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Information and Downloads to Color Systems of the World

Color charts from all over the world are available in our shop
As a specialized trade for color standards, we have been offering our customers color samples of the most important national and international color systems and color collections for many years.
Industry-relevant color references are currently: Munsell Color System, Federal Standard, British Standard, Afnor, Australian Standard, CBCC China, JPMA Japan, RHS, DB Iron Mica and special color collections for food, plants or medical purposes.

Brief descriptions of individual color fans and color charts: We would be pleased to answer any questions about our delivery program.

TIP: On most of our product pages you will find a detailed description, color lists and additional technical information.
Worth knowing and historical about the development of color systems, color spaces and color theories - The basic ideas of the "Old Masters" in a clear form.

Aron Sigfrid Forsius 1611: Already in 1611 a manuscript by Aron Sifgrid Forsius appeared, in which he states that the colors can be brought into a spatial arrangement. Its color ball already has the same characteristics that we still find today in modern color systems: white and black form a central axis on which the gray tones of light gray to dark gray are found again. Around this axis, the primary colors red, yellow, green and blue are grouped on the equatorial plane and form a color circle. Upwards, towards the white and down towards the black, their brighter or darker variants are arranged.

Athanasius Kircher 1646: In his book "Ars magna lucis et umbrae" - "The great art of light and shadow" from the year 1646 Kircher describes a color system, which in addition to black and white has the three colors yellow, red and blue as basic colors, which are on a baseline are applied in the sequence of their brightness. The mixed colors of these five primary colors are represented as connecting lines of two colors each, which form a semicircle above the baseline. Athanasius Kircher already knew the effect of a prism, for he described the brightest colors as those which pass through the weakest side of the glass and the darkest ones that emerge when passing through the strongest side of the glass.

Isaac Newton 1672: Newton intensified the Prism-experiment by directing the light which was broken by a prism to a second prism. The colored rays which had already survived from the white light in the first prism could not be further decomposed by the second prism, but could only be deflected. These colored rays can be reunited into white light. From this, Newton concluded that the seven components are the components of white light, the spectral colors. The results of his experiments, he summarized in the work "A new Theory of Light and Colors", which he sent in 1672 to the Royal Society. 1704 appeared his work "Opticks", which also contains a color wheel. The seven colors are assigned to circles whose size decreases from red to blue. Newton had the idea that light is made up of particles. The colors are assigned differently large sectors in the color wheel depending on their intensity in the spectrum. In the middle of the color wheel all colors come together and form white.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe 1793: Goethe provided the first "contributions to optics" in 1791. In 1793 he sketched his circle of colors, in which blue, yellow and red form an equilateral triangle. Goethe sees red as the highest increase in the color series leading from yellow to blue. The color wheel is complemented by the mixed colors green, orange and violet. The triangle of yellow, blue and red can be divided under different aspects. On the one hand, primary-secondary and tertiary colors, and on the other, the "sensual-moral" effects of colors, which Goethe also described. With this, Goethe comes closer to his original goal of bringing order into the confusion of the aesthetic side of colors. This had struck him on his trip to Italy, when he noticed the difficulties that artists had with the harmony of colors. Between 1808 and 1810 Goethe's contributions "Zur Farbenlehre" appeared.

Albert Henry Munsell 1905: Albert H. Munsell, who was often described as only an American Artist, was a bit beyond that. He devoted himself already at the end of the 19th century with the topic color. In doing so he also examined the scientific aspects besides the educational aspects, which were important to him. Regarding the fact, that he published a patent for a description of a colorimeter, he can be seen as one of the forefathers of the modern colorimetry. In 1905 Munsell published his “Color Notation” which describes a brilliant color scheme: on one axis lie the neutral shades from black to white. Around this axis different color shades or hues are arranged in a way that the intensity of the color increases towards the brightness axis. In 1915 the Munsell Color Atlas was published, which was for the time being already pioneering for the color sector regarding the structure, layout and material. Color systems which were published later, took a lot of ideas from the Atlas and changed it into their own variations. A rare original of 1915, personally numbered and signed by Albert H. Munsell, is in the possession of the Torso-Verlag. By reference to this color scheme the science of color developed a mathematical system in order to describe that color space and which is the basis of the colorimetry today. Since the system has no closed but open space a lot of colors can be added without any further problems. The Munsell Color System enables a detailed specification of the colors in industry, design, architecture, art, research and all other sectors that need exact color communication. The Munsell Color System offers a variety of special color cards for the areas archeology, biology and geology.

