A Passion For Colour
We develop over 1000 bespoke papers in a year.
From 184 shades of black to 62 shades of white – and everything in between – each one tells a different story.
Exacting Standards in Colour
Colour is a core competency of James Cropper, our on-site colour lab means we have the capability and the technology to produce or recreate any colour. We have all the skills and know-how to keep up with the ever-changing needs of consumers and clients.
From independent designers to giant global brands, from an identity for Wallpaper* Magazine to the paper for the Royal British Legion poppy appeal, our colour specialists combine their unrivalled experience with an adaptable approach, so that they can work with any client, on any project.
Testing Our Perception
Our colour lab is exactly that – a scientific laboratory. The knowledge our colour specialists hold here is quite incredible and so unrivalled that we have set our own standards of training and innovation.
The Spectrophotometer enables us to transform any colour into a mathematical equation; this ensures accuracy and colour consistency when creating the mix of dyes and pigments. However, despite the scientific data, it is the people and their experience that makes the difference.
Our colour specialists constantly test their vision, to ensure their colour judgement is second to none. The human eye, when performing to exact standards, not only speeds up the development process for our clients – it is a vital test of colour consistency.
Working With Dye Manufacturers
We have over 2000 lives shades on site so there is no limit to the colours we can produce.
By sourcing our dyes and pigments from a number of suppliers it means we have access to the best products on the market, meaning there is no restriction as to what can be sourced or achieved.
“We can match anything a customer brings to us.” – Mark Starrs, Master Colour Blender - James Cropper
Every colour we produce in our colour lab is unique to its customer. Each colour is developed through a colour match process it might start with a simple reference material: a product, a swatch of fabric, a natural source of inspiration or maybe something that jumped out at you on your way to the mill.
With the world of design changing rapidly and the need for versatile brand identities that are as effective on-screen as they are in the physical world, our ability to provide limitless colour options is invaluable.
“The huge range of materials on offer at James Cropper are diverse, but also in constant evolution as new trends continue to emerge, and the need for environmentally responsible solutions increase”. - Luxury design consultant Vincent Villeger.
It's magical when your colour comes to life for the first time. The process we use to create that first 'lab match' sheet has been perfected over generations. But it's only the first step in a careful process which controls the quality and consistency of your colour throughout large-scale production to finished stock.
Delivering Your Brand Story
At James Cropper we are unique because we recognise the value in the technical aspects of colour production. Our long serving Colour Masters and specialists have developed a knowledge, experience and expertise above any other.
We work alongside designers and brands to achieve exactly what they want, from conception in the lab, to hand sheet, to sign off on of production of the paper machine.
We go to great lengths to prove our papers lasting integrity. After all, it will represent your brand. All of our papers undergo rigorous testing for colourfastness, rub and bleed. We’re never satisfied until we know the paper will stand the test of the real world environment.
"Colour has so many different dimensions. It behaves differently in different environments and under different conditions. You have to study it like a scientist observing behaviour - learn its patterns and variations - then you can harness its incredible power over people."Mark Starrs, Master Colour Blender -James Cropper
Dyes and Pigments
Colour can come from dye or pigment, or a careful combination of both. Dyes and pigments have very different qualities – mastering these enables us to achieve both perfect shade and perfect performance in end use.
Dyes are made from a variety of naturally occurring minerals and chemicals, as well as some inorganic compounds. Our portfolio of dyes can enable particularly good light-fastness with minimal rub – an important factor in many end uses.
Pigments behave differently to dyes. They are micro particles used in suspension that when fixed to pulp fibres, enable us to achieve very deep, rich or bright shades – generally with excellent light-fastness and zero bleed.
The careful selection of dyes and pigments, or blending of the two, is a fine art and a vital part of our colour creation process.
Introducing The James Cropper Colour Academy. A two-year educational programme which in-house specialists have designed to develop colour technicians with unrivalled colour knowledge and expertise.
Blending technical and colour skill within the business, the Academy aims to build on our reputation for world-renowned colour expertise. It will also ensure cross pollination of skills and resources between the our on-site colour lab and our colour blending team.
Allowing the suitable candidates the opportunity to not only shape the future of their own careers here at James Cropper but also to shape the future of colour.
Welcoming our first recruits in September. The first year of the programme will focus on fibres, pulp and stock preparation and the second will focus on colour – lab-matching and working alongside the blender teams. The output will standardise processes, procedures and skill-sets for colour across the business while documenting technical know-how as and when solutions are developed.