Saturday, January 29, 2011

New Valentine Stamps at Impress!

{Card 1: Peacock Feather stamp, Card 2: Sailboat Combo stamp}

Last weekend I stepped into Impress in University Village, and took some pictures of the cards they made using my new Valentine stamps. It was so fun to chat with the girls working there that morning, and to see the different ideas they came up with using my stamps! It was really fun to see how they translated my sailboat stamp, as that was exactly how I pictured it!

{Card 1: Rose Wallpaper + Happy Valentine's Day stamps, Card 2: Folk Flower + Flourish Border stamps,
Card 3: Flourish Medallion stamp}

What's really fun too, is that Impress is giving you more bang for your buck by creating some stamps to be two in one! For example, with the Sailboat Combo stamp, you get both the sailboat illustration AND the words, which are on the side of the stamp. For the Cross My Heart combo, you get the stitched, crossed argyle stamp AND the words 'cross my heart' on the side. Nice treat, huh?

{Card 1: Flourish Medallion + Happy Valentine's Day stamps,
Card 2: Peacock Feather + Happy Valentine's Day stamps}

{Card 1: Flowery Heart with Swirls + Happy Valentine's Day stamps, Card 2: Cross My Heart combo stamps}

For those of you who create your own valentine cards, treat bags, and the like, you can order a variety of fun stamps and supplies online at Impress! Happy stamping, and Happy Valentine's Day!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Working with Pantone Color Standards - for Fabric

With some new projects that have come my way, and new clients I've been working with, I finally had a huge need to have my own Pantone library so I could communicate color choices across the globe by digital means.

It was one of those moments where I was kinda surprised that I've been doing my own thing for a few years now, and haven't needed to communicate color yet. I've been a professional in the fashion industry for over 10 years, and working with color standards is one of the tools that you just have to have - right up there with having art supplies to create with. So, after doing some online shopping around to find a good price, I finally bit the bullet and purchased a variety of Pantone books that would fit the multiple needs and product categories that I work with.

{Picture of the Pantone Fashion + Home Cotton Selector Books}
I ended up purchasing the Pantone Fashion + Home Cotton Selector for all my fabric/fashion/textile needs because I wanted to be able to remove the colors from the book and place them next to other colors to see how they work together, when choosing colors for my artwork. I would much rather have purchased the Pantone Fasion + Home Cotton Swatch Files books, but that price tag was waaay too high! However, having the ability to work with color chips individually would have been quite dreamy, as this is what I'm used to in my professional environment. I also purchased a variety of Pantone books for paper as well, which include the Solid Chips and the Process Chips.

{Picture of the inside of the Pantone Fashion + Home Cotton Selector Books}

For those of you who aren't familiar with color standards or Pantone, let me give you introduction to what it is, and the importance of working with color standards to communicate color accurately. First off, a 'color standard' is a standard language for accurate color communication, from designer to manufacturer to retailer to customer, across a variety of industries. Since color is seen and interpreted differently by individuals, a color standard allows for us all to communicate the same.

There are two major companies out there who produce color standards for the fashion industry. They are Pantone and Scotdic. Pantone is more globally known and used because they also produce color standards for the graphic design industry, web, plastics, etc., and because of this have become the leader in the industry. For this blog post, I'm just going to focus on Pantone.

When using a color standard, and communicating color to a manufacturer, it is important to use the correct type of color standard for the type of product you are working with because the same color will look different when printed on paper vs printed on fabric, etc. This will also allow for the color you are expecting it to look like, to actually be able to be achieved.

Here are some examples for you regarding working with and choosing the correct Pantone book. Example 1) If you are working with textiles, you would use the Pantone Fashion + Home standards, as the standards are made out of cotton, therefore the colors are achievable on fabric. Example 2) If you are in the graphic design industry, and are printing out a 2 color brochure, you would use the Pantone Solid Chips book, and then choose between the coated and uncoated books, based on the paper your brochure will be printed on. This is because 2 colors are cheaper to print than '4 color process', which uses a mixture of the 4 ink colors 'CMYK' or Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black. Example 3) If you are in the graphic design industry and working on a menu that has full color photo's of the entree's as well as multiple colored graphics, then you would use the Pantone CMYK coated or uncoated books for process color, so you could achieve multiple colors using 4 color process printing.

