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Count on the Code to Confirm the Correct Color

Avoid relying on color names for paint or finish selections

Painted samples from Linetec.

Universally describing a color in a few words is impossible. Is it Icy White, Glacier White, Milky White or Bone White? The same color also looks different in changing light or when placed next to other colors and materials.

People even see color slightly differently depending on the number of photoreceptors on their retinas and how their brains interpret the optical signals. Our culture and upbringing also affects the way we perceive various tones, how we feel about specific colors and what we call them.

When it comes to finishes for your architectural aluminum, the almost unlimited number of possible colors can be overwhelming. With one glance, color can establish a mood, convey information or reinforce a brand.

Architects and design professionals carefully consider the way color choices meet the visual, functional and even emotional needs of their space. Choosing the correct color can support a design, integrate a product into an existing building and match corporate tones.

A few tips on ordering colors

Use paint codes, not names, to select colors

Make sure you get the right color for your client’s project by using the appropriate paint codes when ordering your finish. Be aware that two paints with the same name can be completely different colors depending on the manufacturer. For instance, “Hartford Green” could serve as the name for at least 50 different paint codes. Therefore, it is important to use paint codes over color names.

Color names like “Sierra Tan,” “Light Seawolf Beige” and “Sage Brown” may be easier to remember and more illustrative than “LT621,” “LT614” and “LT620,” but relying on color names can be a risk. Paint and finishing codes are usually composed of both letters and numbers. Each letter and number within the code has a certain meaning related to the color, tint, gloss, primer or topcoat. Color names, on the other hand, are only descriptive guidelines.

As with passwords and other important information, one incorrect number or letter within a code can completely change not only the color, but also the result. Accuracy is a vital element of quality assurance. Remember to check, and double check, that the code has been entered correctly.

Record color codes for future use

When architectural coatings for aluminum are custom matched and blended, a unique code often is assigned. Be sure to snap a photo or jot a note of the code; it may be essential for future orders or touch-up.

When the color is custom or otherwise critical to your project, consider ordering a sample swatch chip to confirm approval with your client before placing your order. It’s always better to take the time and make adjustments before the material is being finished or after it’s installed.


Tammy Schroeder

Tammy Schroeder

Tammy Schroeder, LEED Green Associate, is the director of marketing for Linetec, Tubelite and Alumicor brands. With more than 20 years of experience in the finishing industry, she serves as an industry educator on high-quality, high-performance architectural products, finishing and services. She can be reached at