Color Issue when Printing on Nylon or Oxford Fabric


I’ve got some print samples made by an asian printing company. Unfortunately the colors don’t match at all. The company says they can’t do anything about it. Switching to another printer is not an option.

Does anyone know how to get a color profile for Nylon (or Oxford) Fabric?
I’m hoping that I can convert my CMYK file this way so that it comes out right on the printer.

Any clues?

Many thanks in advance!

Print a piece the color you want. Cut it in half, and mail them one. Tell them to match it. Then don’t accept anything that isn’t exactly that color. Keep the other piece around so that you can check for accuracy and prove that the color isn’t right, if necessary.

This way, the problem is theirs.


the thing is, that they DID print it ok on plain paper. so they have a sheet for comparison. but they are unable to print it right on nylon.

looking for another printing company seems to be the only way…

what is the color of the fabric? the print color may appear different on a colored background than on white (paper). I am in the apparel business and have run into this with putting colors together and printing graphics on clothing.

the fabric as a substrate shouldnt be an issue unless there is some chemical problem between the fabric and the printing ink.

when we do color matching for fabric we either send a color swatch to match to, as suggested earlier, or a pantone fabric number. as far as the printing side we will normally do the same. are you working with a printer or a garment manufacturer/fabric mill? if it is a printing company they should be able to match as it is their business.

just for reference, oxford is the type (weave) of the fabric. it could be a poly oxford, cotton oxford, or in this case a nylon oxford. oxford is a plain weave, kind of like a heavy canvas.

hi thalo,

thanks for your reply!

we are using oxford polyester. (your explanation helps a lot as i was thinking oxford equals polyester)

what we do is to print a photograph onto the fabric. so it’s not just one pantone color.

before printing the fabric is just white.

for some reason results were very different when using white nylon. so the only reason we are using oxford polyester is that the colors look better than on nylon. no idea why.

however, the printing company still wasn’t able to match the colors of a proof on paper. they say the situation is different on fabric and “it’s not possible”. ok, at least we have reached a level where we can say: “the colors are wrong, but they look good enough anyway”.

one very interesting question is:
what’s the difference between nylon and polyester? is polyester in any way worse than nylon?

do you know a good resource where i can find information about the types of fabrics and weaves?

many thanks again!

i dont know of any websites that explain different weaves, I studied fashion design and work for a fashion design company so its what i deal with. oxford is just a plain weave with one up and one down, over/under kind of thing. twill is similar but the weft yarn (the yarns that run left to right in the fabric) go over two warp yarns and under one. this gives the diagonal look of the weave.

regardless of this, i think the issue may be how the nylon or polyester fabrics react to the ink and possibly how they take the ink. nylon dyes very easily and may be absorbing the ink and giving it a different look. i have also worked at a reprographics shop and we did some larger format printing, some on fabrics. i think that some fabrics that are used by printers may be treated/coated in some way or another to better take the inks. if it is a silk screen print i would assume that they would turn out the same. if it is ink jet or some other type, it may be a fabric/ink reaction issue.

if you do a search for the two on wikipedia there are pretty intricate details. in general nylon has better strength and less prone to static while polyester is better to hold up to UV exposure.

i hope some of this helps.