How colour matching ‘problem’ could change modern design

A researcher who created artwork by using the science of colour perception says designers should see metamerism as a new opportunity, not a problem.

A dress under two different light sources
Camera icon
How colour matching ‘problem’ could change modern design
A dress under two different light sources

Metamerism is the phenomenon in which two coloured samples appear the same shade under one light source, but different under another.

It has been seen historically as a problem in the colour industry, but it should now be seen as an opportunity according to an arts researcher.

Dr Salome Egger, who undertook a PhD in art at Nottingham Trent University, says it has the potential to change industries including architecture and fashion.

She created art works using metamerism and three different light sources to demonstrate different shades of olive green.

The types of light included daylight, energy-saving florescent lights and incandescent lights from halogen bulbs.

Study supervisor Dr Katherine Townsend (left) and Dr Salome Egger
Camera icon
Study supervisor Dr Katherine Townsend (left) and Dr Salome Egger

“I was first confronted with this physical colour phenomenon while working in the fashion industry, approving lab colour samples,” says Dr Egger, who studied in the university’s School of Art & Design.

“Back then I considered it a problem myself, but my interest increased when I realised the beauty of these subtle colour changes. I started to see it as a great opportunity rather than a problem.

“By presenting metamerism in the context of art, I offered a new perspective, allowing people to see it in a new way, offering new insight.

“Architects have already confirmed an interest in working with metamerism. And I see the potential for space-filling metameric artworks, such as wall coverings, influencing colour perception in rooms and raising new issues regarding spatial and architectural perception.

“What was once seen as a problem for the colour industry could now become a major opportunity, by offering designers the chance to create materials which artistically change in shade under different light sources.”

  • Notes for editors

    Press enquiries please contact Chris Birkle, Press Officer, on telephone +44 (0)115 848 2310, or via email; or Dave Rogers, Media Relations Manager, on telephone +44 (0)115 848 8782, or via email.

    Nottingham Trent University was named University of the Year 2017 at the Times Higher Education Awards and Modern University of the Year in The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2018. The award recognises NTU for its strong student satisfaction, quality of teaching, overall student experience and engagement with employers.

    Nottingham Trent University (NTU) has been awarded the highest, gold, rating in the Government’s Teaching Excellence Framework for its outstanding teaching and learning.

    NTU is one of the largest UK universities with nearly 28,000 students and more than 3,500 staff across four campuses, contributing £496m to the UK economy every year. It is one of the most environmentally-friendly universities, containing some of the country’s most inspiring and efficient award-winning buildings.

    The University is passionate about creating opportunities and its extensive outreach programme is designed to enable Nottingham Trent to be a vehicle for social mobility. NTU is the sixth biggest recruiter of students from disadvantaged backgrounds in the country and 95.6% of its graduates go on to employment or further education within six months of leaving.

    NTU is home to world-class research, winning The Queen’s Anniversary Prize in 2015 - the highest national honour for a UK university. It recognised the University’s pioneering projects to improve weapons and explosives detection in luggage, enable safer production of powdered infant formula and combat food fraud.

    With an international student population of approximately 2,600 from around 100 countries, the University prides itself on its global outlook.

How colour matching ‘problem’ could change modern design

Published on 16 January 2018
  • Category: Press

Still need help?

+44 (0)115 941 8418