NCS is a universal colour language which you can apply to all materials in all sectors worldwide during colour selection and colour communication.
NCS is an independent colour language, not associated with a brand or a collection.
Once you’ve learned to speak The Universal Language of Colour, you’ll be able to describe any colour at a glance. Plus using an NCS Notation, you can also quickly understand how a colour should look. Here’s how it works:
1. The three-dimensional world, in which each colour has its own distinct place, is built up around colour gradients between the six elementary colours in the system: yellow, red, blue, green, white and black. Each colour can be described by its degree of similarity to these six. When you’ve found the right colour, you’ll also see the description of the colour and its name.
2. We will take NCS S 1050Y90R as an example. Y90R describes the hue, 1050 the nuance.
3. The hue is the colour’s ‘family name’. It shows the degree of similarity between this colour and the two closest elementary colours: yellow and red. In this case, it’s 10% similar to yellow and 90% similar to red. In other words, a yellow comprised mainly of red. In between the elementary colours, or ‘true colours’, we find gradients that make up the NCS Colour Circle.
4. The ‘1050’ of NCS S 1050Y90R relates to the colour nuance and acts as the colour’s ‘first name’.
As shown, the figure 10 denotes that the colour is 10% similar to black, while 50 means that it has 50% of the maximum chromaticness. This means we’re looking at a relatively light reddish colour. The degree of whiteness is not included in the notation, but makes up the remaining 40% [i.e. 100% – (10 + 50)% = 40%]. All of the colours within the Y90R family are found in the same NCS Colour Triangle.
5. You now are capable to describe a colour by its notation. Someone who also speaks the universal colour language will immediately understand which colour you are talking about. In our example you are describing a colour with:
- has 10% blackness
- has 50% chromaticness
- has 40% whiteness and-is a yellow colour with 90% red in it.
If you find an S in front of the notation, it means that the colour is one of the 1 950 quality assured standard colours.