3 Ways to Choose Your Ink Color

If you’re an apparel decorator, you’ve learned over the years that choosing the correct colors matter when creating a sellable item. Working with different customers will teach you that not everyone sees colors the same way. A customer may ask for blue, but as any decorator knows, there’s a whole spectrum of blue shades to choose from. Are they looking for Powder Blue, or Navy Blue? Communicating these color options to you customer is challenging. So here are some tools to help you and your customer choose the correct ink color that you are imagining for your apparel.

The most common way to choose colors is an coloring system that is used internationally called Pantone®. Pantone® was created to be a universal language for communicating colors. Colors in the Pantone® book are assigned a number, a PMS number which stands for Pantone Matching System®. At Transfer Express, we use Solid Coated PMS numbers to specifically match plastisol inks for custom transfers just like if you were to go into a paint store and have a paint bucket mixed with your chosen color swatch. This is a great way to communicate with customers and with your suppliers with the exact colors you need printed.

Even though stock color options are available from Transfer Express for your screen printed transfers, we can also custom Color Match to your chosen PMS number. If your customer’s business has a specific color in their logo printed that we do not offer as a stock option, just provide us with the coated PMS number for a Color Match (fee of $30/per color per order).

Pantone® Color Chart

As mentioned above, Transfer Express offers over 70 stock plastisol ink colors for no additional fee when ordering your screen printed transfers. These ink colors can be found on our website with their corresponding PMS numbers. So if you have a Pantone® color chart, you can visually see your color options. To make choosing one of our stock ink color choices easily, we have a printed Color Selector available of all of our stock ink color choices, from our flat colors that have matching PMS numbers, to our more specialized colors like Neons, Metallics and Glitters that do not have a PMS color to easily match with.

Our Color Selectors are printed at Transfer Express using the exact plastisol ink that is used in printing your heat transfers. This is the best option for choosing one of our color choices and coordinating our color options with your blank apparel colors. The Color Selector will be your most important purchase when ordering transfers from Transfer Express. You’ll know exactly what color you are choosing and exactly what color is being printed.

Transfer Express Apparel Printing Color Selector

And last but not least, digital printing offers a different form of colors called CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black). This mixture of colors creates your chosen printing colors. For digital transfers, there are no stock color options. We are able to print any CMYK colors for digital transfers.

When creating artwork for digital printing like our UltraColor® heat transfers, it’s best to create artwork in the CMYK color model as opposed to RGB that is used to create colors on your computer or TV monitors. And while we are on that subject, it’s important never to take the colors you see on your computer screen too literal. Your computer screen, just like a TV screen, is calibrated differently. So you may view a Royal Blue color on one computer monitor, but look at the color on a different computer monitor and it may look more like Purple.

CMYK Color Model for digital printing