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What exactly are Resene drawdowns?

We’re going to let you in on a little secret: Professional painters, interior designers and architects have known about the superpowers of Resene A4 drawdown paint swatches for decades. But did you know that for a small fee, anyone can order these versatile colour swatch cards as well? Resene drawdowns are screen-printed paint samples and are a great way to test out colours in your home without having to lift a paintbrush.  

Maria and Richard are part of the friendly team who make Resene A4 drawdown paint swatches from their manufacturing facility in Naenae. They’re made using real Resene paint and printed using silk screens in a similar process to what’s used when screen-printing billstickers, posters and T-shirts. Since authentic Resene paint is used, the drawdown is true to colour showing the undertones and nuances of the paint in all its glory.

“A4 drawdown paint swatches are useful for evaluating colours if you are thinking of painting your home,” says Maria. “Architects and interior designers also want to check colours so as well as the normal A4 size we also provide a bigger A2 size.” Small sticker drawdowns are also available.

To use an A4 drawdown paint swatch, stick the card to the wall using Blu-Tack and observe the colour at different times of the day. Painting your sample onto separate cardboard instead of straight onto the wall will help you see the true colour and not be distracted by the existing colour on your walls. Paints have different undertones and levels of luminance (brightness), which may be more apparent when there is more or less light in a room. 

Maria and Palolo help manage the huge library of Resene A4 drawdown paint swatches, which feature every single Resene colour.
All the drawdowns are screen printed by hand with Resene paint for a true to life shade representation.

Make sure to move the A4 drawdown paint swatch into different parts of the room and during the day and night to ensure the colour is suitable in all of the areas you wish to paint. Many paint colours are available in half-strength variants and in the Resene Whites & Neutrals range there are many double or triple strength variants as well as quarter and eighth strengths available. These variations can be helpful if you need to adjust the colour to suit a darker room, for example, you might use Resene Double Duck Egg Blue in a bright area and Resene Half Duck Egg Blue in a darker space.

With thousands of colours available, the team has a big job managing the library of drawdowns. Each A4 drawdown paint swatch features a label listing the colour name and code and is filed away in its own cubby hole. All the collections of colours are available, including the Resene Multi-finish, Resene Whites & Neutrals and Resene Metallics and special effects

The team recently completed drawdowns for the Resene The Range 24 fashion colours collection, which features 175 contemporary hues such as Resene Coconut Ice, Resene Smashed Avocado, Resene Sugar Plum Fairy, Resene Tua Tua and Resene Vantage Point. While completing drawdown paint swatches and self-adhesive samples for the range was a big task, the team kept things fun.

“We work well as a team here and everyone gets on with each other, which helps the working environment” says Richard.

Richard is one of the friendly team who make Resene A4 drawdowns in the Naenae manufacturing facility.
Each drawdown is marked with its name and corresponding colour code, helping the team keep the vast library organised. Pictured drawdowns include Resene Christi, Resene Gingko, Resene Atlantis, Resene FOMO, Resene Fern, Resene Freedom and Resene Fruit Salad.

A beginner’s guide to Resene colour codes

Ever wondered what the code on the back of a Resene A4 drawdown paint swatch or testpot means? Each Resene colour in has its own unique code indicating details such as its undertone, position on the colour wheel and brightness, for example the colour code for the bright yellow Resene Turbo is Y84-198-087

The first letter in the code refers to the colour palette or family of colours it belongs to: B = Blue, Y = Yellow, R = Red, O = Orange, G = Green, V = Violet, BR = Brown, M = Metallics and N = Neutral.

The two numbers following the colour family indicate the luminance or brightness of a colour with 0 being approximate to black and 100 being bright white. Luminance indicates the amount of light that is reflected from a flat, painted surface.

The second group of numbers indicate the saturation of a colour as well as the amount of grey in that hue. The higher the number, the ‘cleaner’ and more saturated the colour is, the lower the number the ‘dirtier’ and more greyed off the colour is. 

The third group of numbers indicate the colour’s position on the colour wheel – this can be helpful when selecting contrasting and complementary colours. Using the colour, you can quickly see which colours are close together on the colour wheel by comparing how close their colour wheel position is, or you can see colours which are opposites.

Understanding the Resene colour wheel will give you better insight into the breakdown of each colour and the family it belongs to.

A note on light

The LRV is the light reflectance value of a paint. This measures the total visible light reflected by a colour in all directions. The LRV scale is a percentage scale range with 0% being the darkest and 100% being the lightest. For example, Resene Black has an LRV of 4%, while Resene White has an LRV of 92%

This measurement is particularly important when selecting colours for the exterior of your home. Some councils and local governments have regulations around the LRV used on exterior paints. Cladding suppliers often require an LRV of 40% or greater to reduce heat build-up on darker colours, although some other cladding materials may be able to withstand lower LRV rates.

Resene CoolColour formulas won’t lower the LRV, but the special heat-reflective technology will significantly reduce heat stress on timber and other substrates. Resene CoolColours are often considered and accepted to be an Alternative Solution by many councils and local bodies, so make sure to check before you commit to your paint. Surfaces painted in a dark colour in a Resene CoolColour formula will be cooler to touch than the normal colour even in the height of summer.

Top tip:

Resene Lumbersider Low Sheen is a go-to paint for exterior projects such as weatherboards, fences, pergolas and concrete. The formula is super durable and is designed to withstand our harsh weather conditions and high levels of UV light. If you want a flatter paint finish, opt for the Resene Lumbersider Matt formula.  If you prefer a higher gloss finish, try Resene Hi-Glo gloss or Resene Sonyx 101 semi-gloss exterior paint. The lower the sheen the more the coating will help to hide imperfections.  The higher the sheen the easier the paint is to clean.

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