Tikkurila worldwide

Colours live in our imagination

The grey fur of a domestic cat, the bright orange-red shade of rowanberries, the dark green branches of wild spruce... all are images that recall certain colours etched in our memory. Who wouldn’t have noticed the gentle brown shade of their morning coffee or admired deep red bunches of cherries at a fruit stall? An endless number of colours remain in our memory.

For interior decorating, colour descriptions like café-au-lait brown, cherry red, vanilla and cognac create images in the mind and give the decorator an idea of the shade in question.

When people describe colours using image names, the listener immediately forms an impression of the colours’ characteristics. But does everyone visualize colour in the same way?

Experience has shown that different people perceive colours in different ways. For example, the perception of café-au-lait brown depends on how you take your coffee. Has milk or cream been added to it, do you like normal roasted coffee or the Italian variety? And what about vanilla? Are we talking about the colour of the actual vanilla pod or rather vanilla ice-cream? Everyone's imagination has a different concept of café-au-lait brown or light brown or almost white. And as we know, our concept of colour depends a great deal on the predominant light, something that doesn’t make it any easier to perceive a colour's characteristics or remember it.

Colours live in our imagination - Coffee
Of course, everybody knows what café-au-lait brown looks like...

Many Scandinavians dream of a house of their own, and the colour they often imagine is either “manor yellow” or “barn red”. For some people, manor yellow is a clear, pure colour. For others, it recalls the dignified light yellow ochre of days gone by. The shade of red in red ochre always seems to vary according to the person describing it. In some people's imagination, it glistens like a clear, dark red shade, while others see it as a brownish, almost rust-like colour.

Many paint manufacturers include “manor yellow” on their colour cards, but no two identical manor yellows have yet been found. “Barn red” also varies according to the manufacturer in question and the kind of pigment used in it. Shades of earthy colours, such as red or yellow ochre, can vary greatly, even though in terms of their chemical composition, they are effectively the same substance.

The very mention of “cherry-glaze” immediately brings to mind a clear red translucent surface. But “cherry-glaze” also refers to the natural reddish tinge of cherry wood. The surface colour of stained cherry depends on the wood. Floor laminates and kitchen cupboard doors may be very different in colour, even though the name is the same. In other words, the colour concepts of interior decoration manufacturers are very different. Cooperation between manufacturers has not yet reached the stage where the same names would describe the same colours or even resemble them.

Colours live in our imagination - Olive
...and olive green.

Precise colour control

As beautiful as the names of colours may sound, they should also always be given a precise number code as well. When people painting their summer cottage take a fancy to the shade of grey used in old chimneyless huts, they are greatly helped by having a colour code as well as its description in the colour card. With this code, they can ensure that a unique tinting formula will reproduce that exact shade of grey. As time goes by, the manufacturer may well change “chimneyless-hut grey”,  but maintenance painting will be possible for years to come if the colour code has been recorded.

For years, we at Tikkurila have been systematically collecting colour shades and formulae from all the interior decorating colour cards on the market. Our electronic colour bank currently contains over 40,000 tinting formulae. Thus we are able to provide our customers with first-class service, thanks to this knowledge capital in colour control. Our archives include both kitchen fittings and floor material colours, not to mention colour cards from other paint manufacturers.

If you are looking for a precise, exact colour, it is worth using colour numbers and codes.
Tikkurila's colour formula service always helps customers to find the right colour and formula to meet their needs. Not even our colour formula service can help if only the colour names are known. The minimum requirements for finding the right colour are the names of the colour and its manufacturer. We can make rapid progress if the customer also has a colour sample for analysis to create a tinting formula.