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NCS Exterior

A special collection of 322 Exterior colours selected as being most suited to the exterior environment. The Exterior Design Guide included with the boxed set highlights some of the main issues which have been taken into account in compiling the collection including colourfastness and sustainability of pigments, inherent and perceived colour, and historical and contemporary exterior colour. The fanbook includes 252 matt façade colours with page size 50 x 140mm and a further 70 low sheen colours for trim with 5 colours per page. Presented in a sturdy slipcase together with an Exterior Design Guide. Light reflectance values (LRV) are included for decisions regarding heat absorption of surfaces, while visual lightness values are given for making creative judgments.

A special collection of 322 Exterior colours selected as being most suited to the exterior environment. The Exterior Design Guide included with the boxed set highlights some of the main issues which have been taken into account in compiling the collection including colourfastness and sustainability of pigments, inherent and perceived colour, and historical and contemporary exterior colour. The fanbook includes 252 matt façade colours with page size 50 x 140mm and a further 70 low sheen colours for trim with 5 colours per page. Presented in a sturdy slipcase together with an Exterior Design Guide. Light reflectance values (LRV) are included for decisions regarding heat absorption of surfaces, while visual lightness values are given for making creative judgments.

We are currently completing a new CPD on Exterior Colour Design, which explains some useful aspects of choosing colours for exteriors.

• How colours look outside

• Traditional colours

• The colour identity of an area and its surroundings

How colours look outside

The perception of façade colours is not constant. It changes with the position of the observer, the distance, the weather, the season, the light, etc. One of the main effects is that we think the colours we see are lighter and brighter than they actually are: less black and more chromatic. In other words a colour sample that may look slightly dull in the studio will look stronger and lighter on a façade. Several factors may be responsible for this change in perception. These are colour samples from a study where a number of architects were asked to make judgements about the colour of buildings from a distance (the perceived colour) and then to match the actual, inherent colour by putting colour samples against the surface.

We are all aware of the change in perceived colour over longer distances. We see it frequently in photographs or when we look out over a distance of hills and trees. Since many buildings appear in surroundings of natural vegetation it is useful to know a little more about the inherent colours of nature and the NCS System can be useful in mapping, analysing and plotting these colours. All green inherent colours have some yellowness and tend to have hues G40Y and G50Y and nuances 5040 to 6030. However we have seen how green colours become bluer as the viewing distance increases – so if you want your building to look green at a distance a more yellow green hue should be chosen.

Distance also affects how light and dark colours are perceived, regardless of hue. The difference in lightness between a building and its surroundings is probably the most important factor contributing to recognition of its form, particularly at a distance when difference in hue may not be so apparent. Even at close range the difference in lightness between colours is important for defining different parts of a façade. NCS Exterior includes a table of visual lightness and LRVs.

Traditional colours

Whether products are made traditionally or take advantage of new technology the colours that can be created using traditional pigments can be described by NCS using a mapping process where each pigment is mixed with either linseed oil or with lime wash. This gives an understanding of the colours that could be achieved and those that would not fit into a historical context.

Historically the exteriors of buildings depended to a large extent on locally available stone, bricks and pigments. (The illustration shows a palette of local colours created by Jean Phillipe Lenclos). In maintaining old buildings or creating new buildings it is important to have an awareness of this legacy. Some coatings companies have revived the practice of using traditional, and sometimes local, pigments. Colour selected for exterior use can benefit from some knowledge of traditional pigments. Colours used for facades tend to be lighter while deeper colours using more pigment may be more expensive to produce.

The colour identity of an area and its surroundings

An area, its buildings and surroundings are often unique and will have very particular colour characteristics. Many cities around the world have now developed colour plans to ensure their unique character. Examples of these are Moscow, Hong Kong, and Lisbon where plans have all been based on the same type of analysis using NCS.

The award winning ‘Design guide and colour study’ by the architects department at Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council showed a commitment to ensure good design throughout the region. Colour is one of seven design principles used collectively in planning considerations.

The comprehensive colour study was based on days of on-site research across the borough, using NCS to identify key colours. Four distinct colour palettes were developed to reflect the colours found and observed in each area - areas that vary from moorland to industrial. Referencing the colours to the NCS Colour System ensures that these colour palettes can be translated accurately and successfully into the built environment. More information on this and other case studies can be found on our website.

NCS colour training

We offer free access online CPD units and run two full day workshop style colour courses.

For further information

www.ncscolour.co.uk

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