faron/funcolors: C2 and Aura now truly full spectrum?

wormgirlJuly 16, 2014

Hi experts and anyone else who can offer info...

It's been 2.5 years since I last painted and I see a lot's changed in the paint world. I have been a dedicated EK girl till now. But I see that C2 is now calling themselves full spectrum. Is that really true?

Also, why can't I find a C2 fandeck to buy online? Everyone is out of stock right now.

What about Aura? BM is much more accessible to me, but I saw some nightmare posts about people having to remove their drywall to get rid of the smell? Do you two know anything about this?

By the way, Faron, I was thinking of you when I bought some Royal primer the other day. (Started to paint EK Berry Red - wish someone would have told me about priming, as I wasted a lot of effort and paint!) The primer was really great, much better than Zinsser! Now I decided I like the room grey better, so I'm starting over choosing a color. LOL!

Thanks everyone for any input you have.

Jenn (wormgirl)

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Christopher Nelson Wallcovering and Painting

Aura is fine

    Bookmark   July 16, 2014 at 6:15PM
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Lori A. Sawaya

Hi Jenn. Good to see you again.

I know Ellen. So I know how and why her colors are full spectrum. I know she qualifies full spectrum by including all the hue families in the can. Even whites.

Benjamin Moore Color Stories - I really don't know for sure.

C2 - I really don't know.

If one were the suspicious kind, one might think that paint companies caught on to the marketability of "full spectrum" and decided to start using it to sell paint.

I've read a few things that struck me as super smarmy. For example, there was a statement about full spectrum not really having a definition, that full spectrum could not be defined.

Which would be an incredibly convenient statement to make if you were trying to use "full spectrum" phrasology as a marketing ploy.

While it may be true that there is no formal definition in any standard or technical paper, It seems like âÂÂfull spectrumâ defines itself, doesnâÂÂt it?

âÂÂFullâ implies all of something. âÂÂSpectrumâ in mathematical and engineering circles can mean an infinite array of some sort or another.

However, for the average person milling about in paint and color circles âÂÂspectrumâ brings to mind ROYGBIV, the visible spectrum. In case you donâÂÂt know ROYGBIV, it is the clever acronym for the spectral order of hue families in the rainbow: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet.

Although I admit it is hard to fit full spectrum paint colors into a neat and tidy box, thereâÂÂs no denying what âÂÂfull spectrumâ implies to the consumer. And any company that choose to twist that without qualifying and quantifying exactly what they mean by "full spectrum" should be taken to task.

Last but not least, I'd hope they'd have the technical color knowledge needed to be able to explain full spectrum in their terms. Because if they can't, then they shouldn't call their paint full spectrum.

But when top executives of paint companies are quoted in shelter mags speaking to trends with statements like "colors with warm red and yellow undertones will be popular next season", I'm not holding my breath on that full spectrum quantifying and qualifying stuff.

Unlikely any of that answered your question. But "full spectrum" is a bit of a slippery slope out there right now.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2014 at 2:57AM
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Hey Lori. I do believe you have answered my question. :-) At least I get where you stand on it. I did read a little bit about that myself, about "full-spectrum can't be defined." I wasn't particularly impressed. I also just read your article about undertones, so I know where you stand on that too!

By the way I also read your article about gray, and that's been very helpful to me. I have some Barbara Jacobs gray samples on the way to me, as well as some C2 gray samples. I thought full-spectrum gray was a weird idea - until I read your article! Ellen just doesn't have the gray that I'm thinking of in her collection.

I guess I wondered if anyone knew if the paint formulas have been changed since C2 started calling themselves full-spectrum. I bet Faron can answer that one.

Lori, do you have any experience with C2 paint? Do you like the colors and the paint formula?

As always, thanks so much for your expertise. I hadn't looked at your website in a while and I was really enjoying the information there.


    Bookmark   July 18, 2014 at 11:05AM
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there was a statement about full spectrum not really having a definition, that full spectrum could not be defined.

there is no legal or scientific definition for "full spectrum" paint.

