What about printing and matching colours


Printing creates colors by mixing inks which absorb light. Mix the four CMYK process inks (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and blacK), and you get black. No ink gives you white (i.e., the color of the paper)—so if select white, no ink must be used! CMYK is a subtractive model: the more ink applied, the less light reflected, hence the darker the color.

A computer screen produces an image by mixing light using the three primary colors—Red, Green and Blue—hence, RGB. RGB is an additive model. Mix all three colors together and you get white light. Turn all the elements off and you get black. Different brightnesses of each element give the typical computer monitor a range or gamut of colors much greater than can be printed with CMYK inks.

The fundamental difference between the CMYK and RGB color models, and the limited gamut of the printed page compared to the computer screen, create the color matching problem: the challenge of getting the printed output to match what one see in the on-screen publication layout. By calibrating the equipment and using great care, it is possible to achieve a close approximation. Never simply assume the colors on the screen will turn out exactly the same when printed. It's just very difficult to convert accurately between the two models!

Paper color may affect the hue of the spot color as will laminating and the type of lighting under which you are evaluating the color, as well as the amount of optical brightening agents in the paper customer selected to use for their packaging vs the paper on the PMS swatches that were printed on.

The Optical Brightening Agents are used to make paper appear brighter white than they normally would. This OBAs can be a possible cause of variation on colour match. These agents fluoresce under UV light. UV light exists in normal daylight and fluorescent (office) lights. If the paper used by Pantone and the paper use by the manufacturer have different amounts of OBAs then that will affect how the ink color appears under different lighting conditions.


The Complication

When designing for print, a common issue that has to be dealt with is the difference between the color on the computer display and on paper. Even if the monitor is calibrated correctly the match them as best as possible, customer will not be, and so a third “version” of the color comes into play. If manufacturer then print proofs for the customer on any printer other than the one that will be used for the final job (which is often the case), more colors join the mix that won’t match the final piece.

Every manufacturer (monitors and printers) will have their setting for what they feel is optimal. It has been recognised that printing on different substrates will also produce different results. Uncoated stock will produce more muted colours than coated stock etc etc. So no matter what graphics program you are using, digital colour laser and inkjet prints, spot or even your computer monitor can never truly represent 'litho' inks printed on paper. This uncertainty as to how colours will appear when printed is not a new problem.

When it comes to color reproduction, printing devices and computer screens are on totally different "wavelengths."

Color matching is, and always will be, a complicated and subjective process. The output of the ink colorants combination will expect a certain degree of variance according to your printer, paper and monitor and certain tolerance is to be contemplate and take into account.

When printing for mass production, the colour may not be the exact match to the proof, due to choice of paper stock and printer variations.

In spite of these above, anyone can guarantee that the color print today remain the same in few months later?


Golden Choice could only provide basic packaging information and shown some of the works of our factory. Customers should seek professional advice from Packaging designers to control risks, especially if they are working on new packaging design with specific vision in mind. Packaging designers are the design professionals that understand how to connect form and structure, materials, color, imagery, typography and ancillary design elements with product information to create a marketable design for a consumer product.

(Please take into consideration the above collective information).