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Official LEGO Color Palette Shared By The LEGO Company

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Official LEGO Color Palette Shared By The LEGO Company

Postby Staff » Thu Jan 28, 2010 12:00 pm

In a major milestone for improving relations between The LEGO Company and the AFOL community, Jan Beyer has sent out the official LEGO color palette for 2010 which includes their use of names and the exact color codes:


Hi-Res:

flickr page


This information is being disseminated throughout the AFOL sites, so you're bound to see this elsewhere.

Many thanks go to LEGO's Community Development team for making this happen.
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Permalink: http://www.fbtb.net/2010/01/28/official-lego-color-palette-shared-by-the-lego-company/
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Re: Official LEGO Color Palette Shared By The LEGO Company

Postby Solo » Thu Jan 28, 2010 1:13 pm

I call dibs on 135!
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Re: Official LEGO Color Palette Shared By The LEGO Company

Postby Draykov » Thu Jan 28, 2010 4:55 pm

Nifty!
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Re: Official LEGO Color Palette Shared By The LEGO Company

Postby theJudeAbides » Thu Jan 28, 2010 11:26 pm

Solo wrote:I call dibs on 135!

I call dibs on your Mom!



As usual, this just demonstrates my frustration with LEGO's color naming scheme. Why can't they just call them "Light Green" (what some refer to as Lime green), Green (the color that typically comes in brick boxes/carts), Dark Green? And what's the difference between their "Bright Green" and "Dark Green" (which is different from my "dark green," which they call "earth green")? Sand Green about the only name I can agree with them on.

What's this "medium blue" which is clearly not regular blue and darker than "light blue" but lighter than "dark blue"? How often is this color even used? Is this even a common color?

And don't even get me started on the greys (which has nothing to do with the grey/bley thing). I've bought a considerable amount of sets, and I've only ever seen what I call light grey and dark grey, so why do they have "light stone grey", "medium stone grey" and "dark stone grey"? Which corresponds to which, and which is the odd man out? How often is this "odd man out" color seen, anyways, because I've never run across it.

Of course there's "brick yellow," which is actually "tan." Is it really that hard for them to come up with better names for the colors. It's not like they're Crayola here.

Maybe it's more a complaint against this particualar chart, but it's obvious that certain colors are common and others aren't. The common colors; red, orange, yellow, green, blue, tan, brown, white, light grey, dark grey, and black should be called just that to identify them. Adding "bright" to the equation just makes things confusing. You may say, "It's just they're coloring system, and it doesn't really affect you," but you're wrong. This is the same naming system they use on their online PAB form, and is one of the reasons I don't like to use it. Who knows if the color you're ordering is the one you actually want.

Finally, there's the "numbering system" which really appears to be a "let's use a random-number generator to assign numbers"ing system. :facepalm:

Sigh... I know LEGO didn't have to put this out and that they did it as a gesture of good will. Still, it pains me that LEGO has such a disorganized and scatterbrained coloring system. I thought they were trying to get the whole color-pallete under control. Looking at this, it seems to me they still have a ways to go.
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Re: Official LEGO Color Palette Shared By The LEGO Company

Postby onions » Fri Jan 29, 2010 12:18 am

have you ever considered that it doesn't makes sense to you because you're outside the system? do you also complain about nuclear physics being too complicated and should be made to conform to your way of thinking?
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Re: Official LEGO Color Palette Shared By The LEGO Company

Postby etcknight » Fri Jan 29, 2010 10:53 am

I think it's nice that Lego put out this color scheme - but maybe I'm missing the point? What exact benefit is it to have access for AFOLs to this color scheme?
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Re: Official LEGO Color Palette Shared By The LEGO Company

Postby legodavee123 » Fri Jan 29, 2010 11:28 am

theJudeAbides wrote:Why can't they just call them "Light Green" (what some refer to as Lime green), Green (the color that typically comes in brick boxes/carts), Dark Green?


The answer boils down to a couple things that we know the answers to, and some that we can only speculate.

1) The colors in the past have been translations of the Danish names, often in "Danglish". So what might make sense in Danish might not translate well to English. Nowadays, they're more consistently based off of English (since the majority of their business language is English, I believe), but that hasn't always been true. So "Bright Blue", which has been around for many years, was probably initially a translation of Danish.

2) Historically, new colors get introduced and switched around. For instance, color #2 was "Grey", but that was discontinued between 2003/2004, and replaced with a new color of grey. So to ensure that there wasn't any confusion, they had to name the NEW grey something else. In fact, we've been told that they experimented with different varieties of grey in preparation for the color change, so it could be that the newly named grey (#194 Medium stone grey) actually was one of the names of colors used during testing to differentiate.

