The Science of Color

Science of Color

Different colors have been found to have distinct effects on our emotions, moods, and our overall health. Our insight lets you choose colors that can improve your quality of life.

Finish Types

ECOS Interior Matte wall paint is a very low sheen, protective finish that dries to a hard, durable film. Ideal for walls, its low light reflectance lets it mask some flaws or imperfections on many substrates. Not recommended for high moisture areas like kitchens or bathrooms, where ECOS Eggshell wall paint is preferred.
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ECOS Interior Eggshell wall paint is a low sheen, protective finish that dries to a hard, durable film. Ideal for kitchens, bathrooms and other high moisture area, this finish is extremely hard wearing and is highly washable. This finish is also ideal for high traffic areas.
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ECOS Interior Semi-Gloss wall paint is a medium to high sheen protective finish that dries to a hard, durable film. Semi-Gloss and Gloss finishes are ideal for highlighting trim and other detail elements.
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ECOS Interior Gloss wall paint is a high sheen, protective finish that dries to a hard, durable film,. Semi-Gloss and gloss finishes are ideal for highlighting trim and other detail elements. High Gloss finishes will, however, show any imperfections so you’ll want to consider the condition of your surface before choosing this finish type, especially for larger surfaces.

Light Reflectance Value

Each color in the ECOS System color line has an associated Light Reflectance Value (LRV). In architecture and design, LRV is a measure of visible and usable light that is reflected from a surface when illuminated by a light source.
The WELL Building Standard lists recommendations for the LRV of certain surfaces in a space to create spaces that are comfortable to be in. For example, it is recommended that ceilings have an average LRV of 80% or more for at least 80% of surface area in regularly occupied spaces and that walls have average LRV of 70% or more for at least 50% of surface area directly visible from regularly occupied spaces.

Circadian Rhythm

A circadian rhythm is a roughly 24-hour cycle in the physiological processes of living beings, including humans. In a strict sense, circadian rhythms are generated from within the organism, although they can also be modulated by external cues such as sunlight and temperature.
The body’s response to color has evolved over millions of years to correspond to the color of daylight perceived throughout the course of a day. A combination of lighting and paint color choices for certain spaces can be used to support the body’s natural circadian rhythm.
The color wheel to the left shows the approximate color spectrum and hues of light that the body naturally expects to experience at particular times of the day.

Color Rendering | Color Temperature

The color of light in a space has a dramatic effect on the color rendering of all of the objects in that space. The following pages give a sense of how each of the ECOS System colors will appear under both cool and warm lighting conditions. The images below show an example of a room rendered in cool light (left) and warm light (right). All light bulbs have a color temperature rating that can help you determine if your space will fall more within the warm range or the cool range of color rendering. Sky conditions and solar orientation also have an affect on color.

Color Rendering | Solar Orientation and Sky Conditions

Solar Orientation and Sky Conditions
Sunlight ranges in color based on the orientation from which it’s being received. Light from the north (in the northern hemisphere) tends to be cooler and bluish whereas light from the south tends to be warmer and yellow-orangish.
This difference in light coloration has an effect on the color rendering of objects in a space - including paint color.
Sky conditions also affect color rendering. Below are the color temperatures (in Kelvin, a unit of measurement) for various sky conditions. Higher temperatures represent cooler colors and lower values represent warmer colors.
Partly cloudy - 8000K to 10000K,
Outdoor Shade - 7000K to 8000K,
Overcast - 6000K to 7500K, 
Haze - 5500K to 6000K, 
Clear at Noon - 5000K to 5400K, 
Clear at Sunrise/Sunset - 2000K to 3000K

Color and Human Response

Different color hues have been found to have different effects on our emotions, moods, and our overall health. While color isn’t the only ingredient to creating a healthy environment, it does play a significant role. Here are a few descriptive terms for each of the basic hue families derived from research focused on color and psychology. Notice that certain hues have different effects on human response depending on what surface they’re applied to. These descriptors are meant to help get you started in choosing one hue over another depending on your goals for your space. Keep in mind that this in only a general guide and that varying the lightness and saturation of a given hue can also change the feeling of a space. These descriptors were sourced from Color, Environment, and Human Response by Frank H. Mahnke.

