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Interesting dilemma

Discussion in 'Digital Printing' started by gabagoo, Dec 19, 2019.

  1. gabagoo

    gabagoo Major Contributor

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    One of my largest customers who I do work for on a regular basis for their clients sent me an order for 15 retractable banner stands along with a pdf file of the artwork. I set the file up and made a proof to be sent back and it was approved.
    After the order was sent out I received a call from my client, and their client said the blue we printed was too dark. I then asked what blue was it supposed to be and they said pantone 289. I looked it up and it is indeed a very dark blue bordering on black. I told them that I had done it correctly based on the file and the file did have it as a 289 as well.. I will say this... the pdf file they sent when opened did have a much lighter blue for this one element and it was a placed image of a credit card along other graphics and copy. Even the proof I sent back had that lighter blue colour even after it being set up in Flexi in the dark vesrion and resent out as newer pdf file. I completed this job back at the end of October.
    Yesterday the banners all show up back here with no phone call or anything from my client.
    I called them and spoke to my connection there and the same issue... the blue is too dark. I even went online and google searched this credit card and it is a very dark blue like what I had printed.
    I now have taken a picture with the pantone swatch next to the credit card on the banner to send back to my client who can send it to theirs.
    I don't really know what to do at this point.
    It really is an issue with some pdf files that the colour info is correct but views different on the screen...I suppose if they had printed it out on a colour printer it would have printed the darker blue.

    I have posted a pic of the screen capture of the pdf blue alongside of the real colour
     

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  2. Gino

    Gino Premium Subscriber

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    Not an interesting dilemma, but an ongoing-recurring dilemma. Their screen simply does not match yours, let alone your printer. On my screen, your example looks pure black and the one above it looks like 289. Same thing. This is a touchy subject. Didn't you notice the color looked a little too dark after the first one printed ?? If that's off, how many other things are off ??
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
  3. bannertime

    bannertime Very Active Member

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    No
    This is a hard thing to explain, and I've never been able to do it without pissing the customer off. Hopefully they'll realize that you printed it according to the pantone guide and not based on how it appeared on screen. For whatever it's worth, I think you printed the job correctly. Good luck.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  4. Texas_Signmaker

    Texas_Signmaker Very Active Signmaker

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    When a customer give me a hint that color needs to be important to them, I require them to approve a small sample print before rolling on with the whole job... no matter what their timeline. Even if they pick PMS colors off my chart in the field, I still print a sample so they see how they look togeather.

    And yes... PDF files can REALLY look different from PC to PC. On my laptop screen I saw purple, and on that SAME file that I e-mailed back to the client while on the phone with them, they took a pic with their phone and texted it back to me showing blue.
     
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2019
    • Agree Agree x 4
  5. gabagoo

    gabagoo Major Contributor

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    The colour I printed is actually the pantone colour...The client is most likely using the screen colour as what they think a 289 looks like...It does not. I mean even a google search of that credit card matched the darker blue we printed.
     
  6. Gino

    Gino Premium Subscriber

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    Exactly, but what you just said it gonna tick someone off on the other end.

    To someone who does not know color, PMS charts or much of anything about the printing world, if they pick a number and dial it in, that's the color they want, pretty much like tex mentioned. However, with them not knowing the ins & outs of our field, that color still looks like what they want on their monitor after you send it back. You need to send a hard copy for a proof, in this case. They don't understand how things change from computer to computer from business to business to whatever. For them, it doesn't sound like too much trouble for you to zero in on it. However, your real dilemma is....... whose gonna pay for those banners they don't want ??
     
    • Like Like x 1
  7. eahicks

    eahicks Magna Cum Laude - School of Hard Knocks

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    It's not that hard to explain. If this comes up, I tell them we spent money and lots of time calibrating our monitors and printers for colors to be as accurate as possible. If you specify a PMS color, we will hit it 99% of the time. We can not match to what your out-of-the-box laptop screen displays. And they are always more than welcome to check out our Pantone book against the final product.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  8. particleman

    particleman Member

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    I deal with this literally weekly in the niche I work in. Physical sample/proof is the only solution that people can understand consistently I've found. Most of my customers don't know why you use Pantone colors or what it means. You really need a proof/color/return policy in writing on your website and provided to customers on their first purchase or even on every order. In this scenario if the customer wants to file a charge back (assuming they paid via CC) you will likely not win. It looks to me what you produced was correct, but now you'll have to decide if the impeding fight with the customer is worth it.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  9. gabagoo

    gabagoo Major Contributor

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    I would say you are generally correct except in this case it is a big bank and the colour is the colour...a little due diligence on their end and they would realize that what they got was correct, even according to their own branding specs...but I am a supplier to a supplier and can't get my hands around this persons throat to make them understand
     
