Paint Sample Reference Guide

I am curious to know what everyone uses as a point of reference for painted finishes for manufacturing and client communication.

My issue is that our company (as well as many designers) commonly use the Pantone color books as a reference source to call out what colors we want in terms of finish, regardless of material. However, being a print color process, these references only get us so far and sometimes leave less to be desired when the color/metallic/sheen of the coating isn’t taken into consideration. We most commonly work on consumer, industrial, and medical devices, from handheld tool to room size objects.

Can anyone suggest a catalog of industry standard paint samples to reference when trying to convey color material finish? So far my research has turned up possible options, such as Sherwin-Williams or PPG, but I would love to know what you use and for what applications.

Thanks in advance for any advice!

  • Marshall

Pantone does have mold plastic color chips

I often use these in conjunction with SPI standards. AS for painted samples, best bet would be PPG or similar. They have swatch books that are helpful. Alos cardinal powdercoating has a good swatch book.

Excellent source, studiomkllc! I did not realize that Pantone supplied plastic chips. I’ll have to check out the paint sources as well!

We swop between RAL and Pantone.

I agree, Pantone is the best system and the chips are great.
You can preview the chips if you visit a store:

Then again, China is pretty good nowadays in doing colors, so often the color coated samples work well for my projects.