LRV – Thanks AEC Daily Color Education Courses

The paper I wrote about LRV, Light Reflectance Value, is cited as a source in this AEC Daily and Benjamin Moore course called “Color and Light”.  Three pages in the course are dedicated to LRV and reference some of my research.  Cool.

AEC page

It’s wonderful they are sharing this information and even more wonderful is they cited me as a source.

Over the years I’ve produced and openly shared a massive amount of content about paint, color and light.  Without question, the piece I wrote on LRV is THE most plagiarized.  Followed closely by posts on full spectrum paint and color.

When I published the first version of the LRV article, no information about LRV relative to paint and the built environment existed.  Not a single pixel of  information.  This concerned me at the time because if detailed documentation and specific how-to information was non-existent about LRV, paint, color and the built environment, I had to wonder why.

I don’t worry any more because technical directors from major paint companies are among the many who have plagiarized – or let’s say ‘heavily borrowed’ from the content.  Being plagiarized sucks but it sort of vetted my work, so I guess there’s a silver lining to everything.

Interestingly enough, when I began researching LRV I started with the paint industry.  I figured since LRV was listed in every paint manufacturer’s color fandeck index surely a paint store et al would be able to explain what LRV was and how that data was used.


The explanations from paint store staff in particular were pretty funny.  One guy told me the LRV number specified what paint base to use to mix colors.  Another one said that it had something to do with how much Titanium Dioxide was in each color. Seriously.  This was also the beginning of my epiphany that a paint store is very likely the last place on earth to find a bona fide color expert.

I gave up on paint stores and manufacturers and started contacting color scientists. After about a year and an intensive lighting class at The Ohio State University conducted by the IEEE and IESNA I was able to put together a concise picture of  the story and purpose of LRV.

Stephen Westland of Leeds University, UK and Mark Fairchild of the Rochester Institute of Technology, NY were particularly helpful in providing pieces to the LRV puzzle.  Mark even made an Excel spreadsheet for me that converts LRV to grayscale, a.k.a. CIE Y to CIE L*.  Out of all the color books and tools I own, that simple Excel spreadsheet is one of my very favorite things. (may be sad, but it’s true.)

Any way, the point of this post is appreciation. I very much appreciate that AEC Daily is doing the right thing by citing the expert sources they use to compile their content.

I recommend downloading their Color and Light course.  It’s good.  And I’m not just saying that because I happen to know the exact provenance of the part about LRV.

AEC Daily Color and Light Course

2 thoughts on “LRV – Thanks AEC Daily Color Education Courses”

  1. I learned a lot about LRV from reading your info, and use it every time I do a color consultation. I really apprecaite that S-W has the info on the back of their paint chips, and wish that Ben M did.

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