Labels and symbols

The Schmincke labelling system – all signs and symbols at a glance !

People frequently ask us about the meaning of the symbols and signs on the Schmincke product labels. Even if you are already convinced of the Schmincke product quality, you might be interested in learning more about how to read the symbols.

Today we like to give you some valuable information about the little secrets of our gorgeous colours:


Light fastness

Gives information about the resistance of colour to daylight. The light faster a colour is, the longer it is resistant to the effects of daylight. We pay utmost attention to obtaining highest possible light fastness ratings for our colours. Due to this reason, we do test not only each individual component of the product but also the colour itself. We at Schmincke do classify our colours very strictly according to a 5- star-systems:


Watercolour symbols

The little triangle is the symbol for a major property of artists’ water-colours: the anchoring in the paper which is called “staining”. This depends on the pigment volume and is classified as follows:


Article number

i.e. 13321 says:

13 - for the colour range Finest Artists' Acrylic

3 - for red

21 - the colour number (here Carmine)



Price group

In each colour range there are up to 8 price groups depending on the pigment quality and volume contained in the colour. Like this PG 2.



Colour do possess different opacity or translucent properties. These do not only depend on the thickness of a colour layer but also on the surface diffusion, the size of each pigment particle and on the light diffusion poperties.



In order to obtain a maximum possible brilliance and pureness even in mixtures, our colour ranges contain the maximum number of one-pigment-colours. The pigment information refers to the international Colour Index System and consists of a combination of letters and figures:

  • PW = Pigment white
  • PY = Pigment yellow
  • PO = Pigment orange
  • PR = Pigment red
  • PV = Pigment violet
  • PB = Pigment blue
  • PG = Pigment green
  • PBr = Pigment brown
  • PBk = Pigment black  



Our assortment of pastels consists of 400 colours (80 rows with 5 colours each). There are 75 pure colours with each 3 white and one black graduation. The letters (B, D, H, M, O) indicate the degree of graduation. This kind of classification (B - D - H - M - O) has over many decades been developed at Schmincke.

  • B (068): black graduation
  • D (069): pure colour
  • H (073): 1. white graduation
  • M (077): 2. white graduation
  • O (079): 3. withe graduation