Also, within digital programs such as Adobe Illustrator & Photoshop, you can open up digital Pantone libraries and work with colors that way, so that the colors used in your document are able to be used as a communication tool to your manufacturer. This is how the graphic design industry works. It's a bit different in the fashion industry, and I won't go into that now, however Pantone did come out with a digital color library for Fashion + Home colors, which I did purchase but haven't used yet. I'm curious to explore this further and see how widely this becomes used in the fashion industry in the future.

Ok, are you still with me? Hopefully this is helpful and not too much information that is causing your head to spin!

I also wanted to chat about workflow from design to production, when working with color standards, and when working directly with a manufacturer. Let's say that you design a pattern that is going to be printed on fabric. You pull out your Pantone Fashion + Home color standard book, and begin choosing the colors you want to be used by the manufacturer in your design. You communicate to your manufacturer that the light pink in the artwork is to be Pantone 14-1419 TCX. (Always include the latter part of the number 'TCX' to make sure you and the manuf. are using the same version of Pantone books!).

If the manufacturer doesn't have the Pantone TCX standards on their end, and they only have TC (older version of Pantone colors, before TCX came out), then you have two choices. Communicate colors to them in the TC version, or purchase individual Pantone TCX standards or 'SMART color swatch cards' for each color you want to use in your print and send them to the manufacturer for them to use. If you do this, be sure to cut them in half first - one half for you to keep and the other half you send to your manufacturer, so you have a record of the color.

On a side note - another avenue to all of this is the light source or 'color evaluation tool' - you want to be sure that the light source you are reviewing color in is the same light source that your manufacturer is reviewing color in. This way your communication is very accurate. If you are looking at color under a very yellow bulb from your desk task lamp, and they are looking at color under a fluorescent light source, then the color will look very different, and you will not be communicating about color the same.

Next, the manufacturer will begin creating a strike-off, which is your artwork printed on fabric, and will send off for you to review. When you receive this, you pull out your individual Pantone standards, and compare them to the strike-off under the agreed upon light source, and make your color comments. If the color is off, then you make your color comments to your manufacturer on what they need to do to correct the color. For example, 'reduce red'. Once all of your colors have been commented on, your manufacturer will then make those color adjustments and send you another strike-off. Each strike-off is usually a 2-3 week turn-around. So, if colors aren't coming out as accurate as you would like, and your deadline for production is fast approaching, you will need to either accept a strike-off for what it is or drop it from your line if you think the coloring will not sell.

Once all your colors have been approved, your manufacturer will then begin printing 'bulk' or production yardage of your artwork!

If you are working with a fabric company, many times they are handling this workflow internally. Sometimes you can opt in to be a part of the approval process, in which some of this would fall onto your plate. If that is the case, then it's very important to be sure to be on top of communicating on the strike-offs ASAP so you can be sure to be a part of hitting the production timelines. It's also important to remember that getting 100% color accuracy is nearly impossible. Color standards do indeed make accuracy and communication not only possible and achievable, but there are so many factors that come into play about why a color is not able to always be achieved.

That's one case when you need to throw off your designer diva hat and throw on your business hat, partner with your fabric company/manufacturer to make the best decisions together to ensure that the product is sell-able. Remember, you are one of the only people who have seen the original artwork & color intention, and will need to look at the fabric from another angle and ask yourself "Is it still sell-able?", "Does it still look good?", "Does it still set with the other prints in the line?". If so, then you have achieved success, not perfection, but success, and that's the best we can hope for!

Ok, this was a loooong post! I know many of you come from a variety of backgrounds and have your hands in all different types of pots, so I'm not sure if this information is interesting or helpful at all, but I thought I would try to bring you some of my professional background and experience and help give you some info, for those of you who this is relevant to. Hope this helps! If you have any questions, let me know, and I will try to answer.

Of course, with all of the above, there are so many other pieces of information that I didn't go into, including monitor & printer calibration, because that would make this post never-ending, and much more of a 'class', which I opted out of : )


Related Posts with Thumbnails