CIE 1931: “The standard color chart”, also known as “shoe sole” is the result of the work of the CIE (“Commission Internationale d’Eclairage), which has the scope to construct a color system that can work without color patterns, so to speak only according to mathematical formulas. The underlying color measurement is based on the visual comparison of a color with the mixture of three elementary colors, adjusted to match the resulting mixed color of the original. The shares of these elementary colors are called “Tristimulus Value”. The average results of countless experiments with emmetropic persons guided to the spectral curves, which were designated 1931 by the CIE as “standard observant”. The “Tristimulus Value” X,Y,Z were transformed into x,y,z which always adds up to 1. The Tristimulus Value x is the result of X/(X+Y+Z), y and z are calculated accordingly. Since with the case of x,y and z there is only two independent variables, a two-dimensional depiction is sufficient. The implementation of the x and y values (x as horizontal axis and y as vertical axis) result in the known “shoe sole”. The values ​​to be assigned to the spectral colors lie on the edge, which is therefore called a spectral line train. The connecting line between the points for 400 and 770 nm is the purple line, here are the colors that result when mixing these two light colors. The standard color chart depicts all possible colors, as they may appear in a light type. For each type of light or lighting conditions, there is a separate diagram.
Douglas L. MacAdam 1944: Douglas L. MacAdam, the former chairman of the Optical Society of America, wanted to change the standard color chart so that small color differences become graphically visible. Starting point are the MacAdam ellipses, which specify the tolerance range for each color, in which the color is still perceived as the same. He then decomposed the CIE diagram into squares of 0.05 units. He then applied the ellipsoid constants that resulted from his focus analysis. Thus, the squares became rectangles of equal sensitivity. These add together the illustrated surface. The desire for a representation of the colors in which the distances in the diagram correspond to those of the perceived color distances is still being pursued today and it seems that the efforts of MacAdam were successful in one point: to show that such a representation is just as impossible as the representation of the geographical distances on a flat map of the earth.
DIN1955: As early as the 1930s, the German Institute for Standardization (DIN) awarded Manfred Richter (BAM Federal Institute for Materials Testing) the task of creating a color system that is well founded in color science and capable of standardization. The first results were brought forward from 1953 on. A trial with hundreds of people should lead to a color wheel with the same possible distances between the individual colors. The result was a color wheel with 24 "equidistant" shades. The DIN color system is specified by the variables DIN color tone (T), DIN saturation level (S) and DIN dark level (D), which are the coordinates of the three-dimensional array. The ideal black has the dark level 10, the ideal white and also the optimal colors have the dark level 0. So not colors of the same brightness, but the same relative brightness are assigned to each other. The saturation levels are in the achromatic point S = 0 and in the DIN color circle S = 6. In 1960-62, 600 color samples were produced that were published as DIN 6164. The color names are each a number-one in the form
T: S: D.

Islamic traditions: The Arabic word for color is "rank" and also means beauty, transparency, brilliance, greatness, power and advantage. The traditional color palette is dominated by the number seven, composed of a group of three and a group of four. The former consists of black, white and the earth's related color of sandalwood. Second is made up of red, yellow, green and blue. Both systems belong together. The connecting (connective) system of three is supported by the opposing quadruplicate system. In this the colors are assigned to the four elements fire, air, water and earth with their respective characteristics. Green is of particular importance, as it is the synthesis of blue and yellow that in turn represents the past and the future. Both systems can be arranged in a circle in which the symbols of the seven visible planets are assigned to the seven colors. These seven planets correspond to the seven prophets Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, Jesus, and Muhammad. Also in many other systems and areas the number seven plays an important role and also Newton described seven colors of the rainbow.

Example of color systems of well-known paint manufacturers

Please note: Active color systems are being developed to meet the ever-increasing demands of users. Current information on new work equipment and new color collections can be obtained from the manufacturer.

