What most people don’t know about color standards

The design and development process starts with the selection of a color. The selected color will be representative for the product and communicated into the supply chain.

A numerous commercial color libraries are available on various base materials such as cotton, wool, polyester, paper and plastic chips. Some of the most well-known providers of color standard services are Color Solutions International (CSI), Pantone, Archroma, RAL, NCS and Scotdic.

You can buy the physical color swatches, but most importantly you can often also buy the digital reflectance curve (.qtx-file) of the chosen color and send this to your supplier. However, this is often not enough.

It’s is essential and recognized as a very critical issue to have correct and reliable color standards. You will not have a well-functioning and effective color management system if you don't have feasible color standards.


One might think so. In fact, colors from commercial libraries may NOT be transferable to industrial production. This is true for several of the physical swatches and digital reflectance data purchased from color standard providers.

What does this mean for you?
This means that not all commercial color standards that you buy and send to your supply chain can be matched at your requested materials by the dye house.

This is ONE OF THE MAJOR REASONS why you end up with multiple rounds of lab dips and experience issues with color matching between different materials.

This is what you can do
Because some commercial standards are not feasible in production, a number of brand and retailers companies create their own color standard library. Internally developed libraries have the advantage as they reflect what suppliers can really achieve in practice.

With the help from an expert, you can develop color standards and digital reflectance curves that are possible to achieve in production.

Your end goal is to get the color you and your customers want through an efficient and streamlined process. If the color of your final product doesn’t match the standard, customer satisfaction is compromised and the amount of rework, waste, and costs increases.

Two important things to do to be proactive
1) Check the feasibility of you color standards for all, or at least your most critical and challenging, colors and materials.
2) Specify and communicate your color tolerance limit (a
 color tolerance is a limit to how big difference you accept between your bulk production and your color standard).

Our support team of experts are happy to help you check if you color standards are feasible and to create feasible standards for you. Give yourself and your dye houses a fair chance to achieve the colors you ask for.

Contact support@natific.com and get started today!


your natific team


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