In the past decade, interest in home renovation and decorating has exploded. Today, blogs, magazines, and entire television networks devote themselves to the beautification of homes, showcasing the latest trends while offering helpful hints about how audiences can achieve the look themselves. Indeed, aesthetic beauty is the primary driver of this design boom; according to a Houzz survey, 83% of responders reported that their design projects were undertaken with the goal of “improving the look and feel of a space” while only 54% were looking to increase their home’s value.1 And while for some home design means major renovation, for most it means a focus on the small details that make a house a home.
Retailers know this and have responded by offering more and better home décor items at all price points, effective democratizing good design; in recent years everyone from Target to Ikea have enlisted high end designers to produce affordable and stylish items for the masses while shops like Design Within Reach give consumers easy access to previously hard-to-source items. “Good design used to be something generally reserved for those with money,” writes one home decorating blogger. “Today you can go to Ikea and create a beautiful space without spending an arm and a leg.”2
Christiane Lemieux, founder of DwellStudio, believes that the widespread availability of good design has empowered consumers who, “aspire to a certain level of interior design, but professional help is beyond their reach.” “So they go at it their own way,” she says. “Now they’re the authorities.”3
Color Measurement Challenges
The exponential rise in demand for modern and attractive home décor items has also made the standards of production higher than ever before. For manufacturers, this has meant an increased interest in color management technologies that allow for continuous monitoring of color throughout production. Such technologies allow users to end reliance on inherently subjective visual assessment in favor of objective, instrumental color analysis that goes beyond the limits of human sight.
But while maintaining color consistency between identical products using instrumental color measurement is a fairly straightforward process in most circumstances, the real challenge often lies in maintaining color consistency across a product line that encompasses disparate materials; matching drapery to duvet covers, toothbrush holders to toilet brush handles, bathroom mats to soap dishes. Of particular concern is the accurate measurement of heavily textured items such as terry cloth towels and pile rugs, which present special challenges to color measurement due to the variations of light and shadow that affect how color is perceived.
Creating Color Consistency in Home Decor
Today’s modern spectrophotometers offer an ideal solution for even the most challenging color measurement needs, allowing manufacturers to optimize color consistency in home décor items. The versatile optical geometries of spectrophotometric instruments give you the ability to accurately capture the color of everything from flat, opaque surfaces to transparent glass and plastics with precision and ease. By selecting between RSEX and RSIN modes, you have the option of measuring color alone or color and appearance based on your purposes, facilitating color matching and optimizing visual color consistency.
But not all spectrophotometers are created equal; while many modern spectrophotometers can handle flat samples, textured samples continue to be a real challenge for manufacturers, often requiring labor intensive sample preparation that leaves the door open for operator error and often only marginally improves color measurement accuracy. To overcome these challenges, HunterLab has developed specialized algorithms that compensate for texture variation through integrated height measurement. By accounting for the way height variation affects visual perception, these sophisticated instruments allow for the accurate assessment of all forms of textured items, from plush towels to etched plastics. Additionally, this technology eliminates the need for time-consuming sample preparation and the possibility of human error, thereby increasing efficiency and minimizing costs.
HunterLab has been a pioneer in color measurement for over 60 years. Our commitment to technological excellence and continuous innovation allows us to offer a comprehensive lineup of modern spectrophotometers that help our customers meet the needs of today’s discriminating consumers. With a full array of portable, benchtop, and inline instruments to choose from, you can implement the highest color quality control protocols at every phase of product development and manufacturing. Contact us to learn more about our spectrophotometers, color management software, and world-class customer support services, and let us help you find the right solutions for your color measurement challenges.
- “Home Improvement Projects Are On the Rise in 2013,” April 10, 2013, http://www.forbes.com/sites/houzz/2013/04/10/home-improvement-projects-are-on-the-rise/#1bb4db173b9e ↩
- “Be Thankful For: The Democratization of Decorating,” November 2011, http://orsolykaurban.blogspot.ca/2009/11/be-thankful-for-democratization-of.html ↩
- “Design Well Within Reach,” April 2, 2011, http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/03/weekinreview/03cannell.html?_r=0 ↩
Mr. Philips has spent the last 30 years in product development and management, technical sales, marketing, and business development in several industries. Today, he is the global market development manager for HunterLab, focused on understanding customer needs, providing appropriate solutions and education, and helping to solve customer color challenges across these industries and cultures.