Screencast – How To Reorder the Affinity Fandeck

Following up on my last post, it’s time to get busy reorganizing the Benjamin Moore Affinity color fandeck. In the screencast below I walk you through the steps to reorder the colors by hue angle and hue family.


As mentioned in the screencast, I found a mistake in the original table of Affinity colors. While I was sorting the colors in preparation for this blog post, I noticed something didn’t look right about the group of blue-green chips. Some looked too true blue and others had an edge of purple. After doing some recalculating, I discovered the problem was a typo. I pasted into the table “BG” instead of just a “B” for several colors. All the tables with Affinity colors have been corrected. Lesson learned is I should have pulled the chips and taken a look before I posted the data. Proves the point that you cannot color by just the numbers alone, you have to visually evaluate everything.

numbersColor Tactic 1.0 – Harmony Within Hue Families

With all of the colors separated by hue angle and hue family you can see a certain flow from one end of a hue family group to the other. Even though Affinity is a small color collection, most of the hue families have a few whites and grays sprinkled throughout. At this point, you should be able to easily “eyeball it” and compose several harmonious color combinations within each hue family. We’ll use the GY (green-yellow) hue family as an example. The first color in the order is Refined AF-75 (at 12 o’clock) and then the order continues clockwise around the circle ending with Lush AF-475.


Once you get this far, you have many options available to create some stellar color harmonies. We’re going to focus on just one option within this tactic. There are two colors that easily fit into the category of “whites”: Refined AF-75 and Frostine AF-5. And there are two colors that easily fit into the category of chromatic grays or as most people call it “gray”: Secret AF-710 and Metropolitan AF-690. All four colors have super low chroma, below 1.0. Which means they are four of the most “neutral” of this group. Refer to the Affinity Color Notations Table if you want to check out the chroma numbers. Crystalline AF-485 has a chroma less than 1.0 too but I chose not to include it in this example.

benjamin moore affinity whites and grays

What this means is it is extremely probable that you can use these colors in any combination with the other colors in the hue family. For example, the two whites would make excellent trim or ceiling colors with any of the other colors in this group. Likewise, the two grays would provide an interesting “neutral” juxtaposition to any of the other colors. With just these 14 colors, you can workout numerous color combinations for interiors and/or exteriors that are almost guaranteed to be successful. I say “almost” because the light is boss. And embarrassed as I am about posting a table of data with typos, my mistake demonstrates WHY it’s important to visually evaluate everything when you’re using color notations to navigate color.

Keep in mind the color tactics you’re learning here at The Land of Color apply to a whole lot more than just the BenM Affinity colors. Obviously, all this how-to information applies to the other hue families from the Affinity collection that you have sorted in front of you, but you can do the same thing with any color collection. We can even add-on another collection to the Affinity colors we’ve been working with – like the BenM Whites.

BenM Whites Table

Maybe try out the new skills you just learned and cruise over to the Benjamin Moore Whites Color Notation Table. Sort the table by hue angle and hue family just like we did in the screencast. Pull a few of the whites (chips) that also belong to the GY hue family. Next, take a look at all the different combinations you can now make by adding on more whites to the Affinity GY hue family group. A few of my favorite picks to incorporate are Chantilly Lace OC-65, and Snowfall OC-118.

Finding the right white to go with anything and everything could not be easier. All you need is Color Tactic 1.0, Color Harmony Within Hue Families.

Amazing as that might be, you need to know we can deconstruct harmonies within hue families beyond what we’ve done in this post giving you even more options to create successful color schemes. We’ll send you a bulletin directly to your inbox when additional posts on this topic go up here at The Land of Color. So, be sure to sign up in the top, right-hand widget to get alerts.

I hope you are/were able to “play along” and reorder the Affinity color chips because there’s no doubt ordering color by notations will help you see color characteristics in a way you’ve never seen before. If this new approach to navigating color leads you to creating some fabulous color combinations, let me know or better yet share with everyone in the comments below. And as always, if you have questions, feel free to email, call, or ask in the comments.


You really can do this! Read these other blog posts and add to your color skill set.

  1. Bringing Perspective to Undertones
  2. Color Order Systems are Like…
  3. Learn How to Use a Paint Color Order System Now
  4. How To Master Overtones
  5. Etymology of the Term Overtone
  6. Color Overtones Review
  7. Does Color Math Scare You?
  • Mary

    This information is really good. Thank you. Is the hue family the same as undertone? I decided to play with the table and pull out all the yellows and I noticed that AF-680 and AF-685 are in the yellow family. I was told by two store employees, at two different times, that they have a pink and red undertone. Another time I was told that 685 has a green undertone. When I asked them to confirm which hue families they come from they didn’t understand what I was asking so I repeated what I read in another one of your posts about how all grays start off as a colour and they get knocked back so much that they become a complex neutral. They still didn’t understand and I realize now that they probaby wouldn’t have this information. What I’d like to understand is what information they were looking at to say these colours are red or pink based.

    • Hi Mary,

      Thanks for your question.

      Very matter-of-factly the answer is paint stores don’t have this kind of color information because they are paint experts, not color experts. Your guess is as good as mine as far as where they’re getting the information about undertones. It could be a) they’re just eyeballing it and making a guess b) they read it on a blog somewhere c) got it off a Pinterest pin d) they’re looking at the paint base and colorants and making a guess from there.

