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June 04, 2017 2 min read

“I never met a color I didn’t like.” ~ Dale Chihuly

pantone color swatches

Today's post is the third of our "From the Studio" series, where we share how we create MAIKA products: from inspiration to finished product. Interested in learning more? Check out our previous posts here and here.

I love color. LOVE. I've often been asked how I select the colors for our products. The truth is, there is no exact science to the process. In the exploratory process, I don't edit myself. I sketch, apply colors that speak to me, and just let the paint flow. While I am constantly aware of color trends, I tend not to restrict myself to what the industry deems as the color of the year, or month.

pantone TCX swatches

As we begin to refine the patterns that will likely make the cut however, we do ask these questions to guide our final color decisions:

  • What type of product is the color used on? Is it a carryall tote where we need to consider the user's outfit? Or is it a pouch where we can afford to be more experimental since it's more likely to be placed inside a bigger bag?
  • Who is the user? Our dopp kits are gender-neutral but we certainly kept in mind that we have more men using those compared to the pouches.
  • When is this product being launched? During the Spring/Summer season or Fall/ Winter?

Pantone TCX swatch book for fabrics

At this point, we also look at how our selections look together as a collection. Do the colors work together, but also stand out well enough as standalone products? Do they speak to the MAIKA brand? If the answer is yes, then we start matching the colors to Pantone TCX swatches which we use as a standard for color-matching during production.

For those of you who are not familiar with Pantone swatch books, there are tons of options out there. Each book is used for specific color-matching purposes, based on the material the final product is being printed on. In short, there are swatch books made for color-matching on different types of paper, fabric... you name it. The book we use is Pantone TCX (aka Textile, Cotton edition, Extended Range) , made specifically for cotton color-matching.  

strike offs fabric

Based on the colors we have specified, the factory then sends us "strike-offs", which are samples that we review and approve before production happens. At this stage, we look at these strike-offs not only to make sure the colors are accurate, but also check for quality of printing.

Sometimes (ok, often) it takes more than one try to get things just the way I like it. But when we get to this stage of the creation process, it's so uplifting to see our designs finally coming to life. 

Till the next post... live colorfully!


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