Our history

1611: The Swedish/Finnish Aron Sigfrid Forsius publishes in his book “Physica” one of the first known colour spaces, which later inspires scientists in their subsequent research on NCS – Natural Colour System.®©

1874: Ewald Hering´s theory about the “natural order system” of the perception of colour (“Theory of the Light Sense”).

1930s: Research into colour is begun by Tryggve Johansson, based on Hering’s findings.

1945: Numerous activities are begun, which eventually result in the founding of the company, later to become known as the Scandinavian Colour Institute.

1952: Hesselgren’s colour atlas (developed by professor of architecture Sven Hesselgren) is launched. This was based on Johansson’s ideas and expanded on by Hesselgren.

1964: During the 1960s and 1970s, the Swedish Colour Centre Foundation implements more than 100 man hours of scientific research and development. Architects, designers, psychologists, physicists, chemists, and colour researchers work together to create the NCS – Natural Colour System.®©  Underlying the Natural Colour System are almost 20 years of research work headed by Dr Anders Hård together with Dr L Sivik and Dr G Tonnquist.

1978: To achieve a commercial realisation of the NCS system, the company is named the Scandinavian Colour Institute AB (now NCS Colour AB).  Målaremästarna (The Association for Swedish Painting Contractors) takes on the ownership.

1979: The NCS system is launched as a Swedish national colour standard (SIS). It is illustrated in the NCS atlas with a standard selection of 1,412 colours. It quickly becomes the colour tool for the majority of architects and designers, and for the industry as a whole.

1984: A further 118 colours are added, and the success continues as the NCS system is also adopted as the Norwegian national colour standard.

1985: DIN Deutsches Institut für Normung e.V. (the German Institute for Standardization) shows its support of the NCS system in an official press release in December 1985:
“It is unbelievable that today in 1985/86, there is still no established metric-convention for colour. The understanding of colour is yet, to a large extent, subject to coincidence. To relieve the decision-making process and to set an example for an understanding without national selfishness, the DIN Deutsches Institut für Normung e.V., has decided to support the Swedish colour system Natural Colour System and abandon its established DIN-colour system.” 
– Laue. D; Deutsches Textilforum 4/87

1994: NCS – Natural Colour System®© is adopted as the Spanish national colour standard and receives ISO 9002 certification for manufacturing of NCS Colour Samples.

1995: The second edition of NCS Colour Samples is released – 1,750 colours, environmentally-approved pigments in accordance with EU regulations, world-leading colour accuracy and consistency, a guarantee of quality. NCS Quality Management begins.

1997: The scientists behind the NCS system, Anders Hård, Lars Sivik and Gunnar Tonnquist was given the AIC Judd Award for their exceptional work which culminated in the NCS, the Natural Colour System and its atlas. The research was characterized by the phenomenological analysis of the experience of color in the spirit of Hering.

1998: ISO 9001 Certification for the production of NCS Colour Samples.

2004: 200 new colours are added – there are now 1,950 in total. The NCS system is adopted as South Africa’s national colour standard. NCS has now become a global industry standard.

2006: NCS Colour as a company has grown rapidly and its export share is 84%. In order to meet increasing international demand and expansion, NCS Colour AB gains new owners to take on the challenge.

2009: A new digital product launches – the NCS Navigator, a web application.

2011: Colourisation, precision, and stability in a colour is increasingly decisive for the global industry and its opportunities to satisfy customer demands. NCS Colour Management is a key solution for quality-conscious manufacturers and designers across the world.

2013: A new digital product is launched globally – the NCS Selector for Adobe, a program software addition.

2014: NCS Core® is introduced as a unique cloud-based solution for Colour Management in the manufacturing industry.

2016: With more than 25 years of experience from the development of leading colour systems, the NCS group launches the CAPQ brand with its modern Colour Management solutions for the development and quality assurance of colour within the manufacturing industry.