Through Business Activities

Examples of Recent Initiatives

Publication of the Guidebook for the Universal Color Design–Recommended Color Set

Guidebook for the Color Universal Design–Recommended Color Set

Guidebook for the Color Universal Design–Recommended Color Set


The DIC Group is actively involved in R&D in the area of color universal design (CUD), as well as in expanding public awareness and understanding of CUD’s importance. In November 2013, the Group—in cooperation with the Japan Paint Manufacturers Association, the Industrial Research Institute of Ishikawa and the Color Universal Design Organization and under the supervision of the University of Tokyo—published the Guidebook for the Color Universal Design–Recommended Color Set. In developing this color set, participating organizations capitalized on their particular expertise in color vision characteristics to verify and adjust proposed colors, a process that facilitated the creation of a set of colors that are relatively easy to distinguish regardless of ability to see colors and can be reproduced using printing inks, coatings and digital imaging devices.
At AIC 2015 TOKYO, the midterm meeting of the International Colour Association (ACI), held in May 2015, the DIC Group gave a presentation on collaborative research on CUD and printing inks involving Chiba University, the Central Research Laboratories and DIC Color Design, Inc., and introduced the Color Universal Design–Recommended Color Set.
Research with Chiba University focused on the color appearance of red printing inks, frequently used to print warnings and other important information on packaging for, among others, food products and pharmaceuticals. Researchers created a number of red spot color inks consisting of several base inks and prepared printing samples on various substrates, which they asked colorblind individuals to evaluate for redness and discriminability on a black background under differing illuminance levels. The results of evaluations were announced at AIC 2015 TOKYO. This initiative earned high marks from the color professionals in attendance for its unique approach, which maximizes the DIC Group’s position as a printing inks manufacturer. AIC 2015 TOKYO also marked the frst time that the Color Universal Design–Recommended Color Set has been introduced at an academic conference. The presentation of examples of the set being used to fne-tune colors drew a positive response, with visitors from abroad commenting that they had never seen a resource that proposed practical color standards overseas.
The DIC Group will continue to promote research initiatives that contribute to society and add color to lifestyles.


Our goal was to make CUD a design system that everyone can use.

We've had many people say to us that they want to apply CUD to their design work, but that they don't know what colors are easy to distinguish and need some sort of guide. These are the people we had in mind when we produced the Color Universal Design–Recommended Color Set. We developed the set by taking colors that are commonly found in everyday life and for each chose the tones that were easiest to discern. This color set has been adopted for a wide range of applications, including publications and choosing colors for information on signs. We've received a great deal of positive feedback from people who have found the set useful in design work. DIC's new Guidebook for the Color Universal Design–Recommended Color Set provides information on where and how the color set should be used, as well as advice on things designers need to be mindful of, all presented in an easy-to-understand format. Looking ahead, we will continue to modify and improve the Color Universal Design–Recommended Color Set in response to feedback on actual examples of use, as well as to advances in coating and printing technologies.

Associate Professor,Institute of Molecular and Cellular Biosciences,University of Tokyo Kei Ito

Associate Professor,
Institute of Molecular and Cellular Biosciences,
University of Tokyo
Kei Ito

Capitalizing on Business Opportunities Yielded byRecycling Initiatives

Products made from recycled plastic bottle caps
Products made from recycled plastic bottle caps

In addition to manufacturing and selling a broad range of molded plastic products in line with its ultimate objective, which is to protect lives, Group company DIC Plastics, Inc., in Japan, is an active proponent of environment-friendly business practices, particularly material recycling*1. Among the company’s noteworthy achievements is its development of a system for sorting waste plastic generated during the manufacture of original products by type and color, which greatly assists with recovery. This has enabled the company to diversify its lineup of products made with recycled plastics, increasing the volume of such materials it uses and adding value to the products in which they are used.
DIC Plastics also promotes recycling by purchasing recycled plastics from reclaimers, which it uses in the manufacture of its mainstay plastic helmets and other products.
One of the most recent additions to DIC Plastics’ product portfolio is the IZANO professional helmet for disaster situations. In addition to offering superb safety, the IZANO helmet can be folded to approximately 60% of its full size. These features, plus the extensive range of colors available, earned IZANO an award in the 2014 Good Design Awards*2, sponsored by the Japan Institute of Design Promotion.

