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What is premium color?

Premium color refers to the use of special, high-quality pigments and dyes to achieve richer, more vibrant colors in various materials and products. Compared to standard or economy options, premium colors are specially formulated to have superior color consistency, lightfastness, coverage, and intensity.

What makes a color “premium”?

There are a few key factors that set premium colors apart:

  • Pigment quality – Premium colors use higher grade pigments that produce more saturated, intense shades. Common pigments used include mineral pigments, organic pigments, and dyes.
  • Pigment concentration – More pigments are used in premium color formulations, resulting in better coverage and color depth.
  • Lightfastness – Premium pigments and dyes are more resistant to fading, meaning the colors stay true over time with exposure to light.
  • Dispersion – Advanced dispersal techniques help break down pigments into finer particles for consistent, even color laydown.
  • Compliance testing – Premium colors undergo rigorous testing to ensure they meet strict quality control standards for factors like lightfastness, weather resistance, bleed resistance, and color consistency.

These features allow premium colors to better maintain their original vivid appearance over time compared to basic, budget-friendly color options.

What materials use premium colors?

Many materials can benefit from the use of premium colorants and pigments. Some of the most common include:

  • Textiles – From clothing to upholstery, premium dyes create vibrant, durable colors on fabrics like cotton, wool, silk, and synthetics.
  • Paints – Interior and exterior architectural paints with premium pigments offer richer, long-lasting colors.
  • Plastics – Durable engineering plastics can be colored with premium pigments and dyes.
  • Printing inks – Vibrant process printing inks and spot colors used for packaging, marketing, and publishing.
  • Cosmetics – Highly pigmented, fade resistant mineral pigments for long-wearing eye shadows, blushes, and lip colors.
  • Art supplies – Premium watercolors, acrylics, markers with intense, lightfast artist pigments.
  • Building materials – Concrete, stucco, roofing tiles can be permanently colored using mineral pigments.
  • Food – FDA approved dyes and lakes for coloring food products.

These are just some examples of products that use premium colorants for superior, lasting color performance.

What are some examples of premium color brands?

There are many companies known for manufacturing top-tier pigments, dyes, and dispersions used in premium color formulations. Some iconic premium color brands include:


– Known for the Pantone Matching System and popular color standards used across the design industry.
– Offers premium pigmented chips, swatch books, and formulas for solid colors.

RAL Colors

– RAL is a European color matching system with over 200 precision colors.
– RAL colors are achieved using high grade pigments.


– Specializes in premium dyes, pigment preparations, dispersions and color matching services.

– Used in plastics, paints/coatings, printing inks, and other color critical applications.


– Produces premium pigmented basecoats, dyes, and dispersions for the automotive refinish industry.
– Used by body shops to color match new OEM automotive paint finishes.


– Leading supplier of premium artists’ acrylic colors, oils, and watercolors.
– Known for highly pigmented, lightfast, permanent art paints.

Why use premium colors?

There are many benefits to choosing premium colors over basic, budget options:

  • More accurate, consistent color – Premium colors better match product specs and design intent.
  • Improved durability – Better lightfastness and weather resistance.
  • Enhanced aesthetics – More brilliant, saturated, attractive colors.
  • Color integrity – Truer, long-lasting colors that maintain vibrancy over time.
  • Advanced performance – Reliable coverage, dispersion, bleed resistance, and adhesion.
  • Prestige – Premium colors communicate quality and value in products and materials.

While premium colors typically carry a higher upfront cost, they offer superior color performance that can save money in the long run. Their enhanced properties also add more beauty, durability and prestige value to materials and products compared to basic colorants.

What is the cost difference?

There can be a significant cost difference between basic commodity colors and premium color formulations. Some examples:

Textile Dyes

Dye Type Cost Per Pound
Basic dyestuff $5 – $20
Premium disperse dye $25 – $50

Artist Grade Paints

Paint Type Cost Per Tube
Student acrylics $3 – $8
Professional acrylics $10 – $30

Digital Printer Inks

Ink Type Cost Per Liter
Standard inkjet ink $100 – $200
Premium pigment ink $500 – $1,000

As demonstrated above, premium colors can cost 2x to 10x more than basic colorants. The higher cost comes from more expensive pigments, rigorous performance testing, tighter quality control, and specialized manufacturing.

How can you achieve premium colors on a budget?

There are some ways to achieve nearer-to-premium color results at a lower cost:

  • Buy secondary brands – Look for less expensive lines from reputable color companies. They often offer good performing colors at mid-tier pricing.
  • Use color concentrates – Concentrated color masterbatches allow you to add smaller amounts of premium pigments.
  • Mix and match – Combine regular colors with a few premium colors for pops of vibrancy.
  • Apply multiple coats – Extra layers can help cheaper paints and inks achieve better coverage.
  • Get sample sizes – Samples, swatches, and trial sizes let you test premium colors without fully paying for bulk quantities.

With some creativity, companies on a budget can find ways to incorporate hints of premium colorants into their products without breaking the bank. This allows them to add flashes of vibrancy and improved performance where it counts most.


Premium color refers to special high-grade pigments, dyes, and dispersions that offer superior color quality and performance. While premium colors are more expensive than basic options, they provide richer, long-lasting, consistent colors with advanced properties. Premium colors are used across many industries including textiles, paints, plastics, printing, cosmetics and more. Major brands known for premium colors include Pantone, RAL, Pylam, Standox and Chroma. The higher cost of premium colors comes from factors like more concentrated pigments, rigorous testing, tighter quality control and specialized manufacturing. Companies can look for ways to incorporate premium colors selectively or utilize secondary brands and concentrates to achieve enhanced color on a budget.