Clothing Labels Manufacturing and Color Matching Part I
If you are an experienced apparel designer, you have inevitably been frustrated with the label color matching process, no matter which type of fabric you have sources for manufacturing. If you are a "newbie", you are probably very confused by your manufacturer's request for clarification when you indicate the colors “blue” or “red”. Matching colors for labels is a very technical art and science.
Oftentimes, fabric label manufacturers employ a technical color library called the Pantone Color System. An analogy is the when you try to match paint colors at the hardware store you are overwhelmed with numbered colors samples, such is the reality with matching colors with woven tags or printed labels for clothing.
For instance, If you contact your label manufacturer and indicate you need red, they will request a Pantone or a RGB color because there are literally dozens of shades of red. Even then, there are technical challenges for exact matching that will be covered in the next section.
If you are sending a scanned sample or a graphics file for your label firm to match, there is another challenge: Subtle digital format alterations.
For instance, what may appear to be blue #j005 on your screen using your graphics program may appear as blue #j010 with your fabric labels supplier's graphics program with perhaps a different screen resolution. The differences aren't large, but if precise color matching is a must, it is imperative to obtain a physical sample of your apparel label before you go to full production. Graphic interfacing technology has not yet caught up with that of the human eye.
However, time can be a big downside to physical sampling. If each physical sample takes 3-7 days to produce, and if the fabric label factory is not domestically located, then you also have extended shipping times. There maybe substantial costs incurred with sampling that may exceed an experimental minimum fabric label order.
If your budget and production is constrained, then it is highly recommended you allow for a small margin of error with respect to color shading. You can always go back with a second fabric label order to make small adjustments as needed. Just have fun and don't sweat the small stuff!