  10. bannertime

    bannertime Very Active Member

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    eahickseahicks I get that, as do a majority of people here. Issue is "it doesn't look like it did on my screen." We got a job to do fleet graphics for a municipal agency. They provided us with original print samples and some brand guidelines that were created in the late 90s. Had Pantone colors and such. When we produced the first samples according to the guidelines, they were upset that it didn't match the samples they gave us. When we explained that the samples were wrong according to their guidelines, they replied that it should be like the provided samples anyway. Luckily this was before production and we got signatures on approved samples.

    I've told another story about the color blind guy that wanted me to match a faded vehicle graphic on another truck, but he wouldn't let me see the other truck, etc.

    It's very likely that I've explained this to customers before and it wasn't a problem, but anytime a customer pushes back like Gagaboo's is, it's already too late.
     
  11. JBurton

    JBurton Signtologist

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    I think you are going to have to push hard to your customer, the reseller not the end user that is, that you met his provided standards. I'd offer (in the future) to produce a production run sample, and let them send it out for approval. I've been burned on a run of prints that were the wrong color before, so everybody gets a miniature sample of their sign, and I get one too, with a sharpie signature on it.
    I think at this point it is your customers problem, and he needs to educate his customer, or he needs to just carry a pms book to them and let them decide.
    If it was a direct customer, I'd just take a 'colorcue' over to their office and hit their printed sample, show them the pms color that the device has found, then explain that they are wanting me to change the bank's brand guidelines from one color to the other, and that I will have to confirm this change with the marketing department.
     
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  12. ColorCrest

    ColorCrest Active Member

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    Important, without a doubt.

    Maybe do yourself a favor and print any evaluation files provided by your printer mfr or RIP mfr right now to see if your machine and process is control as far as your standard is concerned. Those files are the ones you can print and judge using your own vision without using any expensive instruments.

    Check that your prints are not too light or too dark, flesh tones look good, and grays are neutral. Since you have a Pantone swatch book you can check grays against Pantone cool grays swatches as a target.

    If they look good you'll feel better than you might already. If you see the print process could use improvement, you can work on that aspect and put the dilemma behind you and count the time and materials as just an educational expense.

    Win, win. It could have been 150 retractables.

    [Edited to correct the typo and meaning to say "without a doubt."
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2019
  13. 2B

    2B Very Active Member

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    Seen and experienced this too many times

    Now ALL of our proofs are tagged and must be signed.
    upload_2019-12-19_18-39-23.png
     
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    • Agree Agree x 1
  14. Krissy Louderback

    Krissy Louderback Member

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    They specifically told you 289 and you got pretty damn close. Have you showed them this pic that you posted for us? If so, how did they respond?
    If I were you, to keep the client happy, I would reprint the banners, although I wouldn't be happy about it. But you said they are a big customer and give you work on a regular basis. It doesn't cost much to print banners and it wouldn't be worth it to me to lose a valuable customer. And from here on out I would make them approve a printed sample before every job. It's almost impossible to explain to someone how color varies from monitor to monitor, printer to printer, and how the same color will print differently on each type of media. The struggle is real.
     
  15. bowtievega

    bowtievega Member

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    We do the same thing. All print jobs have a caveat that we will try our best to color match but we have no guarantee of exact matches. If it is critical for the customer we provide printed samples for them to choose from and sign off on. Or they can upgrade the product to paint if possible. We tell our office and sales people that if the customer did not specifically sign off on the part of the job they are complaining about we are on the hook for it.
     
  16. On this first occasion we would suggest to the customer that we would split the cost of redoing the banners with them. The reason I say suggest, is because if they pushed back at all we would probably just redo them on our cost, but making sure they know we are doing them a favor by doing that. You don't want to lose one of your biggest customers over a few hundred bucks worth of banner.
    We would then make sure they understand how pantone colors work and why they're important in the printing world.
    After that we would make them sign off on color for all future jobs, unless they wanted to have samples made on their dime (depending on the size of the job).

    All that being said, we have taken a hard stance on customer supplied artwork a few times before. If they don't specify color values and If they don't want to pay for us to do artwork and setup, then any color issues are on them. It really depends on who the customer is and how much work they bring your way.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  17. Here’s my opinion, you stated at the beginning that you do work with this customer frequently. So it really doesn’t matter who is right or who was wrong. Chalk it up to experience, plan you’re correct of measures for the future and re-print the job and send it out to your customer.You can’t win this argument but here’s an opportunity to make this customer a loyal and evangelistic super customer.
     
  18. gabagoo

    gabagoo Major Contributor

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    I have been doing work for this particular customer for over 10 years... I do plenty of custom banner stands as well. Never issues...but this is a different dept.

    The only way I am reprinting this job is if they actually tell me what colour they actually want

    I know that my client realizes we did nothing wrong so I am going to hit them up to strip out and reload if indeed they want to change the colour of that one element.
    WEll honstly there is no argument yet. My client had the stands shipped back to me, but from 1 conversation I had, they are willing to eat the cost to reprint, although at this point I have no idea just what colour they want for this

    Well,honestly there is no argument yet. My client had the stands shipped back to me, but from 1 conversation I had, they are willing to eat the cost to reprint, although at this point I have no idea just what colour they want for this bitmap image that their customer supplied to them. Their customer says a 289, that is what we printed, so I am not sure what 289 they are looking at although if you use a bridge chart that particular pantone prints a much lighter colour and why a bridge charts exist is beyond me as just about every colour is wrong and better choices can be made manually.
     
    • Pure Genius! Pure Genius! x 1
  19. FatCat

    FatCat Very Active Member

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    Just to throw my .02¢ in the mix...I came from 14 years in the offset printing world before I went to wide format and signs.

    PANTONE colors books represent colors of finished "mixed ink" which has a recipe on how to mix it - similar to how Sherwin Williams mixes paint to an exact color. That mixed ink or SPOT COLOR is then loaded into a press and what you see is what you get. The reason a PANTONE BRIDGE book exists, is that there is a distinct difference of printing PANTONE colors in CMYK vs. mixing the correct PANTONE color due to the color gamut limitations of CMYK. The one chip shows the SPOT COLOR if you mixed the ink to produce that PANTONE color, the other shows how that color prints using CMYK or PROCESS COLOR printing.

    If you have color sensitive customers, it is best to supply a printed sample for them to sign off. Yes, can be inconvenient, but will save your bacon on a big job where you have to eat it due to the color being wrong.

    Additionally, "soft proofs" are proofs approved by looking at a screen - best for non-critical color work. As has been said, color varies from computer to computer, and screen to screen. When color is critical "hard proofs" or printed proofs are the only way to go.
     
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  20. ikarasu

    ikarasu Very Active Member

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    When was your pantone book last switched out?

    You're "Supposed" to switch them out every year. Odds of them fading that quickly are slim, unless you keep them outdoors...we usually buy a new one every year and compare our most used colors, and swap the old ones out after a few years.

    Not that your colors are wrong, your blue does look quite a bit darker/blacker than what the pantone looks like... but that could just be your camera/monitor.


    Funnily enough, one of our major clients uses 289C Also... We see certain graphics of theirs from different departments/sign shops come out as purple, or black all the time. 289 is an annoying color to hit properly. Again, I'm not saying your color is wrong, its impossible to tell from camera phones and home monitors.

    As for what to do - I take it RBC isn't your client, and someone else is outsourcing to you? Is it your clients fault... or their clients fault? If it was their clients fault, and your client isnt trying to point the finger at you... I'd offer to re-print at cost, or a huge discount just to help your client out. Let him know that you printed per the pantone so you're not at blame, but you want to get their client off of their back..so you'll reprint, just have them pick a pantone from a book and not a monitor this time.

    It'll make your client happy...you lose nothing, and itll show when theyre in a bind, you're willing to step up to save them.

    now if he's demanding you do it for free, or trying to push the blame on you...then you tell him to pound sand, unless you dont want to risk losing him.
     
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