Beware Online Ink Swatches (via An Inkophile’s Blog)

14 Jul

Margana at An Inkophile’s Blog is one of my very favorite bloggers. She always tells it like it is, and her most recent post is no exception.

We can all get a little obsessed about finding/doing something perfect, but perfection is out of our reach. Humans are fallible and our machines are even more so.

It simply is not possible to create a perfect computerized image of any color sample. The way the human eye sees color only confirms this. Our vision, lighting, alertness, and so on all affect the way we see a color. The line width, wetness, flexibility, paper type and so on affect the way ink looks on the page. And then there’s the fact that many of us (and this is especially true of men) suffer from some degree of color-blindness! Not to mention the inability of computerized images to capture the vibrancy, depth and so on of any given color. There are too many variables of which only a small fraction can be controlled.

So, even if we could get an ink color to “look perfectly accurate” on the screen it is still more likely than not to vary greatly from the color we see when we put ink to paper.

We all see color differently image quality aside. This is why one person might see J. Herbin 1670 ink as red-orange while another sees it as blood red while yet another see it as a true red. Just look at any three ink reviews and you’ll see everyone describe the color differently.

The best we can do is approximate a color. Anyone looking at an online sample as perfect is setting themselves up for disappointment, and anyone claiming to have a perfect scan is setting themselves up to field complaints about how people feel they were misled.

As Margana says, you really do have to see an ink on the page in order to know whether or not it is the one for you. Please take a carefully look at what she says. She’s right on the money so far as I’m concerned.

The subject of online ink swatches and color representation has come up several times this past week. Some of us have learned the hard way that anything we see on a monitor is as likely to be inaccurate as not. Frustrating but so is buying an ink that disappoints. Even the so-called color adjustment aids are no guarantee. A respected inky friend reminded me just yesterday how true this is. Since the specific ink in question was developed with her … Read More

via An Inkophile’s Blog

3 Responses to “Beware Online Ink Swatches (via An Inkophile’s Blog)”

  1. TheToadMen July 14, 2010 at 2:42 PM #

    I agree on this subject. You should see the ink live on paper and not on a screen.
    However: the pen used and the paper written on is also a factor! I have seen several different colors from the same bottle of ink on different sorts of paper.

    • inkophile July 15, 2010 at 8:11 PM #

      The unpredictable result of combining ink with pen and paper is part of the charm. You are very right to point out that aspect of the equation especially since it can be a surprise to people new to fountain pens.

      Thanks for the kind words, Dizzy Pen. Link to your post added to “Beware Online Ink Swatches” at Inkophile. To be sure color is in the eye of the beholder…


  1. Beware Online Ink Swatches « An Inkophile’s Blog - July 15, 2010

    […] More at The Dizzy Pen. […]

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