For the first time sign makers can now match a coated pantone number to a solid standard self-adhesive colour vinyl instantly with the online Vinyl Colour Formula Guide, developed by Sloughbased All Print Supplies (APS). The new, free to use swatch is now live on the APS website: www.allprint.co.uk
Sign and display printers with customers whose branding demands colour-matched vinyl can enter the relevant pantone code into the searchable swatch. Their search will then return the product code for the best available vinyl match along with a rating of the quality of the match and a description of the vinyl film, adhesive and outdoor performance. Users can then order the required media or request a sample for closer inspection, which will arrive the next working day, with no minimum quantities involved.
A star system has been used to grade the closeness of the match with three stars indicating an excellent-to-good match, two a good-to-fair match and one a fair-to-poor match but as close as is available in a coloured vinyl. Only around 15% of the Pantone colours have no match in a vinyl.
A physical swatch, anticipated to retail at £40 will also be available in the near future. For customers who want to push their own brand image, these can be supplied with printed covers tailored to their own design.
Once completed, APS anticipates a total of 2,000 man hours will have been racked up on the project, including 1,000 man hours on colour matching with the latest measurement equipment, and a further 1,000 man hours manufacturing the physical swatch.
Kevin Wallace, Managing Director at APS says: "Making this service as accessible as possible by placing it online, and all for free, will help to make our customers' lives so much easier. This has never been done before and until now sign makers trying to match colours for vinyl lettering and displays would need a colour swatch from each manufacturer in every range. That could be up to 30 swatches, which they would then have to go through manually to find the nearest standard vinyl shade to the Pantone number. And, even with a strong understanding of colour, generally the match would be made under ambient lighting conditions which can be very misleading."
To achieve the best matches possible, APS measured every Pantone colour and every available vinyl colour with a high quality, high speed spectrophotometer and then calculated the Delta E colour difference (the distance between the two colours in three dimensional colour space using LAB measurements). This was then used as the basis for the visual matching carried out by two trained colour technicians in a Pantone viewing laboratory under CIE D65 lighting conditions. The result is outstanding colour accuracy and all in a single swatch.
Mr Wallace adds: "To demonstrate the size of the task further, the assembled physical swatch will be around 70mm thick and weigh nearly a kilogramme in total! However, for signmakers working with vinyl, it will save them many, many hours of research when working with colour critical designs. In a market where time is the biggest enemy of profit, we are confident this will provide sign makers with a major competitive advantage and help them to win new business from colour critical clients."
Customers should contact APS South on 01753 696977, APS North on 01709 829800 or for further information.