Monday, August 24, 2009

Designing: What you see, is not always what you get

One of the tricky parts about designing for stone tile, is that you never quite know how something is going to look once you print it on stone. You can have a design that looks beautiful on your computer screen, but when you print it on stone it changes the look dramatically. The colors become too muted or flat; the lighter parts completely fade into the stone; or it just looks awful when printed on stone. The opposite can also occur - a design that just looks okay on the screen turns fabulous once it is printed on the stone.
Over the years we have learned what colors, patterns and textures work best with natural stone tile. We want the stone to enhance the look of the design, not fight it. We intensely dislike (hate) when the design or pattern looks like it is sitting on top of the stone as if it were a decal pasted on. To get the blended look that we want, we sometimes have to erase or lighten parts of the design, so that more of the natural stone shows through. In other cases, we can adjust the saturation of color in the design so it blends into the stone better. And often we have to change the color entirely.
Bright purple on stone? Not so hot.
Gold tones? Much better.
Ideally, the inherent variations in color and texture of the stone will be one of the elements that adds to the beauty of the finished product. If you want flat, uniform, boring tile - buy ceramic. Natural stone tile has much more character and life to it - and that is why we like it.
Here's an example of how the color of a design can change.
This is the artwork before it is printed on stone. It is a little bit too much yellow/green, but the colors are bright and happy.
Here it is after it is printed on stone.
Where did the color go?!

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