We have had a couple questions/complains lately regarding polish colors matching when compared in person to photos on the screen.
I wanted to explain our color matching/batch making/blogger photo process.
For every polish, we make a prototype batch. That prototype batch sits in our office, goes back and forth to our house for me to use, and generally bangs around for 4-6 months, if not longer before released. This batch generally has had tweaks and changes made, but the final recipe has a 12-24 bottle or so batch made and left to sit to ensure we are happy with the final recipe and everything is stable. Our recipes are very specific and are done by weight for all colorants, and by dry measurements for glitters. This ensures we can duplicate recipes exactly.
Closer to release, generally 2-3 months before release we scale up that prototype batch to gallon size batches(or larger amounts), making between 200-500 bottles. We verify that it matches the original samples and that we are happy with how it scaled. This batch is used to pull samples we use to compare every future batch. We also send our bloggers and media samples from this batch, and anyone that orders during release would get from this first large batch.
When we run out, we go back the original recipe and reproduce according to that recipe. We then compare against the original sample to ensure that the color matches. If they don’t match, we discard. When when the batches don’t match, it is often human error, but sometimes it could be due to a slight change in the pigments from suppliers if we did have to use a different supply batch. It happens, dye lots can have variances, that effects even large polish companies. We generally buy ingredients in such bulk that we use the same colorants for many many batches, so that does not happen, but if it does, we then can try to tweak to get a match if it is close, or in some instances go with the new color (like Witch Way which changed slightly a few years ago due the pigment changing). But overall, we try to match each batch exactly to the original sample but recognize that when using dyes and natural pigments, slight variations can occur. And I do mean slight.
When we send out to bloggers, we send to over 40 different bloggers. We try to send 1-2 months ahead of time (we try but sometimes that time is shorter). This gives us time to gather photos from the bloggers to use for our listings. But, those photos don’t always come in before we go live. So we choose from the selection we get to find 5-10 photos that we think match best for our listings.
This is where is get tricky. I myself have 2 computers, and several mobile devices. And let me tell you, not a single one of those show colors the same way, which is frustrating as I have to do my best to guess how they will look on most computers. Do I try to match with my iphone? My laptop? Pick something in-between? Then you think about all the phones, the computers, and all the settings and all the ways people tweak monitors I don’t know how anyone ever matches colors online! Heck, I have a Pantone color book, and do you know that I can not get the colors from them online to match what my book directly from them shows?
Plus, I have photos from up to 40 people to choose from. That is 40 different combinations of cameras, lighting, skin tones, editing on their end, etc. Those 40 different people probably tried to match photos to what their eyeballs saw compared to the polish in person. And did you know that not everyone sees colors the same? What a level of trickiness this brings to the table. I have even on rare occasion edited photos with blogger permission to better match when they themselves had said the colors were off.
And that is for a normal polish. Some colors (blues, purples, neons, etc.) screw with cameras and are near impossible to get to reflect correctly in photos (Periwinkle In Time I am looking at you). I could go on and on about how those type of colors are out of range for digital cameras, but bottom line is, they suck to get accurate photos of. Which makes a collection like our pastel neons horrible to get to show correctly online. We do try and put notes on listing where we think the photos are off, but notes don’t always get read either.
I can only assume that other brands have this issue. I know I have heard complaints about Zoya colors not matching, but I am not sure about other Indies. I myself have had color matching issues with clothes, home decor, and other items purchased online.
I will leave you with two photos as examples. This is the folder of blogger photos for Eyes White Open and for Rum Me The Right Way. Same batch for all the bloggers, so many variations! If this can happen with a basic color like white, imagine how hard it is with other colors!
We do everything in our power to make sure that our photos show as correctly as possible to make it easy to shop online, but there are limits to what we can do. I do want to keep bringing awesome collections with blues, purples, neons, etc, but hesitate knowing people will complain about the photos. It makes it hard to go beyond the “safer” easier to photograph colors. And I really want to bring out a bright neon collection that marbles too!
I guess I just wanted to explain a little more about the process and what goes into getting polishes ready for the web and some of the challenges we face 🙂 Thank you if you stuck with me so far!