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Glyn's 42. The 'Guaranteed Classic' colours which work everywhere
on paper, ink, metal or wood, with gloss, emulsion, matt, watercolour, gouache, powder coat, enamel, screen-print, dye, glazes, food colours or optical displays


I spend a lot of time picking colours. But which colour do you want? Surprisingly, there isn't any definite way of describing colours. You can specify the hue of a colour by reference to wavelength of light, but that's only part of it, you really need to know the saturation and the luminance as well. In any case, what we see on a surface is a complex mix of lots of different colours, so that the only way to specify a colour is still ostensively, as in "look at this, I mean this colour here".

Previous systems (like Moses Harris' original Colour Wheel of 1811, shown here) - have tried to define ALL possible colours from a few first principles. But humans don't choose to use all the colours, instead they repeatedly pick just a few, and finding those few is what Glyn's 42 is about.

The British Standard (BS) colour system is widely used to identify decorating paints, but RAL numbers are used for industrial paint, for powder coat and plastics. Pantone codes are pretty universal for printing, and NCS is used in architecture. Additive codes are used for computer graphics, but hexadecimal numbers for websites. Then there's subtractives for dyestuffs, and all those odd names used by artists.

So here are the 42 colours which turn up more-or-less the same in all those major colour systems, which probably means they're the 42 most popular colours, the 'Perfect Classics'. Pick one, and you can be pretty sure that it is tried and trusted so it'll look great, and that, nomatter what you want, your supplier has it, and the other supplier has it too. So your printing will match your architrave and look the same on your website. Easy!


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  Additive   Subtractive Colour

Similar to...

