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Color Trends

Color that Combines Form + Function

Color, form, space, and light are principal components of an architectural project, but color is the one element that most affects the others. Selecting the right color for a building project can be a daunting task. Color has a profound effect on the human experience and, in particular, on users of the built environment, where we live, work, and play. It also plays a dramatic role in changing and improving the aesthetic appeal of particular areas.

Just as color is consistently a key selling feature for building components, whites, beiges, bronzes, metallics, and grays have remained the leading color choices for many years. One of the things designers and building owners seek is a building that does not appear dated years down the road. As a result, color choices tend to be more on the conservative side. Yet, definitive color trends are taking place as a heighted consumer and design industry desire to express creativity.

This poses a unique opportunity for high-performance architectural coatings as some bright, eye-catching colors can be difficult to achieve and selecting the wrong color can mean failure.

In today’s world of ever-increasing expectations, the coating manufacturer faces the tough challenge of pleasing the customer and providing a quality product that will last. Pigments play a vital role by providing the coating’s color. The pigment component in any formulation can either enhance or degrade the overall performance of the protective color coating. In architectural building components, the chemical resistance of the pigment is crucial. This sometimes restricts color spaces that can be achieved.

Pigments: Inorganic vs. Organic

pigment changes the color of reflected or transmitted light as a result of wavelength-selective absorption. Their role must serve both coloration and function. Pigments are either inorganic or organic in composition. Sometimes both types must be used to achieve a certain shade or color.

Inorganic pigments are manufactured from mineral compounds that are mainly complex metal oxides and have superior color stability, heat, and chemical resistance. Colors coming from inorganic pigment are less bright, such as beiges, browns, tans, and other earth-tone colors.

Organic pigments are carbon based and are often made from petroleum compounds, but have a low resistance to fade and low heat resistance. They allow UV and oxygen to penetrate, breaking the chemical bonds, and have less hiding power. Colors from organic pigments have a very bright vivid appearance. These are sometimes known as cleaner or purer colors.

In general, paint manufacturers will blend inorganic pigments with premium resins (PVDF), and organic pigments with less-expensive resins (polyesters). Valspar color technicians are challenged to select affordable pigments for coatings required for durable applications. Their choices are restricted due to environmental and performance concerns. When these offerings are required it limits color space and warranty options, especially if a high warranty is required.

How does color affect warranty?

To begin with, each architectural project must be analyzed in terms of its own particular situation, function, and need. With each project, one needs to ask:

  • What is the end use application?
  • What is the application’s environment? For example, percentage of direct sunlight.
  • What are the performance requirements?

Answering these questions will help determine the coatings formulation and warranty that can be provided. Not all pigments are suitable for every application. Pigments for exterior, high-performance architectural coatings require high-end products with outstanding properties—especially heat resistance. Color warranties are based on the percentage of organic versus inorganic pigments used to create the final color.

The Valspar standard warranty looks at film integrity, chalk, and fade of a coating. Film integrity is determined by the resin system used: PVDF, SMP, or Polyester. Chalk and fade are caused by the breakdown of the pigments. Chalk, the appearance of a white powder, is the result of a breakdown of carbon bonds by ultraviolet (UV) light. The pigment should be a UV absorber or reflector. Fade is caused by the breakdown of the pigment itself.

No matter what color you are trying to achieve, Valspar has a strong tradition of innovation in the development of color, as well as dedicated resources to assist our clients in making the right selection. Protection of the architect’s vision matters above all. Valspar coatings will make sure your vision ages beautifully.

Discover the power of color. Valspar takes color to a whole new science. Since not all pigments are created equal, formulating your perfect color demands expertise, laboratory resources, and testing proficiencies found nowhere else in the industry. When it is beautiful and functional it is worthy of the Valspar name. We have a full palette of colors to chose from or allow us to put our advanced color matching technology to work for you to create your lasting impression.

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