  • *1Material recycling involves the recycling of material from an original application but in a different form.
  • *2Operated by the Japan Institute of Design Promotion, the Good Design Awards is a commendation program that annually recognizes products that represent superb achievements in design.

Highlights of Social Contribution Activities

Color Universal Design in interiors and signs in a sports club

Exterior of Renaissance, Makuhari
Exterior of Renaissance, Makuhar

Passage within the facility
Passage within the facility

Based on the management vision: “Color & Comfort by Chemistry,” the DIC Group takes initiatives in Color Universal Design (UD). DIC Color Design Inc. provided color supervision upon the redesigning of the “Sports Club Renaissance, Makuhari,” which is the original branch of RENAISSANCE INC. that runs sports clubs throughout Japan. DIC Color Design Inc. utilized the color investigation that was conducted in existing branches prior to the redesigning from the perspective of UD. You can see innovations in colors in the interior and signs, etc. that enable the Renaissance facility users to enjoy sports with a sense of security. Considerations for colors are given in a number of places, including steps in stairs and rails using colors that are


Facility development with the aim of achieving security and safety of users

The Makuhari branch is the first branch of Renaissance and is a facility that we have special feeling toward this branch. Upon the redesigning, we strived for a facility that can be a model case in all perspectives, such as contributions to society and environmental considerations, etc., in addition to enhancing equipment and items. Especially, the Makuhari branch is rooted in the community, and many elderly people also utilize our facility. Through this effort, we have learned that there were actually people who would have difficulties with the colors that we would otherwise have not paid attention to. In addition, we have truly learned the importance of not only producing a unified image in color design but also using color schemes that correctly communicate necessary information by considering the functionality of the facility and safety of users. We hope to widely spread this experience in the company and utilize it in the future facility development.

RENAISSANCE INC. Facility Development Department Ms. Itsuwa Hosaka

Facility Development Department
Ms. Itsuwa Hosaka

Spirulina: Promoting Harmony With Society

Children in Zambia having lunch
Children in Zambia having lunch

The DIC Group is the world’s largest supplier of Spirulina, a cyanobacteria rich in more than 50 nutrients, including vitamins, minerals and essential amino acids. In line with a support agreement concluded in 2009 with the Alliance Forum Foundation (AFF), a Japan-based NPO, the Group provides assistance to the Spirulina Project, an AFF initiative that seeks to alleviate hunger and improve nutrition in the Republic of Zambia.
In June 2012, with the purpose of contributing to the well-being of the people of Zambia, we implemented a project to assess the impact of Spirulina on human health. This project verifed a reduced incidence of malnutrition among children who regularly consumed Spirulina. Encouraged by these findings, the DIC Group and the AFF conducted production and technological feasibility studies in Zambia with the aim of facilitating local cultivation of Spirulina for local consumption, and in 2014 commenced pilot production. In fscal year 2015, the DIC Group and the AFF will again conduct tests to measure the effectiveness of Spirulina, expanding the scope of testing to several hundred individuals. DIC support it by the donation of bulk powdered Spirulina. Currently, the Group also provides production and technological support through assistance with selecting locations for cultivation and providing information on raw materials.
The DIC Group is also engaged in a variety of other initiatives designed to promote the nutritional value of Spirulina. In fscal year 2014, these included a nutritional education program for private elementary schools in Tokyo’s Itabashi Ward.

Highlights of Social Contribution Activities

Initiatives Toward Color Coordination that is Harmonious with Landscape

Braille Guide Blocks
Braille Guide Blocks

Development and Evaluation of New Tactile Paving Aimed at Low-vision People The DIC Group promotes the development of colors and color combinations that can be recognized equally by as many people as possible.

Tactile pavement that indicate safe walking paths are considered ideal to have a clear contrast with the road by using highly visible yellow color. However, urban landscape designers often feel the color too vivid that does not harmonize with the surrounding environment. Therefore, it is required to develop guide blocks that simultaneously fulfill safety and aesthetical requirements.

Associate Professor Kei Ito of the Institute of Molecular and Cellular Biosciences at the University of Tokyo has been attempting to use two different colors for guide blocks as a countermeasure to this issue. By using low intensity color for the base part and pale yellow for the protrusions, the new blocks would not violate the landscape while securing both visibility and sign property For the project, DIC Color Design proposed color schemes that simultaneously achieve functionality and harmony with surrounding environments and cooperated in color selections for the prototype samples. We have been repeating evaluation experiments by trial subjects and promoting the project for practical usage.


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