How many times have I ordered several 15ml tubes of paint trusting the digital colour image?!?!? So many times. So many!!! Before writing this post I was thinking of calculating the ‘well-spent’ money. But when the number on screen turned over 300 euro, I stopped being scared.
Since each tube of paint 10-15 ml will cost you from 9 euro (Rembrandt by Royal Talens, I do not take into consideration the Jackson’s Art homebrand), buying blondly it the worst thing you can do to your wallet. The trouble is: not every brand really takes care about your wallet and considers the need of having a dors card. At the same time companies that invest in those cards automatically become my favourite ones. Even if I haven’t found everything for myself in their range, I will leave a positive feedback on them.
So far I’ve tried Schminke, Daniel Smith and Golden QOR. With the DS was a funny story: before I ordered the dots, I had already bought 6 watercolour tubes by them (15ml, for sure) and gave 5 of them away to a friend of mine, ukrainian-belgian artist. After this fiasco I was determined to be “smarter” and test things first. It worked well: I’d finally found the right cold red and warm yellow for my palette. At the same time it saved me from buying the genius line I was very interested in.
Not every brand, even big ones, has those precious cards. I spoke with a person in the Marketing department in Royal Talens and she said thought she pushed the need for those cards, it’s not a company’s priority and the sales wouldn’t increase a lot. For small handmade brands, like Michael Harding’s paint, this task is even harder, since they do not use/have big manufacturing equipment. So it’s up to a person to make those cards.
All those reasons are understandable. And even agreeable. But from the customer's perspective the lack of those cards puts a certain limitation on the ability to use the brand's product. It also affects the purchase process. With a dot card I have less doubts and do not need to go though YouTube research for an actual colour sample (it’s killing, believe me!). Not once did I remove paints from the cart just because I could not verify the final colour.
Every amateur comes to the point when he or she understands enough about art supplies to become more cautious in their choices. At the same time they are ready to try new material and mediums which makes a test run crucial for the final decision. And this is a moment for dot cards. I strongly believe that with current prices for a high quality material brands can do a little bit better in self-presentation to new customers.