Learn the NCS System®

Learn the NCS System®

Describe any imaginable surface colour with NCS. Learn the NCS System and enjoy the smartness of colour.

The NCS Natural Colour System®

3 simple steps to identify any colour.

 Torben Hansen, Founder & Director Schotten & Hansen using NCS colours to produce customized colours

"To make life easy for designers,  we use the NCS System, creating our own colour collection that all fit together in perfect harmony. This enables colourful matches within entire interior concepts and the ability to create bespoke solutions for clients.”

- Torben Hansen, Founder & Director Schotten & Hansen

Five essential parts

Unpacking the NCS System

Elementary Colours: Six pure colours form the NCS codes, allowing description of any of the 10 million colours our eyes can see. Pure yellow contains no green or red, and pure blue has no red or green.

Elementary Colours

Six elementary colours are perceived as “pure” and hold the key to the 10 million colours our eyes can detect. A pure yellow for instance does not include green or red, just as a pure blue contains no red or green.

These six colours forms the foundation of the NCS codes which will make it possible to describe any of the 10 million colours that forms our world.

NCS Colour Space. Colours in a three-dimensional (3D) space. White and black are on a vertical axis while the other four colours are plotted in a circle around it.

NCS Colour Space

Imagine colours in a three-dimensional (3D) space. White and black are on a vertical axis while the other four colours are plotted in a circle around it. This allows colours to be identified and coded with NCS Notations for greater accuracy than 2D.

NCS Colour Circle, one of the three-dimensions in the colour space. It describes the hue in relation to one or two of the four elementary colours.

NCS Colour Circle

As one of the three-dimensions in the colour space, the NCS Colour Circle cuts across horizontally through the centre. It describes the hue in relation to one or two of the four elementary colours.

Image of NCS Colour Triangle -R20B

NCS Colour Triangle

As a vertical dimension of the colour space, the NCS Colour Triangle defines each of the different hue’s nuance.

NEUTRAL COLOURS: All pure grey nuance are concidered neautral. They run along the back of the triangle and lack a hue. They are coded with N as neutral.

NCS Notation: NCS S 1040-R20B

NCS Notation

The colour notation or code NCS S 1040-R20B has the nuance 1040, i.e. 10% in blackness and 40% in chromaticness. The hue, R20B is a red (R) with 20% blue (B) in it.


Click here for a complete list of NCS Literature References.

NCS Education

Colour Academy

Enrich your understanding of colour by joining our Colour Academy courses. Tailored exclusively for architects, interior designers, product designers and professional colour advisers, these courses deepen your mastery of colour communication.

NCS Quick Course

Take our free Quick Course to learn the NCS System in 20 minutes.

Leverage the NCS System with Design Tools