The Open Colour Standard is an effort to create a spot colour specification not hindered by restrictive licensing. Spot colour is used not only in the print industry, but wherever a rigorous, specific definition of colour is needed. To this end, the open colour standard aims to develop a set of colours, represented in swatch books, mixing instructions and RGB hex codes. The colours will be made available, along with their mixing specifications (and hopefully spectral data) to the general public and, specifically, developers of F/LOSS graphics programs.

At this point, there are two main audiences for OCS: design and print professionals who wish to use spot colour in a F/LOSS workflow and scientists/academics who currently use proprietary colour matching systems to define colour for dirt, plants, cells and other elements of the natural world. These two groups are key; the designers because better colour management is crucial in taking F/LOSS graphics programs beyond the hobbyist market and scientists/academics because knowledge is so often seen as something which should be free and should thus be provided with open, accessible, modifiable tools.

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