The Challenge: Translating colour

Replicating colours from an idea can be difficult. By using a photo or a piece of material as a template it makes the colour very tough for a supplier to translate. For starters, if using a piece of material, what substrate is it? How was the fabric manufactured? Has it been washed or damaged? Is this the original colour or has it faded? There are many elements that will affect your colour scheme and by not having the desired colour, it can modify the whole design and final image of your product.

The Solution: Using industry colour standards

One solution to accurate colour replication is to use an industry colour standard such as Pantone, RAL and NCS who all produce engineered colour standards which are globally available. You can be certain that if you choose a colour from their ranges, your suppliers can obtain the colour standard wherever they are.

How do you translate your inspiration sample into a colour standard?

Pantone, RAL and NCS all make handy digital tools to quickly identify the closest standard to your colour inspiration. Pantone’s ColorMatch Card enables you to accurately measure colour samples using your smartphone and find the closest Pantone colour from all their ranges. The RAL Color Reader colorimeter collects colours from real life samples and transmits results to the RAL Color Reader App. The NCS Colourpin ll and Colourpin Pro colorimeters give the closest NCS notation and again connect to your smartphone enabling quick communication of colour. If you have patterned material the NCS ColourScan or Pantone Capsure can identify up to 4 colours in one capture.

By choosing an industry standardised colour, you can be assured that the whole supply chain, from designers to manufacturers and product development teams, are matching the exact shade of colour requested.

Furthermore, how do you know that the colour from your inspired look will work on the material you wish to use? By using our DigiView software, you can view the manufacturers submissions to tell whether a colour is achievable on a particular substrate and if it will have the desired effect that you are expecting (if it has a database of dyes linked). Saving on costs, time and enabling designers to release their creativity knowing the end product will be as they anticipated.

Helping you choose the right product:

How do you select the right colour standard?

Having colour standards is great, but they need to be fit for purpose and by that, we mean that they need to be relevant to the type of material you produce. It is almost impossible to match a textile fabric to shiny paper for example. The right colour standard for you depends upon the industry you are in and the type of product you produce.

We have provided some industry examples below to help you on your way! 

Colour Standards PantoneRALNCS
Interior Design
Industrial Design
Graphic Design
Printing & Packaging
Exterior Design
Fashion & Accessories

For more information on our DigiView software, contact us today and one of our DigiEye experts will be happy to help. Email us at or call +44 (0)116 284 7790.

Still not sure? This is where our colour standards expert is here to help guide you towards the right solutions and products for your needs. Please contact Georgina via email or phone +44 (0)116 284 7790