Jump to: Manufacturer Codes  |  Binder/Medium Codes

Category descriptions:
(All links open in new window)

Color Index Name Code:
This is the official code given by the Color Index International for that particular pigment. The first 2 letters describe the general pigment color and the number is the individual pigment identifier. N/A (not applicable) means that pigment has not been given a color index name or number.

PY = Pigment Yellow; PO = Pigment Orange; PR = Pigment Red; PV = Pigment Violet; PB = Pigment Blue; PG = Pigment Green; PBr = Pigment Brown; PBk = Pigment Black; PW = Pigment White; PM = Pigment Metal

CI (Color Index) Pigment Name:
This is the official name given in the Color Index (third edition, 1997), or the name the first manufacturer or original patent holder has given that pigment, in a few instances where neither of the previous are available, I have used the actual chemical name. Where a pigment has no color index name, I have used the traditional historic name or the mineral/chemical names.

Common, Historic and Marketing Names:
These are the various names that have been used for that pigment whether or not it is the correct usage. This is NOT an endorsement of any name but merely a collection of names that are in common usage or have been used. They have been culled (in order of importance) from paint manufacturer and supplier literature, The Color Index, Third edition (1997), Historical Books on pigments and art (see Free e-Books), and Artist manuals and handbooks (see the bottom of the Pigment Database's main page for a complete list of reference works). Marketing names given by paint manufacturers are often misleading, deceptive or descriptive of the color and not the actual pigment. Where there is a common historic name associated with that pigment I have used "GEN" to denote the generic common historically accepted name of that particular pigment. When a manufacturer has used a common historical name for a pigment that is not the accepted traditional historic pigment name, I have indicated it with the "(hue)" designation.

C.I. (Color Index) Pigment # (number):
These are the chemical composition number given that pigment by the Color Index International (see Colour Index Number Categories here)

Chemical Composition:
These are the basic chemical names, or mineral names along with chemical composition. Where I can fine them, I have included CAS numbers. Sometimes multiple names are given because chemical names can be stated in different ways or the pigment is a group of chemicals rather than a single one. I have not included detailed chemical descriptions or analyses but only basic information that should help you find further information. I have included references designated with "(Ref)" where further information can be attained.

Color Description:
This is a general attempt to explain the hue in plain English. The perception of color is as individual as the the people viewing it and any such description can not be completely accurate, but merely give a general idea of the what color looks like to the average person.

Opacity- Transparency*: 
The opacity and transparency is only a general reference, where available, i have used the Color index's designation or manufacturers literature to arrive at this figure. Many pigments exist in both transparent and opaque versions, or can be manipulated by the paint or pigment manufactures for a particular purpose. A general designation such as given will not always be the case in any particular formulation.

1 = Opaque,   2 = Semi-Opaque,   3 = Semi-Transparent,   4 = Transparent

Light Fastness Rating**: 
The light fastness rating is only a general reference, where available i have used the ASTM or manufacturers literature to arrive at this figure. The ASTM has not rated all pigments, so this rating in this database will not always be the ASTM rating but a rating culled from other sources, most importantly manufactures literature. The ASTM ratings have a 5 increment scale and the blue-wool scale is 8, in this database lighfastness ratings have been condensed or averaged to a less specific 4 designations. I can can not cover every possible paint, binder, or pigment formulation in this chart as it would take too much time and space. There are so many variables as to make this designation, in this database, of only marginal use. Blue Wool Scale will be given when known, be aware that these may from tests on a single formulation and may differ between brands or binders.

I = Excellent,   II = Good,   III = Poor,   IV = Fugitive/Very Poor

BWS (Blue Wool Scale):

7-8 = Excellent, 6 = Very Good, 4-5 = Fair (Impermanent), 2-3 Poor (fugitive), 1 = Very Poor (fugitive)*

*When known up to 3 blue wool scale ratings will be given for tints in the format Full;1/2 tint/;1/4 tint (i.e. Cadmium Red would be 8;8;8 with excellent light fastness in all tints). Note: these may from tests on a single formulation or pigment brand, and may not be valid for other brands or binders.

Oil Absorption: is in ml/100mg
The oil absorption figure has been arrived at from the pigment manufacturer's literature or artist reference sources (see the bottom of the Pigment Database's main page for a complete list of reference works).
When the specific numbers are unavailable:   H = High,   M = Medium,   L = Low

The hazardous properties is a general designation of a possible hazard. It is assumed intelligent people will use at least ordinary care when handling all paints or pigments. The designation has been arrived at from, in most cases, the manufacturer's literature, MSDS sheets at the Oxford University Chemical Laboratory., or the City of Tucson's Environmental Management Division's searchable database of Health & Safety in the Arts.

 A = Low hazard, but do not handle carelessly;   B = Possible Hazard if improperly or carelessly handled;  C = Hazardous, use appropriate precautions for handling toxic substances;   D = Extremely Toxic, only attempt working with this pigment (especially the dry form) in laboratory conditions and with proper safety equipment.

