Industrial colour-difference evaluation

CIE 116-1995
Division 1
978 3 900734 60 2

Many industries employ colouring processes to provide products designed to enhance colour uniformity, colour recognition or aesthetic appeal. The producer must deliver a product of the desired colour with its variation controlled to an extent appropriate for the product's use and the customer's expectations. Colour measurement and colour-difference evaluation are essential tools to help manufacturers accomplish these goals with efficient colour production processes.

Colour-difference evaluation models have been, and continue to be, developed. The CIE, through its technical committees, has periodically established recommended practices for colour-difference evaluation to promote uniformity of industrial practice. The last CIE recommendation on this subject was made in 1978. Accumulated research since then indicates it is now possible to identify a model with improved agreement with visual colour-difference judgements.

Recommended practice for industrial colour-difference evaluation is presented. The recommended model is an extension of the CIE 1976 (L*a*b*) colour-difference model with correction for chroma-dependent variation in colour-difference perception. Reference conditions define material and viewing environment characteristics to which the colour-difference model applies. Factors are introduced to correct for the parametric effects of various conditions of use. Guidelines for further research on colour-difference perception are given.

This Technical Report is written in English, with a short summary in French and German, and contains 20 pages.

The following members of TC 1-29 took part in the preparation of this technical report:

  • D.H. Alman, USA (Chair)
  • R.S. Berns, USA
  • T.F. Chong, Hong Kong
  • E. Hita, Spain
  • T. Kehlibarov, Bulgaria
  • H. Komatsubara, Japan
  • T.O. Maier, USA
  • R. MacDonald, Great Britain
  • C.D. Reilly, USA
  • A.R. Robertson, CA
  • R. Sève, France
  • H.S. Shah, India
  • K.J. Smith, Great Britain
  • K. Witt, Germany


  • W.A. Larsen, USA
  • M. Melgosa, Spain