3) It's VERY important to get colors correct internally. Supposing for a moment that #28 was called "Green" rather than "Dark Green". Then, if I casually said "green", there are a wide variety of greens that I might mean. I may have MEANT "#28 Green", but I also might have meant "#37 Bright Green" or "#25 Medium Green" or "#75 Bright Green", since they're each greens. Hence, having a more specific name gives greater assurance of clarity. If I said "Green" with the current color names, however, you'd know that I was being too general, and greater specificity may be required.

That last one has been a personal annoyance of mine for BrickLink. BrickLink did NOT change the name of "Light Gray" in its system to something else when the color change happened. So now, you get plenty of people who don't know any better, and are looking for replacement parts in #194 (new gray), but selecting #2 (old gray), because they don't have a clue that "Light Bluish Gray" is actually the color that they want. As a result, the precious last bits of old gray are being scooped up by people who don't even WANT them, because there's ambiguity in the term "Light Gray". If the color name were changed to be more complex, then people would be FORCED to learn about which color it was that they really wanted, because the truth is more complex than you'd like to imagine.

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Re: Official LEGO Color Palette Shared By The LEGO Company

Postby legodavee123 » Fri Jan 29, 2010 11:39 am

etcknight wrote:I think it's nice that Lego put out this color scheme - but maybe I'm missing the point? What exact benefit is it to have access for AFOLs to this color scheme?


Mostly just because fans want that sort of information. There are times, however, when it's useful. When we say "tan", that doesn't mean anything to a LEGO employee. What's "tan", after all? So whenever we communicate with LEGO (replacement parts, LUGBULK, LDraw development, BrickLink catalog coordination, etc), it comes in handy to know what the translation is between "fan-speak" and "internal-speak".

But the real reason (I suspect) is to make us feel better about our relationship with the company. The people who really want or need to know the internal designations for colors pretty much already know it. LEGO has a direct line of communication with a lot of AFOLs, and those AFOLs can find out color names and numbers pretty readily, I'm sure. However, for the REST of the hobbyist community, there's very little interaction with LEGO directly. This is a way of giving that extra little "perk" of transparency and insight that makes fans happy, because they get a chance to see even a little bit of how the company works inside. It's a far cry from the company's business practices pre-1999, when the only real interaction was through their customer service reps. The color palette list is something that they can give to fans without any real negative consequence, so it's a great way to help involve the fans and give us some extra info that we wouldn't otherwise see.

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Re: Official LEGO Color Palette Shared By The LEGO Company

Postby jedi_master_sal » Fri Jan 29, 2010 11:55 am

I'd give an additional answer. Not only does this help with business/fan relations, but now fans who want to buy/trade/sell pieces can call them by LEGO's official names. Then there is NO confusion if you're using the official names of the colors.

I think it was nice of LEGO to do. Maybe not completely necessary, but a very nice gesture, nonetheless.

I don't think there is any harm in LEGO sharing this with fans. (Unless there is some diabolical plot by some fans to break into LEGO's warehouse of parts and steal a certain color brick....) Those who monitor the interwebs can then look out for those official names in posts and e-mails and nab the Brick Robbers! :lol:
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Re: Official LEGO Color Palette Shared By The LEGO Company

Postby legodavee123 » Fri Jan 29, 2010 12:26 pm

jedi_master_sal wrote:I don't think there is any harm in LEGO sharing this with fans. (Unless there is some diabolical plot by some fans to break into LEGO's warehouse of parts and steal a certain color brick....)


Actually, LEGO's legal team had BIG issues with this back when we asked for the list in 2002 or so. Jake essentially assumed that it would be fine to hand out the color palette, but double checked with legal and found that their answer was a resounding "NO!" Turns out, LEGO was actually being protective of the RGB, CMYK, and Pantone values because they were worried about competitors being able to make things look more like official LEGO products. However, as Jake pointed out to them, a quick couple hundred bucks (or less) is all it takes to buy a scanner to extract as many actual values as you want. So it's really not a big hurdle for any serious competitor-- but the added value for fans is much larger! So eventually, he was able to convince them of this, and we got the list in 2003.

