What we want

The association freieFarbe wants to promote the color communication. We do not pursue economical aims.

We want to promote developments which

  • make color calculable
  • make color stepless adaptable
  • make color systems comparable
  • simplify color communication
  • generate no licence costs
  • give hints and tips for a cross-medial workflow
  • make the mystery of color understandable

In short: Liberate color from chains! There are many good approaches for it, this website wants to show and promote them.

We want an open and constructive dialog of possibilities, everyone can take part.

Example: Resedagreen needs freeColour

Reinhard Zerfaß, grafodesign Trendelburg

If a graphic designer has to implement determined colour specifications of a customer in various media, it is not always as easy as thought. Surely it is possible to display any colour tone in RGB on the computer, but problems can often occur in the realisation of the material output. Manufacturers do not make every colour available as a ready-to-use ink or paint.

For example, we take the varnish color RAL 6011 which is popular in the machine industry. This color can be recreated in RGB, but converting it to a printing ink is not possible. Why?

  • There is no possibility to choose RAL colours on the computer without special software.
  • The given color libraries just have exotic colour systems and HKS and Pantone.
  • HKS would be the right choice for print, but the intended tone is not part of the collection.

And now? One possibility is to recreate RAL 6011 from Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black. The other one is to buy special software for conversion.

This example shows that colour (or more precisely: specific color) cannot easily be converted and exported.

The aim of freieFarbe is to make every colour tone supplier-independently convertible so it can be used on every material and surface.



Jürgen Opitz †
Architect, specialist planner for colors

The digital technologies for the development of color ideas and design, their presentation, communication, and production have the potential for a revolutionary paradigm shift in the culture of colors. In the conception the computer allows extreme sensibility almost without technical problems, and in the production a maximum of precision is technically possible. But between these two ends of the production chain, individual interests have set a vast and never comprehensive but cost-intensive interim solution, similar to the customs boundary in times of the feudalism.

The ideal workflow of designing should go straight from the computer monitor to the production without special software, without different compromises from the concept with manufacturer collections, without licence regulations, in freedom.

My task in “FreieFarbe” I see in showing the chances of the relatively young technology with new design strategies and in engaging for the access to the advantages of a consistent and universal communication and production chain in the colors.

Reinhard Zerfaß
Advertising agency grafodesign

As a commercial artist, photographer and videographer, I am surrounded with colors the whole day. Color is the perfect design medium for me to express feelings. Besides image composition and page layout, I can use targeted colors to express joy, grief, excitement and sentiment. My work always has a visual language which I want to convey to the viewer with color or a determined color selection.

But how to use color? How is it possible to maintain an exact color from recording to completed print? How can I influence the colors that my desired design is portrayed as I want to?

Exciting questions, which are only workable with FreieFarbe.

Peter Jäger
pre2media GmbH

Cross-media is extremly fashionable. But what type of data do I get from graphic designers, photographers and layout artists? Are the files really media-neutral and prepared for cross-medial publication? Who advises the customer in this questions? Is this the processing in a printing shop?

Finding answers to all these questions together with the team of FreieFarbe, this is what I am looking forward to.

Video-Download: why do I support freieFarbe?

Holger Everding
dtp studio oldenburg

In 1993, one night at half past three, I had an idea: why are there only American color systems in the usual software programs? Shouldn’t this be changed? No sooner said than done… About 25 years of colour software followed: RAL Digital, HKS DTP package, NCS for Adobe CC, Digitaler Farbatlas, DCS BOOK Software Edition, Colors! and other products were written by me.

This is where I found out Working with color could be easier if you made better use of the color systems that came with your computer. With RGB or CIELAB you do not commit yourself to one manufacturer from the outset. Furthermore, these models are freely calculable, e.g. for intermediate colours, colour harmonies, colour comparisons etc., thirdly they have no originator as mathematical models, and they may therefore be freely published. Good reasons, therefore, to promote these models more strongly, to give them a lobby with “free colour”.

Eric A. Soder

As a photographer and media designer, I want a controlled and precise handling of colours. This does not only require end-to-end colour management but ideally also a fundamentally media-neutral definition of colour. In my opinion, proprietary and process-specific approaches are out-dated in the digital world. Instead of that, a colour system based on CIELAB or HLC will let us specify colours universally and make them precisely reproducible.

Registered association

Since October 2016, we are recognised under German law and registered as a charitable organization.

Become a part of the colour revolution, and engage in a good thing: Support us or become a member. Donations and contributions are tax-deductible.

Download the corresponding documents here: articles of association and membership form.

FreeColour or FreeColor?

Both! As color liberation is important worldwide, some prefer the American spelling “color”. With the domain name “freecolour.org”, we selected the British/international variant for reasons of availability and due to our European domicile.