Markus Mahn was recently having a brainstorming session with his colleagues in Orion’s Coatings team. They wanted to develop a better way to show customers the variety of shades of black that Orion offers and the visual differences.

They eventually came up with the idea of creating a Carbon Black Guide that would provide a sweeping visual overview of the wide variety of pigments.

“After researching the market, it became apparent that none of our competitors offered this kind of resource for customers,” said Markus, director and head of marketing for Coatings systems.

The team developed a 32-page zigzag pamphlet with 102 different coating chips with technical information. The chips are derived from the 34 most popular carbon black pigments, each of which is visualized in black tone, gray and metallic.


“A major challenge was the question of which particular pigments to select since there are many more than just 34 pigments,” Markus said. “The challenge was overcome by involving all the world’s regions in the selection process so that the tool could be used globally.”

The team also consulted with external painters, printers and design agencies outside of Orion as well as internal laboratories, technical marketing and the coloristic staff.

The handy pamphlet was designed so that it can be easily folded up and tucked into the pocket of a lab coat.

At trade shows in 2022, the tool has been received with amazement by customers.

Markus said, “I’ll know that the Carbon Black Guide has been a success if I visit our customers a year later and see that the pamphlet’s corners and edges are worn down and dog-eared because of constant use.”