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Coats stories

Pick a colour, any colour…

…there are some 10 million to choose from

Range of colours

Pick a colour

As anyone working in the apparel and footwear industry knows - colour is a crucial aspect of fashion - the latest trends can be defined as much by colour, as by brand or product material.

‘Green’ can be this year’s on-trend emerald or the more classic racing; ‘Pink’ can be bubblegum, cerise or shocking; ‘Red’ - ruby, rusty or royal; and even the shade of plain old ‘Black’ can be altered by the type of finished applied to it.

So measuring colour accurately is critically important - but also incredibly challenging, for example:

•       The human eye can distinguish over 10 million different colours - but we lack the vocabulary to describe each of them

•       People can see the same colour differently - depending on how many light sensitive cells we have in our eyes and how long we stare at something

•       Location plays a role - different light sources and viewing angles can alter the appearance of colour - what looks like a perfect match in bright sunlight can look very different under artificial light

Understanding colour

The key to understanding colour is to adopt a scientific approach and get the basics right first time:

•       Where to look - always observe colour against a neutral grey background using a correctly calibrated specialist lighting cabinet 

•       How to look - always view a colour sample or thread at a 45 degree angle - this will give a consistent reflection of light

•       How to measure - ensure that samples have been exposed to a standardised temperature and humidity before measuring using a calibrated and correlated, high tolerance spectrophotometer.

Matching colour

This what we do at Coats each and every day. Drawing on more than 200 years of experience in the field of colour management, our dye-house experts work with customers to get the basics right and set industry standards.

But getting the basics right first time is not enough. The next crucial step is to match quickly and consistently, time and time again anywhere in the world.

At Coats we have developed ‘ColourStitch’ - our proprietary, digital colour management system - which not only gets colour matching and sampling right, but is also fully integrated into our supply chain management and links our 40+ dye-houses around the world. This means that what is standard in one dye house is standard in all our dye houses.

Colour management systems screen

And we are now using digital technology such as Coats Colour Express to offer ever faster lead-times for thread sampling, colour and stock matching.

Last year alone we produced over 150,000 distinct colour samples at our colour labs around the world to precisely match our customers' specifications.

And we will be doing more of the same for years to come… so go on, pick a colour.

Colour spectrum



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