my take on Color terms

Matthew Mattus
Mon, 20 Sep 2004 19:22:25 PDT
I guess I should add some comment in here, since I frequently speak on color
trends at design conferences, and am a color forecaster for trends with the
Pantone Color Insititute, along with Leatrice Eiseman and the Color
Carketing Group. And, in my day job, as  Creative Director at Hasbro, the
toy Company. So color is one of my 'things'.

Color theory is complex, and it seems that after reading much of what has
been said, many of you are indeed correct.

Lee, of course, yes, refraction from daylight, white paper and light source
quality all affect color. As with paint colors and pigment for interiors, if
the grass is green outside and the sun is shining, your white walls can
appear green. Awaken on a snowy morning, and suddenly everything is more
bright. Color is affected both by it's projection, and by how it is lit.
With organic structures, we need to consider refraction within the cells, a
complex phenomenon that we can never truly recreate on paper.

Why is the sky blue?

Mark, yes and no. The color picking feature in Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator
or any digital design program, is hardly accurate beyond the printed number.
But I agree, it could be effective enough to communicate across the seas and
on this site.  Also to take into consideration is that digital color is
backlit, and a monitor color is literally glowing. Besides, the fact that
there is RGB, Gamma warnings, and CMYK to consider. I require that our
designers select and proof color under controled settings, in a light room
specially created for color proofing. They then send along a hard Pantone
chip (or Heaxacolor, or hexachrome or Toyo - this is why there are so many
color palettes in Photoshop, even the color industy can't decide who has the
best selection. Some have better greens, some have better oranges.

Since, no effective and agreed upon universal calabration system exisits, we
still rely on a Pantone chip, but making certain that we assign an ink chip
for an ink on paper project or a plastic chip for plastic, a fabric chip for
fabric, you get the picture. They just donĀ¹t make a petal chip.  So, I think
that you are smart to agree on simply by giving the numbers, we should be
able to get close enough without the RHS chart. That's if you don't have the

 In my business, we use transparent pantone chips on plastic for blown
plastic product, fabric Pantone chips, metal chips,glass chips, enamal
chips, every industry has an agreed upon system. And that tells us
something. Also, and any graphic designer will tell you about the
differences between a coated paper, and an uncoated paper Pantone chip. A
300 blue will seem different every single time, unless you are using a new
box of chips, and they haven't faded, and you are printing on the same

What color is Nerine sarniensis Corusca Major?

Nature invented the finest and most complex coloring system. I challenge
anyone to find the Pantone chip or the RHS chip for the color of the sky
that we could all agree on....and let's face it, the sky. And the sun, are
the light source that we all proof on.

My opinion, is to invest in the RHS color chart, it is, by far, the best and
most accurate, yet, in some strange way, not even close.

My take on Puce.....Our color conference color of choice is that muddy dusty
pink color that they used in 1980's Rubbermaid products and is a truly light
puce, we call it, simply, .....Veal.

Cheers everyone

Matt Mattus
Worcester, MA 
USDA zone 5

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