The Past, Present and Future of Color Tinting Software

June 21, 2021

Color tinting software has transformed the coatings industry. In this post, we review the history of tinting software and offer a look at its future.

The Origin of Color Tinting Software

Color tinting software has been around since 1995, starting with applications built on disk operating systems. Eventually, providers like Innovatint introduced tinting software to Windows 95 systems. These were among the first systems in the industry to actually have a graphical user interface.

At its core, tinting software provided an error-free ordering process that streamlined the tinting of paints while making the process easier for operators.

The implementation of this technology had a transformative impact on the coatings industry. But by today’s standards, the functionality was limited.  

Even the best tinting software could only streamline existing processes. There weren’t added capabilities, like automation and analytics.

Data management was also an issue. Paint companies couldn’t maintain a centralized record of data for all of their stores to share.

Instead, they had to replicate the data for product updates to each store a few times a year. This led to every store having its own system, which made errors and inaccuracies common.


Despite these technical limitations, the original color tinting applications (and their contemporary counterparts) offer paint companies a number of transformative benefits.


In tinting, accuracy is the measure of how closely the color of the final product matches the desired tint. Tinting software uses a color matching engine that uses color science to tint at a higher accuracy than possible through manual processes.


For paint companies, how fast you can process and fulfill the orders at the store is critical. Managing the process in a dedicated application enables you to accelerate your process without compromising accuracy.

You can also use barcode readers to ensure the use of the correct colorants.

Tinting Software Today

In the last few years, application providers have started introducing cloud-based tinting software. This has already had a huge impact on the way the industry approaches tinting.

A cloud-based solution solves all of the limitations of legacy platforms, with the biggest change being data management.

The shift from on-premises hosting to cloud-based software has made it possible for a global company to operate on single system. This allows paint companies to centralize their data on a single database that all of their stores connect to. So, when your company introduces a new product, you can make updates in a centralized place that rolls out to systems around the world.

You can now implement global product releases in minutes – a process that used to take weeks.

Beyond data management, the move to the cloud has enabled the creation of a number of powerful new features.

Maintenance Ticketing Systems

If your company or store is having a problem with a tinting machine, they can use their software to create a ticket that’s transferred to the company’s service department. And with access to global service records in the cloud, you can evaluate the performance of equipment in the field.

Collaborative Order Fulfillment

With all of your stores connected, each one can fulfill orders for any of the others, relieving bandwidth strain from the factory while increasing total production.

Tool Integrations

Paint companies are no longer just using tinting software for tinting. Tinting software now supports a wide range of tools and functions, including:

All of that becomes much easier to manage when the tools live and integrate together in the cloud.

The Future of Tinting Software

20 years ago, tinting software transformed how coatings manufacturers do business. Right now, cloud computing is playing a similarly vital role in the evolution of color tinting. But going forward, we anticipate this trend will continue to accelerate at an unprecedented rate.

Leading manufacturers and tinting software providers alike have made it clear they’re committed to the cloud. And it’s easy to see why. With tinting data being easier than ever to store, access and analyze, the future of cloud-based tinting is bright.

Right now, the industry is still divided between on-premises systems and early adopters of cloud software. But this won’t last.

While the two delivery models coexist, traditional software models are going to fall behind. Companies that rely on on-site servers to manage their tinting data will become burdened with technical limitations and inaccurate data. Eventually it will be too much to keep up.

They’ll also be missing out on the incredible benefits businesses enjoy when they move their operations to the cloud. Businesses using outdated tinting software will be at a competitive disadvantage to firms using cutting-edge solutions.

Another factor that will accelerate the adoption of cloud tinting software is the huge increase in people working from home. Accessing your data anytime and anywhere is no longer a luxury. It’s an absolute necessity if businesses are going to survive the era of remote work and beyond.


The future of color tinting is accessibility and ease of use. And the proliferation of cloud computing and a focus on user experience has made it easier than ever to analyze and improve the world of color.

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