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Recollected Patterns – Coordinating Prints

September 3, 2012

I’ve set myself a little challenge, to coordinate my colour palettes with three different suppliers across three different mediums: textiles, wallpaper and giclée prints for my upcoming exhibition Recollected Patterns: The botany of Walter Hill. And it’s more difficult than you think…

Firstly, the white substrates I am digitally printing on each have their own white light values, hues, levels of colour absorption and reflection, transparency and density, fibre lengths and material composition. This means that even if I were to print them all using the same printer and inks, there would still be variation in the printed colours due to their different substrates.

Secondly, each printer is using inks suitable for specific purposes. The inks for the textiles need to be light fast (resist fading when exposed to light) and colour fast (resist fading when washed). The inks for the wallpaper must also be colour fast and are covered with a matt varnish to allow wipe-ability (minor stain removal), which slightly changes the colour originally printed. The inks for the giclée prints are long lasting pigment inks which have a high UV rating, meaning they should also protect the prints from discolouring and fading. Given each of these inks have their own specific material composition they will, of course, print differently.

Finally, even though I like to work with Pantone colour references, each of these mediums will display the Pantone colours differently due to their substrates and ink compositions. For instance, to try and get ‘Rubine Red’ looking consistent across the textiles, wallpaper and giclée prints, I may have to alter the RGB (red, green, yellow) values. This is why printing multiple swatch samples can save a lot of time and money!

So, why have I decided to colour match this body of work? Mostly because I would like to use a specific colour palette. But also because the entire exhibition will be able to be taken in from one viewpoint and I think consistency will aid a balanced reading of all the works on show. Oh, and if you decide you’d like to create a feature wall in your home with the wallpaper, you know you can also add a coordinating giclée print and it will work perfectly!


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