Introduction

Some manufacturer includes color notations in their charts or technical documentation. That color notation defines the color much more accurately than a color name.

Two systems used most frequently to describe colors (by artist paint manufacturers) are Munsell notation, and CIE L*a*b. You can read about those on Handprint or check the links on the Colour Online by David Briggs.

On this page, I mainly use this data to provide an easier navigation:

3105 paints has some kind of color notation (in total there are 28303 paints in the database).

Sources

Whenever those notations from are available, I display them next to the paint. Sources for color notations (in this order):

  1. Published by the manufacturer. Some manufacturer (for example Golden) provides also details about how those measurements are done.

    CIE
    RGB r 0 g 100 b 171 #0064AB
    CIE L*40.59 a*-0.40 b*-46.66
    CIE 269.51 L*40.59 C*46.66
    HLC H270_L040_C045
    Munsell 3.5PB 4.0/11.5
    Color moderately dark valued, dull blue
    Source manufacturer

  2. My own measurements. Disclaimer: I don't have access to a high-end colorimeter or spectrophotometer, so those numbers are not up to any scientific or industrial standards. I'll give a more detailed description about my method later.

    CIE
    RGB r 253 g 111 b 35 #FD6F23
    CIE L*63.55 a*51.18 b*63.43
    CIE 51.10 L*63.55 C*81.50
    HLC H050_L065_C080
    Munsell 10.0R 6.0/16.0
    Color moderately light valued, intense orange-red
    Source gouache swatch masstone (D65 10°)

  3. Third party sources. Credits are displayed next to the source.

CIE L*a*b, HLC, RGB, and Munsell values are displayed. Depending on the source, I use the following methods to calculate / interpolate.

  • LabXYZRGB, LabHLC : I use the algorithm, based on the information from EasyRGB (for RGB, i note if it's out of gammut)
  • MunsellLab: for the interpolation I use the munsellinterpol R package
  • When displaying a paint in the Munsell or HLC Atlas Navigator, I assign the color to the nearest spot on the navigator. To calculate color distance, I use CIE ΔE 2000 formula.

    For example Munsell 1.5Y 8/13: 1.5Y is a special intermediate hue which is not in the navigator, so it links to 2.5Y 8/12 which is a close, but fairly distinct hue.

The data sources for the color navigators are:

Own measurements

As I mentioned earlier, my own measurements are not up to any scientific or industrial standards.

I use a simple NCS Colourpin Pro. It comes with a ceramic calibration tile, has a fair repeatability, and worked good enough when I tested against ColorChecker tiles. For the current purpose (make it easier to navigate through paints, and show similar colors) is good enough.

I try to follow a repeatable workflow: for watercolor swatches I measure masstone. It's not always easy to do that consistently with a watercolor swatch, in some cases I calculate an average of multiple measurements.

Finding the masstone for gouaches / acrylic swatches is much more straightforward, so I prioritize gouache / acrylic swatches over watercolor one when both available.

Brands with (manufacturer) Munsell notations

Daler Rowney
Cryla
Acrylic 87 CIE L*a*b* a*b* plane
Golden
Williamsburg
Oil 166 CIE L*a*b* a*b* plane
Holbein
Acryla Gouache
Acrylic Gouache 95 CIE L*a*b* a*b* plane
Holbein
Acrylic Ink
Acrylic Ink 47 CIE L*a*b* a*b* plane
Holbein
Artists' Colored Pencil
Colored Pencil 148 CIE L*a*b* a*b* plane
Holbein
Artists' Gouache
Gouache 170 CIE L*a*b* a*b* plane
Holbein
Artists' Oil Color (HOC)
Oil 190 CIE L*a*b* a*b* plane
Holbein
Artists' Soft Pastel
Soft Pastel 144 CIE L*a*b* a*b* plane
Lilly Künstlerfarben
Artist Oil Paints
Oil 57 CIE L*a*b* a*b* plane
Nicker
Acrylic Gouache
Acrylic Gouache 80 CIE L*a*b* a*b* plane
Nicker
Designers Colour
Gouache 87 CIE L*a*b* a*b* plane
Nicker
Painter's Gouace
Gouache 13 CIE L*a*b* a*b* plane
Nicker
Poster Colour
Poster Color 65 CIE L*a*b* a*b* plane
Turner
Acryl Gouache
Acrylic Gouache 190 CIE L*a*b* a*b* plane
Turner
Design Gouache
Gouache 70 CIE L*a*b* a*b* plane
Turner
Poster Colour
Poster Color 32 CIE L*a*b* a*b* plane
Turner
U-35
Acrylic 79 CIE L*a*b* a*b* plane