      No. Hue family is definitely not the same as undertone. Have to be honest. The whole undertone thing is a complete mystery to me – I don’t get it. It’s not like I’ve read every book about color that exists, but I have one or two hefty texts under my belt and put in a fair amount of time working with color.

      Maybe I’ve missed something (always possible) but I personally have never seen undertone referenced or spoken to in any other way other than the way I outline it here in this post:

      AF-680’s notation is 0.07 Y / 7.98 / 0.69 – it’s very close to the yellow-red hue family. Being right on the cusp of yellow-orange and yellow, It has yellow-red – or orange – overtones. Pink or red undertones isn’t exactly correct, because it’s still a lil ways away from red, but it’s logical that’s what they reached for if they had no other way to explain it.

      AF-685’s notation is 1.23 Y / 7.35 / 0.88 – it’s also very close to the yellow-red hue family with orange overtones. No where near green. I wouldn’t expect it to show with any edge of greeness in any quality of light either. BUT, never say never. I suppose it could given the right context.

      I have three different ways to convert to a color notation. Just to be sure, I ran AF-680 and AF-685 thru the other two methods and they actually just moved “in” closer towards the middle of the yellow hue family and away from the yellow-red zone.

      So, pink, red, green are all pretty far off the mark in my opinion.

      Hope that helps.

      • Mary

        Yes it helps, I understand things better now. I will try to ignore the term undertone because it gets in the way and instead I will use your color notation tables and compare neutrals to hue parents when I need to.

        I can see that you spent a lot of time putting the color notation tables together – thank you for that.

        • It was my pleasure and you’re welcome, Mary.

  • Hi, Lori:

    I’d love to grasp better the concept of hue angle. Since I’m used to NCS notations, which are different from Munsell’s, should I go to Munsell’s website?

    As for undertone, I’m not an authority, but as long as I know, the creator of NCS thought there were four primary colors from a psychological point of view, and these are yellow, red, blue and green. As you know, NCS fandeck is organised around these four colours and in-between there are GY, YR, RB and BG. From my experience with NCS fandeck and from discussions with other color geeks in linkedIn, all colors tend to one of these four basics, more or less. A blue can be just in the B family or if it si a BG, it can look more bluish or more greenish, so it will have one of these undertones. I’ve formed my concept with the help of my painting practice, mixing colors from the three primaries and with the help of white (never black, I was taught this way). I don’t know if I’m right, but this concept is clear enough for me.

    What is sure is that there is nothing with pink undertone, since pink is red mixed with white -at least it is my belief. Then such undertone would be reddish (which doesn’t mean a strong red at all). I once read of something having a purple undertone in a Spanish blog, and I was amazed at how easily people talk about undertones. Sure the referred thing had a mix of red and blue and looked purplish, but I think the lady didn’t know what she was talking about. This is such a difficult concept of which people talk so easily! Let’s go on talking about that now and then, and let’s see if we can have a more clear concept with time!

    By the way, I’m interested in your Camp Chroma, but I can’t subscribe. Is it functioning yet?
    Thank you for your great posts!

    • Hi Isabel!

      I’m still working on the Camp Chroma modules. I don’t know when I’ll be done to tell you the truth, lol! 🙂 But I’ll let everyone know when I get there.

      Familiar with NCS, Ostwald, Hering and the opponent, four psychological primary colors: yellow, red, blue and green theory. I don’t see how it correlates to the physical concept of undertone. An experiential concept of undertone, perhaps, but then that’s where individual color acuity and subjective color judgments come in to play and negates the intended purpose of a color system to begin with.

      Overall, there are issues with the opponent theory in as much as I think it begs more questions than it answers. Please correct me if I’m wrong, but the opponent theory is not limited to just the four psychological primaries; there are also composite perceptions that it clumsily and narrowly addresses as “bluish greens” and “reddish yellows”, etc. Which is one of the primary reasons why Munsell is often cited as a better option for a human color experience, perceived equidistance based system – as well as – an effective mode to accurately communicate color.

      Hue angle is the first number in the notation. It’s simply where the color falls on the Munsell color wheel and the “angle” is what all the tick marks indicate. Just like degrees are marked around a circle-shaped thermometer. And, yes, the Munsell website probably does a much better job explaining it. My last post sort of addressed it as well:

      • Hi again, Lori!

        I agree that subjective color judgements can come into pley as you say. But NCS color notation helps a lot. As an instance, If I look at NCS S 1040 – R80B, the last part of the notation tells me that this hue, which is a blue, belongs to the RB family, but tends 80% to blue and 20% to red. What makes it change from other R80B hues is the first part of the notation, which means it has 10% of blackness and 40% of chroma. Then I guess I should say this blue has a reddish undertone… but this is my guessing. Maybe it’s only a question of getting used to it. But I want to know better about Munsell’s as well.
        The color notation’s system you have devised are great, and I will practice with your posts.
        Great job!

  • Hollie Heil

    I am trying to find information for Benjamin Moore color Paris Rain #1501. How do I find a chart similar to the BM Affinity Color notation charts that have harmony within hue families like the one above. Are there any other websites that would give me access to this easily. Thank You so much, Hollie Heil

  • Hi Hollie,

    Thanks for the comment. I wrote a separate blog post about Paris Rain – I hope it answers your questions and gives you the information you were looking for: