quest for brown, revisited

by     /    March 17, 2008   

pantone Once again I have found myself spending an inordinate amount of time seeking out the perfect shade of brown. The brown of dried leaves, of old wood, of worn out shoe leather. The brown I see when I close my eyes and imagine brown. The $@*&% brown I see so clearly on my monitor, but that my printer refuses, REFUSES, to print! Arrgh! These are the days that the words “color calibration” become a cruel joke, leaving a bitter taste in your mouth as you ironically curse them out loud.

So much of my photography depends on earthtones, that it is no wonder that this one color gives me so much grief. It is a tricky tricky color. As light tan darkens into deep brown, the inks want to pull the color ever so slightly this way and that, giving my perfect brown a sickly greenish tinge. As if algae has set in. So I nudge the colors towards the reds, hoping to counteract the shift. And so we dance, my printer and I, all friggin’ day long, until finally we come together, and find a color we are both happy with — or at least can live with. These are the days that make me miss being a graphic designer, when picking a color was as easy as picking a chip out of your well-thumbed Pantone book. (And then, of course, letting the service bureau sweat about getting the color right.)

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Comments on 'quest for brown, revisited'

Kesha Bruce  (March 18th, 2008):

I suddenly have a craving for chocolate…

Kim Hambric  (March 20th, 2008):

Say, could you come and pick out a color for my living room walls? I’ve spent months looking for the perfect dark brown. I find a bitty chip that I like, buy a quart of paint, slap it on the wall, then find out its gone purple on me, or red, or green, or gray

Seems like such a simple color. Perhaps I will take a bag of dirt to the paint shop to have it matched.

Glad you found a brown you can work with.

Mark  (March 23rd, 2008):

Ugh, sounds like you are trying to dial it in manually – I can certainly relate to that frustration – only with a particular shade of blue in the past.

I know you mentioned it on my blog, but perhaps a custom profile might help? If not doing it yourself, then it is usually only $25 away.

Angela Fehr  (March 26th, 2008):

Thanks for visiting my blog, Dan! You are fast on catching the link-to’s! I hadn’t seen your blog until then, and am enjoying your writing. I can especially relate to the artist/parent issues!