Color Terminology in Specifying a Nameplate

Custom Color Matches

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Colors for your nameplates, badges or labels are custom matched in opaque or transparent colors to meet your product branding needs.  Color on plastic or metal is applied using using lithography, screen printing or coating.  All color matches start with the development of a color master or color chip. 

Communicating small color differences during the color development process can be a challenge.  Color terminology used may be misinterpreted and result in an entirely unsatisfactory result.  This article covers basic color terminology used in specifying and submitting colors to be matched for your nameplate project.

Confusion in terminology is best avoided by consistent use of the components of color: hue, value, and chroma. When evaluating the difference between two color chips, one must consider differences in these three attributes separately.

  • Hue- the quality of color which describes the color, red, green, blue, etc.
  • Value- the quality that describes the lightness or darkness compared to a gray scale  
  • Chroma- the quality that describes the saturation or percentage of a color

Color Terminology


Described in terms of yellow, blue, green and red.
   Communicated as too red or too green.
   Avoid comments such as too olive, too purple, and too warm or too cool.


   Described in terms of too light or too dark.
   Avoid comments such as weak, pale, and milky.


   Described in terms of too clean or too gray or intense or dirty.
   Avoid comments such as bright or dull.

Color difference terminology can be expressed consistently by using the eight terms: 
   yellow, blue, green, red, light, dark, clean and gray

In addition to consistent terminology it is critical to use a consistent light source when reviewing color and making color decisions.  Consider where your product will be used.  A color may match under one light source and not under another.

Our customer service representatives can help answer your questions involving custom colors for your nameplate or graphic overlay. 

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