It's like "natural" ingredients ... a feel-good marketing tool.


I would like to see a blind testing of "full spectrum" paints against a good ordinary brand. Paint rooms or large panels and have these coloristas identify which of the pair is full spectrum.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2014 at 4:25PM
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Lori A. Sawaya

I do have a little experience with C2. Have the deck. Had a few virtual clients use the paint. One DIY, the other contractors. The paint got rave reviews. But it's been quite a while since I've spec'd any.

I do like the C2 palette. Although it desperately needs order and a system - and LRV listed in the index. You pull some of the strips and think "ok, this makes sense" yet you pull other strips and think "WTH are all these colors doing on the same strip?"

I've thumbed thru the deck several times and fail to see the logic - so have to assume there is none to be found in the deck and an in-store experience is -maybe- different?

It looks like C2 may subscribe to the color-rookie meme about only 20% of any color collection is viable, usable. And that's a problem when you compare C2 to the bigger players in paint world. The bigger players with experienced color labs would never cut 80% of their collection. There are multiple reasons why that is so.

Looking at C2's deck, it tells me the engine behind it are people who know paint really well, but what they do not have is the caliber of color expertise needed to compete. As a color pro, it's more expensive for me to spec C2 because they lack an efficient system and so it takes longer to find the right color.

The usual retort to that is a "color pro" should be able to use their magical color talents and intuition and 'scan a deck and within seconds find the right color'. And that's a blend of fairy tale and bullsh1t. Professional color is as much tactical as it is talent. It's a balance. And the brands that support that balance with smart color tools win in the pro market every time.

Like any brand, C2 has the ability to mix full spectrum paint. And, like I've said a million times before, just because there is no black in the mix, that doesn't mean it's full spectrum.

There are an infinite number of paint colors in all brands that do not have black in the mix. And all that means is, they don't have black in the mix.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2014 at 4:37PM
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Lori A. Sawaya


I'm sure you didn't mean to take what I said out of context. So, let me repost my COMPLETE point just to be clear: (except I spelled phraseology wrong the first time):

"For example, there was a statement about full spectrum not really having a definition, that full spectrum could not be defined.

Which would be an incredibly convenient statement to make if you were trying to use "full spectrum" phraseology as a marketing ploy.

While it may be true that there is no formal definition in any standard or technical paper, It seems like âÂÂfull spectrumâ defines itself, doesn't it?"

    Bookmark   July 18, 2014 at 4:51PM
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Lori, thanks so much for the clarification.

I have seen several posts where people said they would like to see a double-blind test. I would love to see that too! I'm not even any kind of color expert. But I do feel confident that I can tell the difference. I know that Ellen for instance has matched certain BM paint colors for folks. I am positive I could tell the difference between the two side-by-side. There's a richness and depth - and a subtlety - of the color that isn't there otherwise.

As a matter of fact, I once had a really good paint guy try to match an EK color. He did a very good job matching the basic color. He came as close as possible, I believe. But Ellen's looked very different. It was obvious the difference between the two. It was a bright green. The regular paint color looked a bit garish, possibly overwhelming. But you could've done a whole room in Ellen's version of it and have it look really nice.

I'm not trying to convert anyone to full-spectrum color. Your mileage may vary! But I think the best way of explaining Ellen's colors is this: you don't have that experience of putting the paint up on the wall, and saying "wow, I didn't think was going to look like that!" it might look slightly different than you visualized, but it's never displeasing.


    Bookmark   July 18, 2014 at 8:24PM
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Lori A. Sawaya

Well here's the thing that's changed significantly in the last, I dunno maybe 18 months or so...

There are now hand-held colorimeters that cost less than $300 (with accompanying apps) available to anybody and everybody.

What that means is you can measure the colors. No need for a blind test - we've evolved waaaaay beyond that.

Granted a comparison using qualified observers (people) would still be interesting, I suppose, for some people.

But if you're just wanting to answer the question, "is paint color mixed full spectrum really different from regular paint color using black.", it's ridiculously easy to answer it. Like stupid easy. And the data leaves no room for argument.

