The Challenge of Choosing Colour Online

We've been asked by a number of customers recently how they can choose colours online or if we can  colour match based on a digital image. We completely understand the need and desire to choose colour online or remotely at the moment. However, colour matching across digital platforms poses a particularly unique challenge. 

Have you ever ordered art, a poster, a device or clothing online and when it arrived the colour looked marginally or indeed, drastically, different to the photo? The reason for this may be due to how colour translates from a physical object to an image and how that image is replicated digitally. 

Digital images are made up of pixels and each pixel is stored as three numbers representing Red, Blue and Green. However, many applications, including phones and other devices, are not colour managed (the primary goal of color management is to obtain a good colour match across devices). They send the raw numbers to the display and not the full complex structure of the colours themselves. This means that, a lot little like a game of Chinese Whispers, they are not always a correct representation of the original colour.

As a result, the colour of paint samples can look different to their digital representatives. We have recreated this effect in the image below. You will notice a subtle difference between the two images from left to right. However, to get a better idea of how colour can change from one device to another, take a look at the photo below on an Android device compared to an Apple device or a mobile device compared to a desktop. Different right? 

We therefore advise caution when trying to choose your colour scheme based exclusively on digital images or photos. There is no doubt this is a good place to start. However, we always suggest trying samples of your chosen colour out in your home before committing to a larger purchase. This will also give you an idea of how the colour looks in your desired setting and how it adapts to changes in light throughout the day. Taking this extra step helps ensure you make the right colour choice for your home.