Pantone Lighting Indicator by screenprintingnow

Pantone Lighting Indicators ensure colors are viewed under proper lighting conditions. A must-have tool for accurate color evaluation in screen printing.

What is the Lighting Indicator

The Pantone Lighting Indicator is a simple yet invaluable tool developed by Pantone to ensure proper lighting conditions when evaluating and approving colors in various industries, including screen printing. It is a specialized sticker that appears to change color under different lighting conditions, indicating whether the ambient light meets the required specifications for accurate color assessment. In screen printing, color accuracy is crucial, and a common mistake is evaluating colors under the wrong lighting conditions. The Pantone Lighting Indicator solves this problem by providing a clear visual cue if the lighting is suitable for color evaluation. The indicator is designed to appear a specific color (e.g., gray) under the correct lighting conditions (D50) but will appear a different color (e.g., purple or green) if the lighting is incorrect.

By attaching the Lighting Indicator sticker directly to the printed garment or proof, screen printers can ensure that both they and their clients are evaluating colors under the proper lighting conditions. This is particularly useful when clients cannot visit the workshop in person, as the indicator provides a simple way to communicate and verify the lighting conditions used for approval.

Why you should use it

Implementing the Pantone Lighting Indicator in the screen printing workflow offers several benefits:

  1. It acts as a safeguard to ensure colors are viewed under the correct lighting, reducing the risk of color mismatches and customer complaints.
  2. It saves valuable time and money by minimizing the need for reprints or sample revisions due to color discrepancies caused by improper lighting.
  3. It is easy to use and explain to clients, facilitating better communication and trust between the screen printer and the customer.
  4. The stickers can be applied directly to the screen-printed sample for shipment, allowing for remote approval processes.
Pantone Lighting Indicator COMPARISON BETWEEN POOR LIGHTING AND GOOD LIGHTING by screenprintingnow

How to use the Lighting Indicator

  1. Peel off a sticker from the sheet. The Pantone Lighting Indicator stickers come in sheets of 40.
  2. Place the sticker directly on your color sample, proof, or printed garment that you need to evaluate. This allows the sticker to travel with the sample as it moves through the production process or to the client.
  3. Observe the two color patches on the sticker under the current lighting conditions:
    • If the two patches match each other, it indicates the lighting is suitable (daylight-balanced) for accurately evaluating the color.
    • If the patches do not match, it means the lighting is not appropriate and you should move to a different light source before judging the color.
  4. Use the D50 stickers for evaluating in graphic design and printing applications, as D50 (5000K) lighting is the standard for those industries.
  5. Explain to clients how the stickers work to verify proper lighting when they are approving colors or printed samples remotely. The stickers provide an easy way to communicate and control lighting conditions throughout the production process and with customers.

A common mistake when looking at colours is the wrong lighting conditions.
Pantone has developed a simple tool called Pantone Lighting Indicator, to solve this problem. Use it!

A Video on the Pantone Lighting Indicator

Pantone Lighting Indicator | Screen Printing Tutorial in 1 Minute


From my personal experience, I know how many times we have prepared colors and said they were too light or too dark. Clients often ask to change the color slightly because it does not match the requested Pantone color. As we have learned, properly judging a color as right or wrong is a matter of having the correct lighting conditions.

The Pantone Lighting Indicator removes one variable by ensuring that we all view the printed color under the same lighting conditions. It really helps. Additionally, you can keep the sticker and reuse it multiple times, as it is not necessary to discard it after a single use.

Consider giving your external clients a sticker as well. When you send them a sample, you can be assured that they are looking at the print under the same lighting conditions as you. This simple tool can save you a significant amount of time and money by avoiding color discrepancies and the need for reprints.

In summary, the Pantone Lighting Indicator is a small investment that can greatly improve color accuracy, consistency, and communication in screen printing. By ensuring colors are evaluated under the proper lighting conditions, screen printers can reduce downtime, avoid costly mistakes, and ultimately deliver better results to their clients. One of the often underestimated costs in printing is the expense of redoing printed samples due to color inaccuracies. By using the Pantone Lighting Indicator, we can significantly reduce this cost and improve our overall efficiency and profitability.

#Good Pantone Formula Guide for Screen Printer | Coated & Uncoated is coming today with a Lighting indicator page!

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35 years of screen printing have taught me a lot. I would like others to benefit from this as well. I strive for accuracy, use professional writing aids, and personally review all content. Affiliate links marked with (#) support my work without incurring additional costs. If you have a question or suggestion, please leave a comment. Thank you for your support!

Over the decades, I've had the privilege of printing for a range of clients, from startups to recognized brands like:

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