Side Notes:
These are typically interesting things I have read, or information collected on a pigment that may be worth further study. They are NOT statements of absolute fact. Many pigment qualities are rumors, old wife's tales and misconceptions repeated over and over until they accepted as fact without any scientific proof.

(hue) = When the word "hue" in in parenthesis (hue), it refers to a hue color not designated on the label, when the word "hue" is not in parenthesis is part of the pigment name as per ASTM guidelines.

(Ref) = A link to a reference source. This may be the source of the information I have given. or a link to more detailed information.

? = a question mark next to a name, note, or data code indicates that it may or may not be correct information due to conflicting information, questionable reference, possible typo or other discrepancies in the manufacturer or other reference documentation. Further study is needed to clarify.

Effects of long term light exposure are given when known, this may allow an artist to anticipate color changes and possibly use them as an advantage. These effects are all relative to the pigments inherent light fastness and may take decades or even centuries in museum conditions to be visible.
Fades = Becomes more Transparent;  Lightens = Loses chroma but maintains relative transparency or opaque character;  Whitens = Becomes lighter and more opaque;  Darkens = Becomes darker but retains hue;  Dulls = Loses chroma towards neutral;  Blackens = Turns very dark or black losing chroma;  Hue shift = Changes hue towards a different color

Paint or Pigment Manufacturer Code & Art Medium:*****

Paint/Pigment Manufacturer Code:  ^ Top
(links below are to the official manufacturer web site and will open in a new window)

AS = Art Spectrum

BR = Blueridge

BX = Blockx

CAS = C.A.S AlkydPro

CH = Charvin

CL = Classic, Triangle Coatings

CR = Chroma

DS = Daniel Smith

DR = Daler-Rowney

DV = Da Vinci

DB = Dick-Blick

DG = Daniel Green (discontinued?)

EP = Earth Pigments

GB = Gamblin

GEN = Common Generic term

GO = Golden

GR = Grumbacher

GU = Guerra Paint & Pigment

HO = Holbien

JO = Jo Sonja

KA = Kama Pigments

KP = Kremer Pigmente  (USA site)



Art medium or binder code:  ^ Top

Clicking on the paint or pigment manufacturer code next to the pigment name will take you off site where more information can be found. The link will most often take you to an art supplier where you can find more specific art medium or paint binder info, purchasing source, pigment properties, pigment history, MSDS sheets, and whether it is the artist premium or student economy grade.

d in italics next to the pigment manufacturer or art supplier code indicates a discontinued pigment or paint.
All art medium or binder codes in italics mean the pigment under that name is in the "student" or economy grade, not the "artist's" grade paint.

a = Acrylic Paint, heavy body;

ab = Acrylic Airbrush colors;

ad = Aqueous pigment dispersions;

af = Fluid Acrylics;

ag = Matte Arylic or Acrylic Gouache;

ao = open acrylics or slow drying

k = Alkyd paints;

c = Casein or milk paint;

d = Discontinued

e = Encaustic paints;

g = Traditional water color Gouache;

i = Ink (printing ink or pigmented drawing inks);

o = Oil Paint;

os = Oil Stick

p = Dry Pigment;

sp = soft pastels

t = Artist ProfessionalTempera or Egg Tempera;

w = Watercolor Paint in tubes;

wp = Watercolor Pan; wp = 1/2 pan, wp(f) = full pan, wp(L) = large pan

wo = Water mixable oil paint or water soluble oil paint.


am = Acrylic medium, may have a wide variety of ingredients or uses

om = Oil painting Medium, may have a wide variety of ingredients or uses

wm = Watercolor Medium, may have a wide variety of ingredients or uses

GEN = Where there is a generally accepted common historic name associated with a pigment, I have used "GEN" to denote the generic or common historical name of a particular pigment.

Other than gouache, only single pigment paints and pigments are included. Gouache is designated distinct from watercolors because it is often mixed with white or additives to make it matte and/or opaque and that is not usually indicated on the paint manufactures literature. Clicking on the art medium code will give you more specific paint binder information. Clicking on the art supplier's artistic medium code will also take you to more information on the paint pigment that may include: whether it is the "artists" premium or "student" grade, MSDS sheets, pigment history and additional artist paints or pigments hazard & environmental information.
Other art material or medium forms such as pastel, oil pastels, oil bars, dyes and ceramic glazes will not be designated with a artists medium or binder code, but may still be listed under the pigment name with a company code.

+++++In all cases clicking on the art medium/binder code will take you off site to where you can find more information and-or a purchasing source. If you find this site helpful you can help support this site by purchasing through these links. Thanks, and I hope I can continue to make this information available and current. The above links in this key are to the actual manufactures official sites.

©2014 by David Myers, All Rights Reserved