The spectral distribution of the two colors will be different. Spectral power distribution (SPD) is sometimes called a color's fingerprint. The SPDs of the two colors will differ and the one mixed with more pigments (assuming a balanced mix was the objective) will have a more "full" SPD. So, if I were a paint company wanting to clarify our point of view on what full spectrum means, I'd be reaching for the fingerprints.

Technology has rendered the debate can you tell the difference between a full spectrum color and a regularly mixed color inane.

Yes. Unquestionably they will be different and you can easily and cheaply obtain the data to illustrate it.

The full spectrum question to ask here in the year 2014 is how would you like to use that data to qualify and quantify full spectrum color?

On the observer end of it, that doesn't change much. Different formulas can result in the same paint color. The fact still remains that through the process that is the human vision system, people experience and respond to color uniquely.

It isn't far-fetched that some people would respond to paint colors mixed full spectrum different from how they respond to colors that are not. Whether they can differentiate between the two VISUALLY isn't the point. And this is a much a bigger and deeper issue.

A much bigger and deeper issue than just mixing one color two different ways and having the results visually match.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2014 at 8:50PM
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Last year, C2 finally rolled-out their new Low/0-VOC colorants.
Therefore, ALL colors had to be re-formulated, & that took a while!
There's a bunch of new colors, & we've got some of the new chips.
As b4...C2 uses 16 colorants. Some colors have up to EIGHT colorants now! One of the tints is $135............per QUART. $810 per case....Uffda.

Yes, I noticed that C2 is kinda using the FS phrasing. They were using the term "Complex" colors for a long time, & that was very true.They're using less/No Black in many new colors. BUT....yes...that doesn't make "color x" FS!!


    Bookmark   July 21, 2014 at 1:17AM
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Faron, thanks so much for the info!
They are definitely using the FS phrasing - when you go to their website, the first thing you see is "Luminous Full Spectrum Color." (And interestingly they show a gray in the picture!)

They told me at Glidden Professional that my EK Berry Red had eight colorants.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2014 at 8:09PM
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Just painted first coat of C2 "Hailstorm" in Luxe Satin (it's a bathroom). The color looks lovely, and just what I wanted! Normally, I paint a sample board⦠But this time I lived dangerously, and just used the small chip to decide. Despite my not taking advantage of them, I love that they offer the large chips and the sample pots. It's also nice that their chips are made with real paint. It's a little bit of a drag that you have to pay for the small chips, though. A fan deck might be worth the investment if you like their colors.

The paint, although low VOC, smelled a lot more than the Lifemaster I'm used to. It's also a bit less thick, so I had to adjust my painting style a bit. I did get a few runs and drips. A little sanding before the second coat should take care of that. Despite that, the coverage was great.

There are six colorants in my mid-gray paint. I'm not sure if one of those is black - it's a little bit hard to decipher the recipe. (Faron?) It says "Full Spectrum Color" right on the front of the can.

It's fun to use a new specialty paint, with complex colorants - whether you want to call them FS or not. :-). Faron, I look forward to seeing the performance of the paint - I saw a post of yours about bouncing dog balls off the wall, and it not leaving marks.

I would use this paint again. I also really enjoyed their selection of grays!

    Bookmark   August 2, 2014 at 11:47PM
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Yes, with odors...everyone perceives them differently! What smells bad to you, may not be noticeable to me at all.

At least to my schnoz, the Lovo/Luxe lines hardly smelled at all!

I love using the stuff! It's wearing like iron for us, especially in the Satin sheen. And yes, Callie's toys still bounce of the walls, lol!


    Bookmark   August 3, 2014 at 12:38AM
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Just wanted to come back and post a couple pix of the finished room! C2 "Hailstorm" in Luxe Satin.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2014 at 11:34AM
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It pretty much matches the grout and really sets off the subway tile!

    Bookmark   August 10, 2014 at 11:37AM
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Holy Moly!

C2 or no...that looks AWESOME!
I'm NO decorator, but that bathroom looks very nice!


    Bookmark   August 10, 2014 at 2:17PM
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