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Re: Official LEGO Color Palette Shared By The LEGO Company

Postby Jedi Jimmy » Fri Jan 29, 2010 1:11 pm

And don't even get me started on the greys (which has nothing to do with the grey/bley thing). I've bought a considerable amount of sets, and I've only ever seen what I call light grey and dark grey, so why do they have "light stone grey", "medium stone grey" and "dark stone grey"? Which corresponds to which, and which is the odd man out? How often is this "odd man out" color seen, anyways, because I've never run across it.


Its clear just from looking what corresponds to what and the lego system makes more sense than the bricklink one

Lego - Bricklink
Light Stone Grey - Very Light Bluish Gray
Medium Stone Grey - Light Bluish Gray
Dark Stone Grey - Dark Bluish Gray

Light Stone Grey is not used often but a quick search on bricklink reveals these sets http://www.bricklink.com/catalogList.asp?catType=S&colorInSet=99
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Re: Official LEGO Color Palette Shared By The LEGO Company

Postby meeotch » Fri Jan 29, 2010 1:42 pm

You know, DaveE, I was just going to bring up the RGBs. When I first saw this thread and its contents, I was excited because it was a digital document that I (and others like myself) could use in our Photoshop et. al. work to get official LEGO-true colors for my LEGO-related digital products. I was trying to create my own template for mosaics in Photoshop a few months back and had quite a difficult time of it, going back and forth between the Peeron values and the Bricklink values, trying the eyedropper, using logic to eliminate colors that are no longer produced, comparing names that didn't match with LEGO internal sources. It was a mess. This document would have really helped out with the process, and I may just do it over to make my pallet as consistent as I can with LEGO's.
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Re: Official LEGO Color Palette Shared By The LEGO Company

Postby theJudeAbides » Fri Jan 29, 2010 4:42 pm

legodavee123 wrote:That last one has been a personal annoyance of mine for BrickLink. BrickLink did NOT change the name of "Light Gray" in its system to something else when the color change happened. So now, you get plenty of people who don't know any better, and are looking for replacement parts in #194 (new gray), but selecting #2 (old gray), because they don't have a clue that "Light Bluish Gray" is actually the color that they want.

I tend to disagree with you there, legodavee. I generally prefer the Bricklink names over LEGO's. However, I will concede the grays name point to you. Calling them "light bluish gray" is confusing at best. Just looking at the new light grays, they in no way seem "bluish" in any way, shape, or form. So when a non-initiated person looks at their parts and says "hmm, I need a grey part" and then look at the colors on Bricklink, they see "greys" and "bluish greys" and figure the bluish greys are some rare color or something, and order the greys. The only way to know that the new greys are bluish is to compare to the old greys, and even then it's more "brightish" than "bluish." Bricklink should change to old greys to "Old Light Grey" and "Old Dark Grey" and then just make the newer greys "Light Grey" and "Dark Grey." Other than those, though, I really think Bricklink's name system is far superior. LEGO should take notes.

Anyways, I made a chart to map the LEGO colors to Bricklink colors. I'm not 100% on all of the colors (mainly the rarer ones), especially what LEGO calls "Medium Nougat." If those more knowledgable than me note any mistakes/problems, please identify them and I'll fix them.

As a side note, does anybody else find it disturbing that LEGO refers to the flesh tones as "Nougat"? What am I, some kind of tasty desert to them? I know "Flesh" may not be 100% PC, but I still think it would be a far more appropriate name than one commonly used to describe the center of a Snickers bar.

Anywho, on with the chart:
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Re: Official LEGO Color Palette Shared By The LEGO Company

Postby Puddleglum » Fri Jan 29, 2010 10:50 pm

theJudeAbides wrote:I tend to disagree with you there, legodavee. I generally prefer the Bricklink names over LEGO's. However, I will concede the grays name point to you. Calling them "light bluish gray" is confusing at best. Just looking at the new light grays, they in no way seem "bluish" in any way, shape, or form. So when a non-initiated person looks at their parts and says "hmm, I need a grey part" and then look at the colors on Bricklink, they see "greys" and "bluish greys" and figure the bluish greys are some rare color or something, and order the greys. The only way to know that the new greys are bluish is to compare to the old greys, and even then it's more "brightish" than "bluish." Bricklink should change to old greys to "Old Light Grey" and "Old Dark Grey" and then just make the newer greys "Light Grey" and "Dark Grey." Other than those, though, I really think Bricklink's name system is far superior. LEGO should take notes.


There was a thread about this on BrickLink recently, someone was proposing changing the names so it was clearer. If I recall, at a minimum they were proposing changing, for example, "Grey" to "Grey (Discontinued 2003)", or something like that, so new people wouldn't order the wrong color.

