When we show or send a client a draft logo, brand, advertisement, or law firm website design, we occasionally hear “I don’t like that particular shade of blue” (or red or whatever). This can be from a lawyer who previously saw and approved that precise color.
The challenge is that they are now looking at it on a different computer or monitor at home, on their smart phone or iPad, or other device that was calibrated differently than the original. Or they are seeing it blown up to washed-out wall-sized proportions on a low-lumens LCD projector.
For those outside the design or marketing industry, it can be a challenge to understand that the color they see on their computer monitor is not necessarily the actual color we will use. It’s just outside of their experience or frame of reference.
Obviously, every monitor is different.
And there are a wide range of variables that can affect how they perceive the color we’ve selected. The size of the monitor can affect the color, the brightness of the room, the color of the paint on the wall it’s being projected on, or most typically, the particular settings of that monitor. So here’s how I help them understand the concept–
I was at Walmart recently, and took some photos of their flat-screen TV display. All the televisions on an enormous wall were set to the same internal promotional channel. The TVs were the same approximate size, and the lighting conditions were similar. But look at the photo below and how differently the televisions displayed the same colors.
Compare the colors on the four TVs in the photo below:
Or contrast the range of greens in the price tags:
Clearly, the same image or shades of color can look very different on different screens.
They are all playing the same show at the same time, but we can see wide variations, simply depending upon how the individual sets are calibrated. Marketing committees must address this same issue. This is why in the final approvals we often show industry-standard color chips. They are what the printers or engravers will precisely match on a business card or stationery.
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