Colorways

Expanding Product Variations

With only one photo a business can have an image of every color variation for a single product. Colorways essentially stretch your marketing dollars and are often seen as cost-effective solutions in an ecommerce environment. However, some businesses use them to develop market research studies and even land new sales before product lines exist. It’s a great tool to use in a variety of marketing and sales efforts, but the work has to be done right.

The biggest fear with colorways is color accuracy. Bad colorways make a product look defective. Adding insult to injury, poor colorways increase product returns because customers do not receive what was expected.

Colorways example - women wearing hoodies Colorways example - women wearing blue hoodies alternate
Colorways example - athletic wear for women black pattern Colorways example - athletic wear for women red and black pattern

In a perfect scenario with an unlimited budget, creatives prefer to take an actual photo of every single product variation. But the best way to save time and maximize your investments is with colorways. Overcoming the quality obstacle is all about finding exceptional retouchers who can open up a world of possibilities.

At OMS, we come at the challenge with a team of retouchers, each with decades of experience, and in a previous life, a few of them specialized in print media. They have adept color accuracy knowledge that enables them to work with the nuances of digital screens and print media (catalogs, billboards, packages, and more). When you have people like this behind the curtain, it can empower all your sales tools.

Colorways example - six hoodies with a range of colors Colorways example - six hoodies with a range of colors alternates

More than just an ecommerce listing

The big appetite for colorways today is ecommerce applications. Take one photo, send it to some retouchers, and receive 10+ variations for your website. But there are other creative ways to use colorways.

One innovative way is to use these skills to develop prototypes and conduct market research. Revisit a previous garment style or start with something new, then send numerous new colors and pattern designs to a retoucher. From there you can see hundreds of variations, discovering what works and what doesn’t. This process is also great for changing out seasonal designs.

With the results in hand, some companies take the best images and perform market research. Other companies use those images by creating new sales catalogs and let retailers purchase their preferred styles before they even exist. While this can be achieved through mock-ups/illustrations, a photo gives the retailer a closer version of reality with which to base their choice.

Essentially, you can hedge your bets before going to large-scale production.

Hat Colorways Diagram

How Colorways Happen

First, you can save money by sending simply one clothing item per type of product. It’s best to start with a mid-value color (like gray), but our team has turned a black glove white and you’d never even know. Along with that, send over your color and pattern choices. Then tell us where the colors preferences need to go (you can even request changes for the threads on stitching).

Next, our photographers will take the photos of your product in the angles and styles requested. The files will then be sent to our retouching team who will make the magic happen. During this phase, you’ll get a few rounds of digital proofs to make changes and selections. After finalization, your files will be delivered in all the formats you need. Simple as that.

If you need the files for specific print media use please let us know. We will prep the CMYK files for your printer to ensure you have the most accurate results.

Colorways example - bridesmaid wearing bridesmaid dresses Colorways example - bridesmaid wearing bridesmaid dresses alternate blue and purple
Colorways example - bridesmaid wearing bridesmaid with frills Colorways example - bridesmaid wearing bridesmaid with frills gray and beige

Give us a colorways challenge

If you’re new to colorway services and want to see if want can do something specific, send us a challenge.

Send us a product image, your designs, and we’ll get to work.

Jeans apparel photography