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Colour technologists are responsible for developing and producing dyes and pigments.

Employers of colour technologists seek adaptable, creative candidates with good organisational skills.

What does a colour technologist do? Typical employers | Qualifications and training | Key skills

A colour technologist’s responsibilities will vary depending on the industry that they work in. For example, some create dyes for textiles while others help choose paints and inks for printers. Colour technologists will be involved in all stages of the production process, from design to testing and marketing.

Typical responsibilities of the job could include:

  • modifying and/or developing new pigments and dyes
  • liaising with suppliers, customers, manufacturers and factory production managers
  • providing technical advice to design, dying, marketing and production staff
  • devising precise bulk colour reproduction processes
  • using specialist computer systems, including CAD software
  • evaluating, identifying and selecting products from suppliers
  • checking products for suitability and testing for performance under various conditions
  • controlling production and quality standards
  • ensuring colour fastness, accurate colour reproduction, stability and durability of products
  • using colour measuring equipment to ensure colour reliability in dyes and pigments
  • keeping up to date with trends and innovations within the profession

Typical employers

Colour technologists are employed by a wide range of organisations including chemical companies, specialist consultancies and manufacturers of textiles, paper, furnishings, medical products, leather, inks, foods, plastics, toiletries, paints, cosmetics and fibres. There are also a small number of research openings within the academic sector.

Jobs are advertised online, in national and local newspapers, and publications including New Scientist, Chemistry World, International Dyer, Drapers and Coloration Technology and their online equivalents. Networking, job shadowing and speculative applications may be helpful, for which directories such as the Directory of European Dyers, Printers and Finishers, and Surface Coatings International may provide useful contact information.

Qualifications and skills required

There are routes into a colour technology career for both university graduates and school leavers. Suitable degree and higher national diploma (HND) subjects for entry into the profession include: clothing and textile technology, colour science, materials and polymer sciences, chemical engineering, physics/applied physics, chemistry, applied/analytical chemistry and manufacturing/production engineering.

A postgraduate colour science or technology MSc can be helpful for graduates from other disciplines, as can experience gained through vacation work, placements and final year projects (particularly any obtained in the textiles or colour industry). A relevant PhD may be required for research posts. Read our article on scientific postgraduate study to explore your different options.

Key skills for colour technologists

Employers seek adaptable, creative candidates with good organisational, planning, teamworking, technical, commercial awareness and interpersonal skills.

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