Color Rendering | Cool Light (6000K to 10000K)

A cool color filter has been applied to these color wheels to give a sense of what each of the ECOS System colors might look like under cool lighting conditions. Notice the difference in the colors using this filter compared to the warm color filter on the following page.

Color Rendering | Warm Light (1500K to 3000K)

A warm color filter has been applied to these color wheels to give a sense of what each of the ECOS System colors might look like under warm lighting conditions. Notice the difference in the colors using this filter compared to the cool color filter on the previous page.

Glossary of Terms

Analogous - Analogous colors (also known as dominance harmony) are groups of colors that are adjacent to each other on the color wheel, with one being the dominant color (which tends to be a primary or secondary color), and two on either side complementing (which tend to be a tertiary).
Circadian Rythm - A daily rhythmic activity cycle based on 24-hour intervals that is exhibited by many organisms.
Complementary - Colors directly opposite each other in the color spectrum such that when combined in the right proportions, they produce a grayscale color. When paired, they provide striking contrast.
Declare - The Declare label is a materials health and transparency “nutrition label” for the building industry. It is an initiative of the International Living Future institute.
Ectothermic - Of or related to an organism that regulates its body temperature largely by exchanging heat with its surroundings. Colloquially referred to as “cold-blooded”.
Epiphyte - a epiphyte is a plant that grown harmlessly upon another plan (such as a tree) and derives its moisture and nutrients from the air, rain, and sometimes from debris accumulating around it.
Halophyte - A halophyte is a plant that grows in waters of high salinity, coming into contact with saline water through its roots or by salt spray, such as in saline semi-deserts, mangrove swamps, marshes and sloughs and seashores.
Health Product Declaration - The Health Product Declaration Collaborative is an organization working to improve the transparency, openness and innovation of the building industry. The HPD Certification label provides a standardized format for disclosure of product contents.
Herbaceous - Herbaceous plants (in botanical use frequently simply herbs) are plants that have no persistent woody stem above ground.
Homeothermic - Maintaining a relatively constant body temperature tat is independent of the temperature of the surrounding environment.
Light Reflectance Value - The LRV is a measure of visible and usable light that is reflected from a surface when illuminated by a light source.
Perennial - A perennial is a plant that lives for more than two years. The term is often used to differentiate a plant from shorter-lived annuals and biennials.
Primary - Te group of three colors from which all other colors can be obtained by mixing: red, yellow, and blue.
Secondary - The group of three colors that result from the mixing of any two primaries: orange, green, and purple.
Split complementary - A variation of the complementary color scheme. In addition to the base color, it uses the two “analogous” colors adjacent to its complement. It has the same strong visual contrast and the complementary color scheme, but with less pressure.
Tertiary - The group f 6 colors that result from mixing a primary or secondary color with an adjacent primary or secondary color: magenta, vermillion, amber, chartreuse, teal, and violet.
Tetradic - This color scheme (also known as double complementary) is the richest of all the schemes because it uses four colors arranged in two complementary color pairs. This scheme is hard to harmonize and requires a color to be dominant or subdue the color. If all colors are used in equal amounts, the scheme may look unbalanced.
Triadic - This color scheme uses three colors equally spaced around the color wheel. This scheme tends to be quite vibrant, even when using pale hues, offering a high degree of contrast while retaining color harmony.
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) - VOCs are organic chemicals that have a high vapor pressure at ordinary room temperature. Their high vapor pressures results from a low boiling point, which causes large numbers of molecules to evaporate or sublimate form the liquid or solid arm of the compound and enter the surrounding air. Some VOCs are dangerous to man health or cause harm to the environment.

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