Color System Brillux Scala since 2001
Brillux Scala was revised in 2009 and supplemented with 210 new shades. The system currently has 1514 standard colors. It mainly covers colors that are particularly suitable for fronts and interior design. For this reason, the color system is also preferably used by architects and interior designers for color design and color selection.
The colors are arranged according to hue, saturation and brightness and thus form a three-dimensional color space. The 32 different shades each form a hue family that contains its hue in various saturation and minority variants.
The starting point for the development of Brillux Scala was a critical analysis, evaluation and comparison of the Munsell, CIELab, NCS and RAL Design color systems. From this, a new, metrically recorded, systematic color space has been developed.

The following tools are available to the user:
  • Color box with two color fans, each with light and dark colors
  • Brillux Scala color sample box with approx. 400 larger color patterns in DIN long format with colors for facades and interiors, photorealistic representations of facades and interiors on partially transparent foils facilitate the presentation
  • The sample service provides individual color samples of all 1514 colors
  • DIN A4 large single pattern
  • Box with color cards
  • Selection fan with proven colors for different applications
Caparol 3D-Color system plus
The Caparol 3D color system has existed since 1999 and, like RAL Design, is based on the mathematical color space. The original 1162 shades have now been increased to 1360 colors. The current name is Caparol 3D-System plus.
Structure and color codes:
The hues are called the colorimetric values ​​for brightness, saturation, and hue. As a result, it corresponds to the RAL Design System, which uses the same color properties in its color code - but in a different order. The individual color groups are referred to as color families and have a descriptive name in addition to the color number, which causes a rapid association with the type of hue. The color wheel is divided into 360 degrees, whose starting point corresponds to the 12 o'clock position. The sequence of color families is then also clockwise (RAL design: start at 3 o'clock, sequence in the counterclockwise direction).
The following tools are available to the user:
  • 3D-System plus Card: Overview showing all 1350 colors, available as folder or poster for the wall
  • Color Fan 3D-System plus: Block with all colors in a handy form, colors in the sequence of the color wheel, indication of the available color qualities, shiny accent and metallic colors at the end of the fan for components such as windows and doors
  • In addition to individual patterns of all shades, 3D-System plus Box 3 also contains selected shades in various surface structures to demonstrate the influence of surface effects on the color scheme
Sikkens ACC color system – 4041 Color Concept
The ACC system has existed since 1978, with colors arranged according to hue, saturation and brightness and based on colorimetric principles.
Structure and color codes:
The color shades arranged as a color wheel are marked with one of 24 letters from A to Z, combined with a number from 0 to 9. This means that the color wheel is divided into 24 segments and has ten sub-levels each. It starts with red (A) at 12 o'clock and then clockwise over yellow, green and blue back to red. The second color property, the saturation, is denoted by a number between 00 and 99. The colors with saturation 00 are the uncoloured from black to white, thus forming the gray axis.
This also reflects the third color characteristic, the brightness. The brightness is also named with a two-digit number from 00 to 99, where 00 is black and 99 is an ideal white. Through this system all possible colors can be designated.
For the architecture, the "4041 Color Concept" collection with 1624 colors has been designed according to the ACC system.
  • Color fan with all 1624 colors in a robust aluminum case, the fan pages are flexibly connected and can be placed side by side and also removed, black and white masks for objective color viewing
  • Single sample in DIN A5
  • Archive folder with an index of the availability of products in the respective colors for the development of your own individual collection
  • Sikkens ACC Color Map, a table-filling folder with 6000 colors from the ACC system, hole punching facilitates color comparisons, selected viewing through different cover masks
StoColor System - Sto paint system for more than 35 years
Structure and color codes:
 The colors in the StoColor system are indicated with a five-digit number, which always starts with a 3. The second number indicates the color range, for instance yellow, orange, red, purple, blue or green. It makes sense to match this code number with the well-known RAL Classic color scheme.
The other numbers designate the bright-clear color tone series belonging to each color range, two concealment series, a shadow row and a dark-clear color tone series. Thus, in addition to a consistent system, there is also a classification of the color tones that is helpful in the creation of color concepts.
The following tools are available to the user:
  • Coloring book with 800 shades, of which 28 shades of gray
  • Color gamut with all colors, divided into six color areas
  • Coloring edition: practical color fan box with six fans, all 800 colors as a single sheet with color number, light reference value, price range and information on the product range
  • Color sample box with color sheets in size DIN A5, reordered by sample service
  • Color sheets in DIN A3