EDIT: Found it: http://www.bricklink.com/message.asp?ID=418801. Needless to say, it produced quite a bit of discussion.
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Re: Official LEGO Color Palette Shared By The LEGO Company

Postby legodavee123 » Sat Jan 30, 2010 12:08 am

theJudeAbides wrote: I made a chart to map the LEGO colors to Bricklink colors. I'm not 100% on all of the colors (mainly the rarer ones), especially what LEGO calls "Medium Nougat." If those more knowledgable than me note any mistakes/problems, please identify them and I'll fix them.


I'd advise using the Peeron color chart, or just starting with it if you want something with finer granularity. It cross-references the LEGO, Bricklink, Peeron, and LDraw colors.

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Re: Official LEGO Color Palette Shared By The LEGO Company

Postby ThinkingImpaired » Wed Feb 03, 2010 3:13 pm

I see a lot of very close colors. Wish it was a little simpler so you could have more of each color instead of random parts from every rare color that comes by.
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Re: Official LEGO Color Palette Shared By The LEGO Company

Postby thepatient » Sat Feb 06, 2010 8:52 pm

theJudeAbides wrote:
As a side note, does anybody else find it disturbing that LEGO refers to the flesh tones as "Nougat"? What am I, some kind of tasty desert to them? I know "Flesh" may not be 100% PC, but I still think it would be a far more appropriate name than one commonly used to describe the center of a Snickers bar.


I know what you mean, but I can see the otherside too. Calling it "flesh" sets some sort of standard. We all know that flesh comes in all kind of hues. Nougat however is a little creepy- especially the way you put it. I would have suggested calling it bisque. Traditionally in my line of work, that's what that color would be called.

Then again it might annoy LEGO customer service reps when they have to hear, "I would like a replacement head in the biskay color..." hundreds of times a week. :|
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Re: Official LEGO Color Palette Shared By The LEGO Company

Postby meeotch » Sun Feb 07, 2010 10:39 am

I don't mind the white people being called "nougat", but the black people should be called "brown sugar." XD
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Re: Official LEGO Color Palette Shared By The LEGO Company

Postby TheBohrok » Wed Feb 17, 2010 1:18 pm

I've got a quick question. I was wondering if LEGO's piece-printing method uses the exact same colors as their bricks? I ask because I'm making some decals I wanted to know if I should use Peeron's RGB values for those.
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Re: Official LEGO Color Palette Shared By The LEGO Company

Postby legodavee123 » Wed Feb 17, 2010 2:48 pm

TheBohrok wrote:I've got a quick question. I was wondering if LEGO's piece-printing method uses the exact same colors as their bricks? I ask because I'm making some decals I wanted to know if I should use Peeron's RGB values for those.


You should just try it and see what comes closest.

If you're persnickity enough to want to match the exact color of a printed area on a colored brick, you're going to need to delve a lot deeper.

The truth is that RGB is a completely different thing than the color of a brick. When your computer prints something to your color printer, you don't print an RGB value-- you print something called CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, blacK). I'm not sure where the conversion is done, but I'm told that different computer programs and/or different printers and/or different printer drivers have their own methods for converting RGB into CMYK. None of them are perfect, because they're not the same thing. And when you print it out from PhotoShop on an inkjet printer from a Mac, you'll get a different color than when you print the same RGB value out from Windows Paint on a color laser printer from a PC, each of which might be completely different from a LEGO brick.

Really, what you want is the CMYK color (which was given to Peeron for some colors back in 2003). That, in theory, gives you something that your printer should match. But even that can depend on the type of printer you have, or how much ink of a particular color you've got in it.

That's about as much as I know. There are probably some color gurus out there who can explain it a lot better than I can-- going into Pantone colors and so forth. But suffice to say, the RGB value isn't going to suffice if you're after perfection. You're going to have to play with it on your computer and your printer in order to match.

As for whether or not LEGO uses the same colors? That's hard to say. Certainly, if they DO, the colors don't match. LEGO does its printing by partially embedding the ink into the plastic, which is already colored. So you don't get a perfect match anyway. The easy way to tell this is to find a minifig torso with a V-neck collar, showing the partial yellow chest. Now, compare that color of yellow to the yellow on a brick (this is easier to do than comparing the yellow of the head, since the head is curved). You'll probably notice that the colors don't line up perfectly.

Also, some elements are printed differently than others. The strength of the print can vary regardless-- but in recent years, we've noticed (as has been documented on Classic-Castle, I think) that some torsos that are printed in China can be significantly different color-wise than those printed elsewhere.

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