A question of colour

A question of colour

Faithful colour reproduction helps reinforce brand presence. But specifying colour consistently for interiors can present unique challenges for designers and clients alike.

When working on the Kingsley Café brand development we ran into a colour conundrum. The key decision makers were spread from Bristol and Somerset to Cornwall. Of course, we have up to date Pantone® swatches in the studio but the rest of the team couldn’t see them and a painter had already been booked for the next day. So how could we agree a colour scheme remotely? A quick visit to our local trade paint supplier was in order.

I was expecting a tricky and subjective debate over various RAL colour swatches and infinite paint brands that the rest of the team may or may not have been able to get hold of. But the folk at The Colour Centre here in Bristol had a simple solution: specify a BS 4800 colour. BS 4800:2011* is a collection of 122 paint colours used in the construction industry. Admittedly, a choice of only 122 colours might seem limiting but benefits of the range became clear.

One can specify a BS 4800 colour from any paint manufacturer and choose based on one’s own preference be it guarantee of quality, availability or simply price. In addition BS 4800 colour swatches are commonly available at every trade paint supplier. So with Kingsley Café’s Pantone colour references in hand I was able to identify the closest paint matches and pass them on to our team in Somerset and Cornwall. They were able to get an approximate idea of colour values immediately online and our client in Cornwall was able to see the paint swatch for himself and buy the paint in one go ready for the decorating to go ahead.


*BS 4800 specifies 122 colours of paint for building and construction works. This is an essential reference for anyone who needs a particular paint colour to use in the refurbishment of buildings – especially at local authority level or for major works, such as office blocks, airports, schools and hospitals… These paint colours are widely recognised throughout the UK and are often used to meet safety, legal or contractual requirements.

Taken from BS 4800:2011 Schedule of paint colours for building purposes © British Standards Institution 2013.