Color Technology

Date: September 24-25, 2024
Course Fee: $1,225
Location: Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti, MI
Room: Student Center Ballroom
Instructor: S. Kendall Scott and Allen Brown


The primary objective of this course is to provide a solid foundational understanding of visual and instrumental color assessment for industrial color production and control. This is an introductory course in which the student will gain a thorough appreciation for the three essential elements of color – light source, object, and observer – and how each of those impact visual and instrumental color assessment and control. This objective will be accomplished through a good mixture of presentations from industry experts and hands-on projects, while working in teams. The focus of the first day will be on visual assessment of color and the second day on instrumental assessment.

Who should attend? 

The course is designed for personnel in industry who find themselves responsible for color in their daily work but have not had formal training in the fundamentals of visual and instrumental color evaluation. This includes technical lab and quality control technicians, supervisors, and managers, designers, color matchers, salespeople, and marketing specialists. Students will come from a variety of industries, making several different kinds of materials, such as coatings, plastics, and textiles, for automotive, aerospace, architecture, appliances, and other materials and devices.

What you will learn:

  • The 3 Essential Elements of Color and how each affects visual and instrumental color evaluation
  • Exposure to common standards on visual and instrumental color assessment, such as SAE J361 and SAE J1545.
  • The subjectivity of visual color assessment and how to make it more objective
  • Color vision testing for defects and small color difference discrimination
  • Sufficient and proper terminology for verbal and written communication about color
  • The 3 attributes of color – hue, value, and chroma – and color order systems
  • What is metamerism? How to recognize it? And how to minimize it?
  • What is a spectrophotometer and how is it used in colorimetry / color measurement?
  • What is a spectral curve or reflectance curve and what can we learn from them?
  • The development of a color space, leading up to the 1976 CIE L*a*b* space
  • How to understand and work within the 1976 CIE L*a*b* color space?
  • Using dL* da* db* vs. dL* dC* dH* in day to day work
  • The usefulness and limitations of the 1976 CIE L*a*b* color space
  • Color tolerances in the 1976 CIE L*a*b* color space and Weighted Color Distance formulas
  • The nature of the problem of correlation between visual and instrumental assessment

Course Outline

Day One

  • Visual color match-analysis
  • Visual team-application projects
  • Material coloring processes
  • Student feedback on relevant industry practices

Day Two

  • Color measurement fundamentals
  • Team color measurement project
  • Optimizing color measurement practices
  • Team project and class presentation


For more information, please contact Professional Programs and Training at 734.487.2259 or email [email protected].

To enroll in a course, please visit our Polymers and Coatings registration site.