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color matching


“When Color Matters” – ICD’s Commitment to Color Matching

You say, “to-mā’to”—I say, “to-mä’to.”  What’s the difference?  We’re talking about the same thing, right?  Of course.  While the pronunciation may vary, a tomato is a tomato is a tomato.  But what color is the tomato?  Now, that presents us with an entirely different kind of challenge.

When we are dealing with color communication, it is not enough to simply say, “The tomato is red.”  But it IS red, isn’t it?  Very generally speaking, yes.  Now, take a look at the tomato images below.  Which tomato is red?  Would you suggest that both tomatoes are red?  If so, that would not be a wrong answer—both may be described as “red.”  But are they the same color?  Certainly not.


Without diving into the particulars of color science (we’ll save that for another post), it is important to establish the fact that what we commonly refer to as a “color” can be quite subjective from the observer’s perspective (our eyes).  Add variables such as the type and angle of light, surface shape and texture, gloss and many others, and the ability to define and reproduce a color becomes rather complex.              

At ICD, color is our business—it’s at the very heart of what we do.  When Color Matters is our slogan!  After a customer submits a color sample, our color match technicians will blend our product colorants to produce the closest visual match possible.  Once a visual color match is achieved, the color formula is recorded, master samples of the color are stored and product samples are shipped to the customer for evaluation.

How does ICD achieve reliable success in color matching and how do we consistently reproduce those exact colors indefinitely?

Because color matters, ICD engages in the following practices to ensure the best color matching and repeatability in the industry:

  • ICD’s color match technicians undergo evaluation, using the Farnsworth-Munsell 100 Hue Color Vision Test, to certify that only those with the highest color acuity are qualified to match colors.
  • Verification of all matches is provided by an Expert or Supervisory color match technician.
  • New pigments are continuously sought, evaluated and subjected to qualification tests to help provide for our best possible color matching capabilities in providing solutions for our customers.
  • Color master standards are measured by some of the industry’s most advanced spectrophotometers and the spectral data is stored in our computer databases for ready access.
  • Color tolerance (the maximum difference allowed between a color master and batch trials) is strictly held to a Delta E value of 0.20—arguably the coatings industry’s tightest tolerance!

So, which tomato is “red?”  Take your pick!  The more important question is, “Which tomato’s color do you prefer?”  Our goal, at ICD, is to consistently provide our customers with quality coatings made in the exact colors they want.  If we can match it, they can depend on receiving those exact colors every time they’re ordered!

Question:  Your world is full of color!  In what ways does color matter to you?