The Unofficial LEGO Color Guide

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Christoph Bartneck is well known for producing some comprehensive minifig catalogues. His latest book takes a look at the colours of LEGO pieces since 1958.

The Unofficial LEGO Color Guide organises the colours of LEGO parts and presents them in rainbow order. Each colour has its own unique page which and also has a cross references to similar colour hues that are printed on the edge of the pages.

Read on if you are interested in the history and full range of colours offered by LEGO over the last 60 years.

Christoph identifies the colours using the LEGO name and number as well as Bricklink’s name and ID number. Personally, I find it odd that third party databases, such as Bricklink, often use their own colour nomenclatures rather than rely on the colour names used by LEGO.

Christoph has been very careful to colour calibrate all the equipment used in preparing this book. He has used a SpyCheckr 24 to calibrate his camera and has worked with the publisher to ensure the colour management used by the printing equipment is accurate.

There are special sections for metallic and translucent colours.

The availability of parts in each colour features in the description as well as the years the colour was in production.

Here is the page for Bright Bluish Green (Bricklink = Dark Turquoise) that will be making a reappearance next year, after being out of production since 2005.

This book will be of interest to anyone who builds their own MOCs and is looking for accurate colours for their models. It will also be a useful, accurate colour reference as online colour rendering sometimes is distorted due to the quality of the source picture and colour settings of your monitor.

The book (in English only) can be purchased from Amazon.com.

UK | Germany | Japan

An eBook in PDF format is available from Lulu.com

There is also a colour poster available in four sizes from 8"x10" (20x25 cm) to 28"x38" (71x97 cm) at Society6.

 

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21 comments on this article

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By in United States,

I like this. Think I might get that poster.

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By in Germany,

Which colours are selectet for the book? Only the ones which are listet in Bricklink or more?
For example: Did he differenciate the old and new maersk blue? (Bricklink doesn't care ...) What about other colour changes?
How complete is the colour selection?

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By in United States,

To be fair, some of the official Lego color names translate a bit odd into English. "Brick Yellow" seems a bit more convoluted than "Tan" in my opinion. Or how "Medium" colors are sometimes a lighter shade (blue, azure) and sometimes a darker shade (lavender). It's a whole can of worms, and I get that there is confusion with multiple naming systems, but I don't see Lego's official one as infallible.

Anyway, mild color naming rant aside, it looks like an interesting book.

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By in Germany,

The book seems to be temporarily out of stock on both Amazon.de and Amazon.co.uk

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By in Canada,

This would be really useful for the Lego factories. Maybe they can finally produce consistent colors. My Ghostbusters HQ and modular Town Hall would look so much better with bricks of consistent color...

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By in United States,

@xccj it's absolutely a can of worms. and there are *hundreds* of colors when you take into account the screwy glitter shades from the 70's, etc... I finally ended up just making an excel sheet with my favorite colors. And it gets even worse if you're trying to match for printing, say, custom stickers. Then you get to learn about Pantone, CMYK, and the wonderful world of colorimetry!

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By in United States,

Does it include the classic color "white bricks after five years in a house where at least one parent smoked, what with this being the early 80s and all"?

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By in Ukraine,

Ah, I understand the difference in colour depends on year. And how to explain two different colour of sand green tiles or dark red bricks in one setbox?! >:\ In the past years quality of plastic was much better

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By in United Kingdom,

Bricklink vs TLG names? Pah! Colour vs color is the elephant in the room here.

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By in New Zealand,

The book includes 184 colors and I only excluded the known colors that have never made their way into a product. The Bricklink and LEGO naming systems do not always match and hence I had to give them a unique book color ID. I made an attempt to measure the actual color of the bricks to be able to have an objective guideline. The color information provided across the internet is inconsistent. I hope this answers some of the questions.

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By in United States,

Will this book be available in the US? Would love to get a copy.

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By in New Zealand,

The book will be available in most countries. In the US you can order it from Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

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By in Ireland,

The page about Bright Bluish Green doesn't mention the word Teal?

@xccj If you've been to Denmark (or Northern Europe in general) you know that brick yellow makes a lot of sense.

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By in United States,

$28 on Barnes and Noble with the code "GIFTS4ALL" today only.

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By in Australia,

For Aussies: it's available at Amazon.com.au for A$65 and direct from Bookdepisitory.co.uk for A$53

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By in Netherlands,

Looks like a very interesting book. Maybe I'll get it in the future, I've already spend more than enough for this year (UCS MF).

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By in United States,

@xccj: In regard to "medium" color names, I think the thing that causes that confusion is that the "medium" colors are darker than colors WITHOUT any sort of name modifiers (i.e. Medium Lavender is darker than Lavender, Medium Nougat is darker than Nougat) but are lighter than colors labeled "bright" (i.e. Medium Blue is lighter than Bright Blue, Medium Reddish Violet is lighter than Bright Reddish Violet, Medium Yellowish Green is lighter than Bright Yellowish Green, etc.). Lego's color naming may not make perfect sense for English-speakers, but it's nothing if not systematic.

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By in Ireland,

Whatever about the content the labelling in the similar colour chart is awful. Surely a basic proof read should have identified that the text is almost illegible in that it gives off a double vision effect. And I did check with everyone else here before posting. It's too early for mulled wine ( as distinct from a whine) so no vision impairment yet. It is a simple fix for any future edition.

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By in Netherlands,

I was very excited to hear about The Unofficial LEGO Color Guide and ordered one from BookDepository. After a couple of days I received it but there seems to be quite a lot of things wrong with it.

These are the major ones:
All the photos of the parts are quite blurry, they're just not crisp.
The colors printed don't come close to the real Lego colors at all when I compare them
There is a missing photo (just a placeholder saying 'Not Yet Available' at color 123)
Everything from color 102 onwards is missing the similar colors and (part of) the color definitions.

Minor things are some spelling errors and layout mistakes.

I'm pretty disappointed by what I received, I can see Christoph has put a lot of time in this but at the moment it's just absolutely not worth the money. Be wary when looking to buy it, it might be fixed in later prints but don't buy the first print edition!

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