Brands with CIE L*a*b* information

Artemiranda
Pure Powdered Pigments
Pigment, dry or paste 3 CIE L*a*b* a*b* plane
Blockx
Pigment
Pigment, dry or paste 2 CIE L*a*b* a*b* plane
C. Roberson & Co
Pigments
Pigment, dry or paste 1 CIE L*a*b* a*b* plane
Couleurs Leroux
Pigments Purs Leroux
Pigment, dry or paste 43 CIE L*a*b* a*b* plane
Golden
Fluid
Acrylic 67 CIE L*a*b* a*b* plane
Golden
Heavy Body
Acrylic 111 CIE L*a*b* a*b* plane
Golden
High Flow
Acrylic 10 CIE L*a*b* a*b* plane
Golden
OPEN
Acrylic 76 CIE L*a*b* a*b* plane
Golden
SoFlat
Acrylic 34 CIE L*a*b* a*b* plane
Holbein
Artists' Gouache
Gouache 170 CIE L*a*b* a*b* plane
Holbein
Artists' Pigment
Pigment, dry or paste 2 CIE L*a*b* a*b* plane
Jackson's
Artist Pigment
Pigment, dry or paste 92 CIE L*a*b* a*b* plane
Kremer Pigmente
Pigment
Pigment, dry or paste 213 CIE L*a*b* a*b* plane
Kremer Pigmente
Watercolor
Watercolor 2 CIE L*a*b* a*b* plane
Kusakabe
Artist's Pigment
Pigment, dry or paste 2 CIE L*a*b* a*b* plane
Kusakabe
Artists' Water Colours
Watercolor 2 CIE L*a*b* a*b* plane
L. Cornelissen & Son
Pigments
Pigment, dry or paste 2 CIE L*a*b* a*b* plane
Lascaux
Artist
Acrylic 6 CIE L*a*b* a*b* plane
Lascaux
Studio
Acrylic 26 CIE L*a*b* a*b* plane
Lefranc & Bourgeois
Acrylique
Acrylic 5 CIE L*a*b* a*b* plane
Lefranc & Bourgeois
Flashe
Acrylic 6 CIE L*a*b* a*b* plane
Lefranc & Bourgeois
LINEL Extra-Fine Gouache
Gouache 37 CIE L*a*b* a*b* plane
Liquitex
Soft Body Acrylic
Acrylic 12 CIE L*a*b* a*b* plane
Old Holland
Classic Watercolours
Watercolor 78 CIE L*a*b* a*b* plane
Old Holland
New Masters
Acrylic 6 CIE L*a*b* a*b* plane
Old Holland
Pigment
Pigment, dry or paste 1 CIE L*a*b* a*b* plane
Roman Szmal
Aquarius
Watercolor 57 CIE L*a*b* a*b* plane
Royal Talens
Gouache Extra Fine
Gouache 25 CIE L*a*b* a*b* plane
Schmincke
AKADEMIE Acryl Color [Series 23]
Acrylic 1 CIE L*a*b* a*b* plane
Schmincke
Calligraphy Gouache [Series 27]
Gouache 1 CIE L*a*b* a*b* plane
Schmincke
Designers' Gouache (HKS) [Series 25]
Gouache 21 CIE L*a*b* a*b* plane
Schmincke
HORADAM Aquarell [Series 14]
Watercolor 136 CIE L*a*b* a*b* plane
Schmincke
HORADAM Gouache [Series 12]
Gouache 13 CIE L*a*b* a*b* plane
Schmincke
PRIMAcryl [Series 13]
Acrylic 18 CIE L*a*b* a*b* plane
Schmincke
Pure Artists' Pigments [Series 18]
Pigment, dry or paste 5 CIE L*a*b* a*b* plane
Sennelier
Dry Pigments
Pigment, dry or paste 8 CIE L*a*b* a*b* plane
Shinhan
Professional Designers Gouache
Gouache 23 CIE L*a*b* a*b* plane
Silpakorn
Wichitrong Water Colour
Watercolor 24 CIE L*a*b* a*b* plane
Turner
Acryl Gouache
Acrylic Gouache 190 CIE L*a*b* a*b* plane
Turner
U-35
Acrylic 79 CIE L*a*b* a*b* plane
Vallejo
Acrylic Artist Color
Acrylic 2 CIE L*a*b* a*b* plane
Winsor & Newton
Designers Gouache
Gouache 45 CIE L*a*b* a*b* plane
Winsor & Newton
Professional Acrylic
Acrylic 3 CIE L*a*b* a*b* plane