  R G B HEX C M Y K coloursamople   BS NCS RAL Pantone
1 0 0 0 000000 0.00 0.00 0.00 1.00
Black / Mars Black Black Black Black Neutral Black
2 76 76 76 4C4C4C 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.70
Anthracite / 70% Grey (BS381C) 635 S 7500-N 7024 161-1-5C
3 153 153 153 999999 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.40
Goose Grey / 40% Grey (BS4800) 00 A 05 S 4000-N 7004 160-1-2C
4 179 179 179 B3B3B3 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.30
Aircraft Grey / 30% Grey (BS381C) 627 S 3000-N 7038 162-2-2C
5 230 230 230 E6E6E6 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.10
Ice / 10% Grey (BS4800) 18 C 31 S 0603-R80B 9002 163-2-1C
6 128 16 32 801020 0.00 0.88 0.74 0.50
Crimson (BS381C) 540 S 3560-R 3003 21-3-7C
7 184 16 16 B81010 0.00 0.92 0.92 0.28
Post Office Red (BS381C) 538 S 1580-Y90R 3020 21-2-7C
8 216 48 16 D83010 0.00 0.78 0.93 0.15
Signal Red / Windsor Red (BS381C) 537 S 0585-Y80R 3025 19-1-7C
9 216 72 8 D84808 0.00 0.67 0.96 0.15
Orange / Gold Ochre (BS381C) 592 S 1080-Y60R 2004 17-1-7C
10 240 167 0 F0A700 0.00 0.31 1.00 0.06
Gold / Quinacridone Gold (BS4800) 08 E 51 S 1070-Y20R 1004 6-1-4C
11 254 185 112 FEB970 0.00 0.27 0.56 0.00
Apricot (BS4800) 06 E 50 S 1040-Y30R 1034 10-1-1C
12 248 224 0 F8E000 0.00 0.09 1.00 0.03
Canary Yellow / Gamboge (BS381C) 309 S 0570-G90Y 1018 1-1-6C
13 248 240 88 F8F058 0.00 0.03 0.64 0.03
Primrose (BS381C) 310 S 0560-G80Y 1018 1-1-5C
14 203 208 46 CBD02E 0.02 0.00 0.78 0.18
Lime (BS4800) 12 E 51 S 0570-G60Y 1016 140-1-3C
15 153 181 50 99B532 0.15 0.00 0.72 0.29
Linden Green / Hookers Green (BS4800) 12 E 53 S 1070-G40Y 6018 135-2-4C
16 176 208 136 B0D088 0.16 0.00 0.35 0.18
Eau-De-Nil / Terre Verte (BS381C) 216 S 1040-G40Y 6019 127-2-2C
17 72 120 48 487830 0.40 0.00 0.60 0.53
Bright Green / Windsor Green (BS381C) 221 S 3560-G30Y 6001 125-1-5C
18 0 83 82 005352 1.00 0.00 0.03 0.67
Jade / Turkish / Chromium Green (BS4800) 16 D 45 S 6030-B50G 6016 100-2-5C
19 24 56 40 183828 0.59 0.00 0.27 0.78
Brunswick Green (BS381C) 227 S 7020-G 6005 111-3-7C
20 54 72 32 404820 0.25 0.00 0.54 0.72
Olive (BS381C) 298 S 6530-G50Y 6003 129-2-4C
21 0 141 141 008D8D 1.00 0.00 0.00 0.45
Aquamarine / Viridian (BS4800) 16 E 53 S 3050-B40G 6033 100-2-1C
22 57 129 152 398198 0.63 0.15 0.00 0.40
Dresden Blue (BS4800) 18 D 43 S 4030-B10G 5024 96-1-4C
23 99 127 157 637F9D 0.37 0.19 0.00 0.38
Larkspur / Cobalt Blue (BS4800) 20 C 37 S 4030-R90B 5024 82-1-4C
24 178 205 200 B2CDC8 0.13 0.00 0.03 0.20
Duck Egg Blue (BS4800) 16 C 33 S 1515-B50G 9018 101-1-1C
25 183 203 220 B7CBDC 0.16 0.07 0.00 0.14
Porcelain Blue (BS4800) 20 C 33 S 1020-R80B 7035 70-2-1C
26 64 120 192 4078C0 0.67 0.37 0.00 0.25
Light French / Cerulean Blue (BS381C) 175 S 2060-R80B 5012 70-1-4C
27 16 80 168 1050A8 0.91 0.53 0.00 0.34
French / Antwerp Blue (BS381C) 166 S 2565-R80B 5015 78-1-5C
28 24 48 112 183070 0.80 0.57 0.00 0.56
Roundel Blue (BS381C) 110 S 5540-R70B 5002 70-5-3C
29 8 32 80 82050 0.90 0.58 0.00 0.69
Oxford Blue (BS381C) 105 S 5540-R70B 5022 70-3-7C
30 24 24 48 181830 0.53 0.53 0.00 0.81
Royal Blue (BS381C) 106 S 7020-R60B 5011 64-3-7C
31 96 56 104 603868 0.07 0.46 0.00 0.59
Violet (BS381C) 796 S 5040-R50B 4008 51-4-5C
32 120 113 152 787198 0.22 0.27 0.00 0.40
Purple (BS4800) 22 C 37 S 4030-R60B 4005 64-2-4C
33 55 53 41 373529 0.00 0.05 0.27 0.78
Vandyke Brown (BS4800) 10 B 29 S 8505-G80Y 6022 129-2-7C
34 128 80 48 805030 0.00 0.38 0.62 0.50
Leaf Brown / Burnt Umber (BS381C) 489 S 6030-Y40R 8003 146-1-5C
35 106 80 54 6A5036 0.00 0.26 0.50 0.58
Coffee / Raw Umber (BS4800) 08 C 39 S 6020-Y30R 8025 148-1-5C
36 160 96 16 A06010 0.00 0.40 0.90 0.37
Desert Sand / Gold Ochre (BS381C) 420 S 3560-Y30R 8001 8-2-3C
37 151 126 35 977E23 0.00 0.17 0.76 0.41
Mustard (BS4800) 10 D 45 S 4050-Y 1027 141-1-5C
38 168 160 128 A8A080 0.00 0.05 0.24 0.34
Buff (BS381C) 411 S 3010-G90Y 7034 152-1-2C
39 200 176 120 C8B078 0.00 0.12 0.40 0.22
Light Stone / Beige (BS381C) 361 S 2030-Y 1001 149-1-2C
40 224 152 152 E09898 0.00 0.32 0.32 0.12
Pink (BS381C) 454 S 1040-R 3015 16-3-1C
41 241 224 196 F1E0C4 0.00 0.07 0.19 0.05
Honeysuckle / Magnolia (BS4800) 08 C 31 S 0907-Y30R 1015 144-1-1C
42 255 255 255 FFFFFF 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Titanium / Brilliant White White White White White


The Glyn-42 Set does not attempt to define all colours, and when compared to a complete colour set, such as the CIE 1931 color space G42 appears to do very badly indeed.


But Glyn-42 is an attempt to express, in condensed form, the colours people actually use, so when we take images and colours chosen by people - here I've picked a random set of corporate logos - the G42 set supplies virtually all of them so that it is difficult to spot any difference at all between it and a 16 million colour version...



Likewise, G42 does extremely well expressing the colours of nature and human skin tones. G42 gives the colours we see and the colours we choose.







Copyright © 2017 Glyn Hughes
info@hughesandhughes.co