Color Standards, Lab Dips, and Why You Need Both! (Part 2)

In our previous post talking about color standards and lab dips, we went over what each of these terms meant and why they're both so important. So now that you know what they are, it's important to know how to accurately check your fabric lab dips against the color standards.


How do we check lab dips in the fashion industry? The standard is to hold the dip at a 45-degree angle while you compare your dipped color to the standard in an industry standardized lightbox.


Most big brands check their lab dips in lightboxes that are in rooms with limited natural light--goodbye window view. Still, small startups and early-stage companies often review their lab dips against natural light as lightboxes are usually pretty expensive.


checking lab dips in the fashion industry

If you ARE using a lightbox, there are different settings you might want to use as your primary light source. Your primary light source should be determined based on the environment your customer will be viewing the product in.


Industry-standard types of lighting for lab dips:


  • D65 - Mimics natural daylight, also the most common light source used in fashion

  • D50 - Another daylight source, slightly less bright

  • CWF - Cool white fluorescent light, similar to what a department store like Target or Walmart might use

  • UV - Ultraviolet lighting to detect brighteners + fluorescent pigment variations

  • U30 - Warm white fluorescent


How do you comment on lab dips, exactly? It depends on who you ask, but generally speaking, we call out the color as we see it and then the improvement we suggest.


These are the usual aspects we consider and check for a lab dip.

  • primary color - too red, too yellow, too blue

  • saturation level - too dull, too saturated

  • weight - too dark, too light

Sometimes the color is so far off that you need to address all three in your comments, while other times, you have some dips that are great on the first go. A lot of it is very dependent on the fiber composition, dyestuff, and the color itself.


An important aspect to note and keep in mind for lab dips is that the variance between the 2-4 options you get will be very minimal. This is because the whole point of these dips is to get very close to the color standard.


To review lab dips well, you must have a really great eye for color. It’s also essential that you can effectively communicate the changes you need to be made. One way to test your color skills is to take a color test. We recommend the X-Rite Color Challenge and Hue Test. This online test is based on the Munsell color test, an industry-standard test for understanding how well you see color.


The lower your score, the better you are at identifying variations in color hues. Our whole team has taken the test, and the scores ranged from 0 to 3, which is pretty impressive! A score of 0 means you had a perfect eye, and a score of 3 means you only had 3 out of place.


What was your score?


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