks purple and the other one looks grayish blue.

    Everyone has run into this problem before. I didn't add the disclosure until it happened to me.

    I've had purple and blue look different on customer's computers
     
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  5. ColorCrest

    ColorCrest Active Member

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    It appears your monitor is much too bright and their monitors are not at all calibrated. Their displays are probably set to a common default using a high color temperature of more than 6500k and too bright as well. Also, the perception on your proof images changes whether one sees them against a white background or a very dark (black / dark gray) background in various browsers or email.

    It's what I notice on my end when I see your rather small images, anyway.
     
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  6. Zendavor Signs

    Zendavor Signs Member

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    IMO, you can disclaimer this all you want, but you still end up with a disappointed customer. If these are not large jobs, I would suck it up and redo them. 2 jobs over 8 years is a pretty good record. Chalk it up to the cost of fast, efficient proofing. The alternatives, like asking your customers to come in (for every job?!) are painful. On larger jobs, we have done a live proof (that is, printed on the actual material) or shown color swatch books, depending on the type of work. Again, it's a balance of procedures. To much red tape and you're wasting your time.
     
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  7. equippaint

    equippaint Very Active Member

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    Who is selecting the colors? If you're doing the design and selecting the colors you should have a calibrated monitor. You should also know that most people are not after purple and be able to tell the customer what the end product is going to be if it was their supplied file. This could very well be on your end. Like Zendevor said, run off a proof if there's question. Not busting nuts but this was something I learned the hard way when sending things out for offset printing.
     
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  8. GAC05

    GAC05 Major Contributor

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    I don't consider a jpg a proof - its a render or preview. Proofs to me are printed on the material I am going to use - laminated if that is what they are going to get. I tell them to take it outside and look at it in the sun - what you see is what you are going to get. Customer evaluating the color on their gear is a crap shoot.
     
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  9. BKBRO

    BKBRO Premium Subscriber

    Basic physics prevent using electronic devices to proof analog colors accurately. Electronic devices employ "emissive" color -- light projected directly to the viewer's eye. Final products (signs, prints, garments, etc.) are seen by observing "reflected" color -- light bounced off a surface which absorbs some part of the light spectrum. These are apples and oranges. Like RGB and CMYK are apples and oranges. Actual reflective color (CMYK, PMS, other inks, paints, etc.) cannot be viewed on an electronic device. Instead, the device shows an RGB representation of the reflective color. Even with state-of-the art color calibration, you have know control of the client's device. Consider this: go into any superstore selling TVs (like Best Buy). The same channel is usually on all the TVs. Observe the color variance between the displays. These TVs are all brand new. Now imagine your clients viewing color proofs on their random smart phones and computer monitors, all of various ages and conditions.
     
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  10. ColorCrest

    ColorCrest Active Member

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    Therefore the industry shall strive to be as semi-accurate as possible or otherwise just go home.
     
  11. De.signs Nanaimo

    De.signs Nanaimo Member

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    BKBRO summed it up well, and this is something I have quite a bit of experience with. If colour is an issue I always have the client sign off on a physical proof and I charge extra for colour matching from job to job, I tell every client that colour is fluid and fluctuates from job to job. As a small home based shop I use multiple wholesale providers, and even do design work for large print runs overseas, so file prep is where most of my colour management is done.

    I used to do short turn around digital printing and design work in a busy graphic design firm of about 40 designers. Working with these digital printing machines is like herding cats, they print different colours depending on things like temperature, humidity, and sometime even their mood, just like a large format printer! And of course as soon as you get into the blues and purples they are the most difficult to print well.

    I always discuss colour with every client, and I do get quite a bit of eye rolling and sometime they even just ignore me, but I always get it on record in an email that colour was mentioned. This has saved me numerous times as once the clients *** is on the line they will come down and confirm the colour or I run out a colour chart or Pantone book if they are close by or I am out that way.
     
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  12. 2B

    2B Very Active Member

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    We have a Pantone CMYK color fan book and the customer picks from.
    We also have printed color samples in the office, using the same colors on the most common material and showing people what each material can do to the colors.

    when we send out designs for review, ALL emails state

    Color representation will vary from monitor to monitor and printer to printer.

    If colors are critical, a production color sample is highly suggested prior to confirming the full order.

    Production color samples are an additional cost.

