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You could literally have any colour you like…..

 Published 26th May 2022
General Guides 

How much thought do you put into choosing the colour of your next lease car? Do you only drive cars of a certain colour, or do you happily take whatever is available at the time? However much thought you put into the colour of your next car we can guarantee it won't be as much as the thought that goes into creating those colours in the first place.

“I can do everything, create everything. With alumina, nacre, and all the fundamental pigments needed to compose a colour. All the colours of the rainbow.”

Those are the words of Raphael.

You'll never have heard of him, but he's spent the last 21 years developing his skills at Renault.

Raphael spent his first 10 years as a painter before becoming a colour technician. Located within Renault Design's headquarters, he now has a laboratory in which he can play around with different coloured pigments and three painting booths to create any colour you care to imagine.

On average, each Renault vehicle comes with seven different hues. Every subtle feature, contrast, or metallic sheen is carefully thought out, and everything is assessed and approved by the Design teams before it makes it onto the options list.

First of all, Raphael is given a set of indications by the designer who lays down the general idea of the colour to be made. "I'm told we're looking for a blue, that can be light or dark depending on the vehicle; then I take it from there," says Raphael.

The colourist's priority is to come up with new ideas before producing a first batch to be approved by the designer. To do this requires highly accurate techniques to get the perfect balance for each mix. "Sometimes I get it perfect the first time," says Raphael. In this case, one day is more than enough to get approval for the new colour. "But most of the time it takes a lot of time, going back and forth with the designer to get the colour we're looking for."

The trick is to find the right mix of pigments.

Colours exist in families: solid; metallic; pearlescent; triple-layer (composed of a solid layer, a pearlescent layer, then a layer of varnish); and coloured varnishes. While you only need three to eight ingredients to obtain the final colour, getting the desired result is a matter of dosing. That's where Raphael's decades of experience come in handy as it may mean having to prepare a dozen different batches to get the right balance.

Not too long ago, colourists tended to create cross-colours that were used by several brands within the Group. Nowadays, each colour is exclusive to a particular marque, or even to a specific model. Dacia is the only one with shades of green, for example, whereas Alpine focuses around different shades of blue that are constantly being tweaked and reinvented.

As regards Renault, “We are now working towards colours that are highly sought-after, more subtle,” says Raphael. “We keep some colours with a certain degree of saturation, but we also look for more sophisticated hues, sometimes even a bit ‘metal'. We are tending toward richer colours with more depth.”

So, next time you come to choose the colour of your lease car, spare a thought for people like Raphael. It takes many hours and decades of experience to create those stunning paint options, so it must be a little bit annoying for them when people just keep choosing black….

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