Traditionally, selecting paint colors during design has been a process where you refer to printed fan decks with colors grouped by hue and identified by manufacturers’ labeling systems. This has worked well, and will continue to do so. However, today there are also plenty of times when selecting colors digitally is also desirable and useful.

When renovation projects require matching paint colors to existing conditions, the common method is to use a paper fan deck, or to take a paint chip or sample to a local retailer who can use a digital reader to analyze and match the color. For those who need to do this a fair number of times, it would be easier to bring a digital reader to the site than bring the sample to the retailers.

If you are regularly involved in either or both of these situations, then there is some good news. A new app has been developed for computers and mobile devices that offers a virtual paint color fan deck. In addition, an affordable digital, mobile, color reader is now available that links to the app to identify existing colors. Here are the details:

Mobile Device App: A free app is now available that can be downloaded to any Apple or Android device (iPhone® IOS® v. 13 or higher, iPad® OS® or higher & Android™ 7.1 or higher). The Benjamin Moore Color PortfolioTM App is intended to make color selection easier and more efficient by supporting design efforts whether in the office, working remotely, or on the go. It offers convenient and helpful ways to both design and communicate ideas with colleagues or clients including:

  • Virtual Fan Decks The app is pre-loaded with the core Benjamin Moore fan decks, allowing designers to search and identify paint colors in a familiar way. Users can scroll through over 3,500 colors in the Color Preview®, Benjamin Moore Classics®, Historical Collection, Affinity®, Off-White Collection, and Designer Classics fan decks. Selected colors can be saved to the favorites section. It’s good to note that Light Reflectance Value (LRV) information is also available to view and save. The LRV slider tool can be found in the color grid layout of the fan decks. It allows for sorting colors by LRV, with the “min” referring to a low LRV, or darker color. Likewise, “max” refers to a higher LRV, or a lighter color.
  • Photo Visualization Digital photos taken on a personal device have been the norm for some time. Similarly, the use of computer-aided photo simulations of designs have been widespread in their use. The Color Portfolio app allows these two things to merge on a handheld device in one of two ways. First, the user can take a photo of a space, bring it into the app, and immediately start working with different colors. The process is as simple as tapping a surface in the photo and selecting a color to cover or mask that surface to visualize the change. Second, the app contains a library of included photos that can be used for demonstration purposes to similarly tap and re-color selected surfaces. In either case, the app becomes a powerful design visualization tool to try different iterations of color combinations—all very quickly and efficiently. Preferred schemes can be saved and viewed later or shared with others.
  • Video Visualization The app includes augmented reality (AR) capabilities to allow users to color or re-color surfaces in real time. As the handheld device is moved around, an image of the color choices can be saved.

Benjamin Moore ColorReader by Datacolor: For all of the times that matching paint colors is important, there is a new tool available that is completely portable and easy to use. A handheld, lightweight color reader is available to scan and analyze existing paint or material colors with over 90 percent accuracy. The Benjamin Moore ColorReader links to the mobile app and can display the results linked directly to the thousands of colors in fan decks loaded in the app. That makes it very quick and easy to specify a paint color to match a particular design. Simply place the sensing end of the ColorReader onto a level, flat portion of the color being looked at, activate, and see the results.

The Benjamin Moore ColorReader is manufactured and supported by Datacolor, who offers two different models for sale.

  • ColorReader is a small device that links to the phone and app via Bluetooth technology. It uses the app and the phone/device to display the results of the colors being analyzed. ColorReader currently retails for $99.
  • ColorReader Pro is a slightly larger device that also works in conjunction with the Color Portfolio app but can display results on either the phone/device, or on a small screen built into the ColorReader Pro. This would be most useful for designers or field personnel that do a lot of color matching and want the convenience of the different options. ColorReader Pro currently retails for $249.

These digital tools can make the process of selecting colors easy, portable, and comprehensive. To find out more about either the Benjamin Moore Color Portfolio App or the ColorReader devices, contact your Benjamin Moore representative. You can also visit the website: