Color FAQ

Q. How can I ensure that my color matching is successful during the specification stage of my program?

A. The more time you give yourself to pick out your colors, have us make standards panels for you, and make your final decisions, the better. Depending on panel request demand in our lab and the number of sign paint colors you need, requests can take up to 2-3 weeks to complete. We will always do our best to meet your deadlines but it's always a good idea to plan ahead.

Q. Why does my color sample look different inside than it does outside?

A. This phenomenon is called metamerism: the condition where two objects match under one light and mismatch under another. This is especially common with reds, browns and yellows. When determining program colors, choose your colors under the light source to be used for the project. Be sure to tell us if your project colors should be matched to indoor or outdoor light. This of course will be dependent on whether your signs will be displayed inside or outside.

Q. What is the difference between a matte and a satin finish? How about a semi-gloss versus a full gloss?

A. Matthews Paint provides formulas in matte, satin, semi-gloss and full gloss finishes. In our Spectrum of Color fan deck set, you see each color in a satin and a full gloss version.

Q. I want to match Matthews Paint to a Pantone color. Can you do that?

A. Absolutely! A couple things to keep in mind though. Because we are matching sign paint to ink, the colors will never match perfectly. This is especially true for very bright Pantone colors. For us to get the closest match possible to the Pantone color you need, let us know what year Pantone deck you are choosing your colors from. Pantone decks tend to vary from year to year, so this helps us match your color accurately.

Q. What does the LRV number on my color chip mean?

A. The Light Reflectance Value (LRV) of the color is useful when determining color contrast between two colors. Color contrast is essential for general clarity and is necessary to meet regulatory approval related to the visually impaired. The sign paint colors should provide at least 70% contrast in order to be effective.

Q. What dimensions make up a sign paint color?

A. A color has three dimensions: hue, saturation and value. The hue is the attribute of color perception that makes an object green, yellow, blue, etc. Saturation is the strength or vividness of a color. Lastly, value refers to how light a color is compared to black and pure white. These three dimensions combine to fully describe a color.

Q. What moods do certain colors invoke?

A. Red: Exciting, provocative, dynamic, aggressive
Yellow: Warm, cheerful and easy going
Green: Cool, suggests nature, renewal and money
Orange: Strong, warm and wholesome
Black: Power, authority, wisdom or despair
White: Pure, clean and bright
Brown: Substance and stability
Pink: Romantic, youthful, healthy, happiness
Purple: Royalty, luxury and sophistication
Neutral colors are dependable, timeless and classic.