    XXXXX is not responsible for inaccuracies of color if you do not request a production color sample.

    Your ship/pick-up/delivery date may be subject to change if you request this service and your shipment method may be upgraded to priority shipping at your expense to meet your in-hand date.

    You understand and agree that PMS colors cannot be exactly matched with all of our products. If a PMS color match is required, you must first verify as being an obtainable option for the desired service/product.


    After the mock-up/ product proof are approved, any errors found will be quickly and willingly corrected, but the correction will be at your expense if production has already started.

    By replying to this email with approval you fully understand and agree with the above, the terms and conditions of XXXXX and approve the artwork, as is, without changes.
     
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  13. d fleming

    d fleming Very Active Member

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    Purple and green here.
     
  14. Pixels Are Bad Mmmkay?

    Pixels Are Bad Mmmkay? Very Active Member

    Thanks for all the replies thus far. I am definitely going to be adding a disclaimer to the design proofs as well as offer a color sample upon request. Color samples are actually something we have always done on jobs that we felt were critical for one reason or another so that's nothing new to us. However, it's never been an option that customers can choose and obviously at this point I think offering that option is going to be an important step in the right direction for us. However, when a local lawn service guy comes to us and wants some simple door lettering and we send a design proof over in full color, I never figured it would come back to bite me in the arse. I guess the way I look at it is if it's a medium green, there's no way it could possibly appear black on another monitor. I mean I've seen some crazy s**t, but I sent this file to my wife, my business partner and a couple of other close friends and looked at the same proof on at least six different displays and they all more or less look very much the same...unmistakably green. Now if he said he thought it would be a darker green or a lighter green I'd be more apt to sympathize, but when he says it looks black on both his computer and phone, something just doesn't seem right. That's the part that has me flustered. I care enough that it bothers me that he's not happy, but at the same time, it's about impossible for me to wrap my head around the fact that what he's viewing could be that far out of whack...let alone on two different devices.
     
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  15. Pixels Are Bad Mmmkay?

    Pixels Are Bad Mmmkay? Very Active Member

    Thanks for the response. I'm sure that's what most people see, at least as far as the green goes, with the possible exception of those who are color blind.
     
  16. Johnny Best

    Johnny Best Very Active Member

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    I am getting green and purple here also, but, I always deal with Pantone colors so outsourcing business cards come out exact.
    If you tell a person a PMS color and they google it they will see the color, hopefully. Google Pantone 260c
     
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  17. Andy_warp

    Andy_warp Member

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    If your customer is picking brand colors from a computer monitor it is flawed from the get go.
    Illustrator is only simulating colors...and not very well (especially dark blues, greens and purples!). We go through this quite frequently...

    I always explain it in layman's terms: An rgb monitor can display 16.7 million colors. CMYK is a fraction of that, and my ink gamut is even smaller than that (about 2-3000 colors)
    Ink on paper will never have the same dynamics as emitted light.

    If they don't have a physical reference, attaining accuracy is like chasing your tail.

    I've had to match paint colors, plastic laminates, cardboard, concrete...you name it! It always comes down to the customer providing me a physical sample of what they are after.
    If they can't do that, I can't match it. "just match my monitor" is a lit fuse!

    Additionally we match from output...not monitors. Our business is quite a bit different from business cards, we run ten foot fabric. When we have to hit a critical color, we assume it will be a 30' long 10' tall fill of it.
    Even then it is hard to tell from a 2 inch swatch what it will really look like at size.

    Our ink gamut is pretty small, so it is key for us to have the Pantone Color Bridge fan deck...it saves my arse regularly!
    We urge our customers to have the same.
     
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  18. Jay Grooms

    Jay Grooms Printing, Printing, Printing......

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    I run two monitors... one is calibrated, one isn't. (don't judge me, I got lazy)
    I show green and purple on both.
     
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  19. AGCharlotte

    AGCharlotte Member

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    I've definitely had issues on vehicle decals where it looks one color inside my shop and a different color outside in the full sun... mainly in grays.
     
  20. equippaint

    equippaint Very Active Member

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    We painted a big 70 ton trailer safety red. Its a factory mixed standard color that we use all of the time. The customer complained that it was orange, not just 1 person, their entire peanut gallery. It made me question my own eyes.
    Its the same red we painted a crane we posted pics of in another post. Sometimes, you just cant win.
     
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