Why is Metallic Colour Measurement an Intricate Task?

Reviewed by Anurag Mishra (Sr. Technical Consultant)

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Metallic colours are a real treat to the eyes. Irrespective of the surface, they are popularly used in different applications. Automobiles, textiles, labels, packings, domestic applications, stationary items, aerospace, consumer electronics and what not, metallic colours are perfect to fit in all applications. To get the perfect uniform glossy effect, colours are quantified first and then the application is started.

Sometimes it becomes very difficult to get that perfect metallic finish in the first application. When we try to assess the colour from naked eyes, there will always be a discrepancy. Due to interference from the lights of the surroundings and difference in human colour perception creates a colour controversy. To end the debate, the industries have now started to employ colour testers. These devices provide a quantified data which helps the colour manager to end the incongruity.


Labelling – To attract the consumers of all sectors, label designers are trying new tactics. Different printing technologies and colour schemes are landing in the market. But every time the batch changes, there has to have changes in the final printing schemes of the labels. However, marketers are not taking chance with the quality of their labels. This is why a huge range of colour matching devices are employed in label printing industry. The operator can set the tolerance level and based on that the discrepancy can be eliminated.


Textiles – What attracts a garment buyer on first glance? Yes, the colour. You can find an uncountable number of colours in the garment industry and the most interesting fact is that industry insiders identify the colours with their numbers. They are least bothered about the name. They just want the code. This is how they work. Their job is extremely detail oriented, they can easily find some 10 shades between 2 recognised shades by a layman. Colour testers are a very important instrument in their job. Their work station is incomplete without such devices. They not only match the colour schemes but also determines the appearance in different lighting condition. The garment should not look differently when showcased on the ramp under different lighting conditions.

Automobiles – When it comes to domestic cars, people can go to any extent to get their favourite colour. Metallic colours are popular and expensive than non-metallic shades. And it’s praise worthy how automobile manufacturers are introducing new colours to entice the customers. However, delivering that consistency throughout the range is quite a difficult task. When different parts are assembled together, an iota of discrepancy gets highlighted. This is why quality managers are using colour testing machines like spectrophotometer and colorimeters to eliminate the difference.

Home Décor – Our home is our personal space. It is the place where we find solace and mental peace. The décor reflects our personality and outlook towards life. We choose every single entity with utmost care. Our furniture and decorative pieces should match the colour scheme of the room. In order to get that perfect ambience, we refer different sources for colour inspiration. Sometime, when actually the colour is applied on the wall, the final results turn out way different than what we’ve imagined. This difference appears due to the perception of colour. Especially in the case of metallic colours, which is catching the popularity. Thus, to get that perfect metallic effect, gloss meters and colorimeters are used. These devices quantify the scheme and guide the colour manager to prepare the perfect recipe.

Cosmetics – Metallic is the new trend. From eye shadows to lipsticks to nail paints, metallic colours are becoming the new craze of the young generation. As psychologists say that metallic colours represent a strong personality, empowerment and positivity, which is why such tones are becoming everyone’s favourite. The major problem of creating metallic tones in the cosmetic range is getting the pigments of right colours and maintaining the consistency throughout the range, not varying batch wise.

Toys – Action figures, monster trucks and tiny models of cars are invading the toys market. And making toys look like real is the new challenge. Big brands are investing a lot in colour measuring instruments that can give real like appearance to the prototype or miniature replicas.

Apparels – Sunglasses, chains, belts, bags and shoes, all in metallic colours are becoming a hot favourite of the people, irrespective of their age group. Imitation is becoming a cost-effective substitute of expensive labels. Using colour testers, economic brands are delivering attractive, imitated apparels at pocket-friendly prices.

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