The Shepherd Color Company

How We Brighten Lives

Modern solutions backed by years of experience - Shepherd Color is dedicated to providing world-class complex inorganic color pigments.

Shepherd Pigments History


Our roots originate in the 1920's ceramics industry, where we supplied colors for porcelain enamels.


By the early 1960's, our product line had expanded to a full range of complex inorganic color pigments for the premium coatings and plastics markets.


In 1980, The Shepherd Color Company relocated to new and modern facilities in Cincinnati, Ohio.


As a leading supplier of complex inorganic color pigments, our products are used in many diverse applications, especially where performance is critical under the most extreme conditions. 

From our US location, as well as from sales offices in Brussels, Melbourne, Japan and China, our color company supplies millions of pounds annually of high-quality Shepherd pigments to customers around the world.

A Rich History of

Doing Things The Right Way

It all started at The Shepherd Chemical Company.

The founder of the company, Lee Shepherd, began his career with a degree in chemistry from Case Institute of Technology. He worked at industry leading companies in the growing chemical industry, through which he gained the skill and confidence to start his own enterprise.

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Guided by an entrepreneurial spirit and a desire to establish his career in his hometown, Lee Shepherd purchased a plot of land in Norwood, Ohio and constructed the original manufacturing facility in 1916.


Three years later, in 1919, he moved the operations to a nearby site which is now Shepherd’s largest manufacturing facility and global headquarters.

Shepherd’s original products were metal soaps (such as cobalt, lead and manganese linoleate) used as printing ink and paint driers. Compounds such as cobalt, lead, and manganese linoleate were manufactured at the Shepherd facility and sold into the marketplace. In addition to paint and ink driers, Shepherd’s early products included lubricant additives for use in Model T Ford planetary transmissions.

The 20’s and 30’s

As sales of Shepherd’s cobalt products grew, so did its interest in the sources of this important metal. In the 1920’s and 30’s Shepherd undertook efforts to establish supply sources of cobalt from around the world to supplement its primary sources in Canada. Shepherd’s secure metals supply and capabilities led to it becoming a leading supplier of metal salts and carboxylates for a variety of growing applications.

In the late 1920’s, the founder’s son – John F Shepherd, joined the company and began the business for manufacturing coloring oxides for use in porcelain enamel applications. Guided by the same entrepreneurial spirit as his father, John, a ceramic engineer, began his business which has since expanded into new markets such as architectural coatings.


In the 1930’s Shepherd began to make high purity salts for metal plating applications, it also began to supply cobalt salts into the growing animal micronutrient market.


Through its focus on quality and customer satisfaction, the business grew to a stand alone company in 1980 – The Shepherd Color Company.


It is now one of the leading suppliers of complex inorganic color pigments in the industry.

The Shepherd Color Company is now operating under the leadership of the family’s fourth generation. Owing to efforts of the company’s employees since its founding, it now has the scale and resources to invest in new and exciting technologies and markets.

Why Partner With The Shepherd Color Company

We invite you to contact us to learn more about our plans to expand our capabilities to serve our existing customers and earn new relationships across the globe. Throughout our technical and commercial efforts, the hallmarks of quality and character continue to guide the company’s philosophy towards its customers, employees and business partners as they did in 1916.

Our Core Purpose & Values

Every Shepherd team member takes responsibility for advancing Shepherd’s Core Purpose and living consistently with Shepherd’s Core Values.

Each Shepherd company involves everyone in improving Shepherd’s difference making capabilities in our Core Purpose arenas.

Quality Policy & Objectives

Quality Policy

We create value for both our internal and external customers. We do this by following our quality procedures, setting quality objectives, complying with requirements, addressing risks and opportunities, communicating with relevant parties and by striving for continual improvement.

Quality Objectives

The quality objectives of The Shepherd Color Company include:

Maintaining that the quality management system meets the ISO 9001:2015 requirements

Maintaining that all legal and regulatory requirements are met.

Maintaining that the manufacture of products meet product/customer specifications.

Continually improve the QMS and performance.

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Our People

As a fourth generation, family-owned business, Shepherd Color is a company of people who brighten the lives of those on whom our work has an impact, specifically, each other, our families, our customers, our suppliers, our shareholders, and our community.



Creating beauty through color, without negatively impacting people or the planet.



We have numerous innovative products patented around the world.

Associations To Which We Belong

American Association for the Advancement of Science
American Chemical Society
American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA)
American Society of Quality
Association of Operations Management
ASTM International
Colored Pigments Manufacturing Association (CPMA)
Cool Roof Rating Council Employee Resource Association
European Coil Coatings Association
Greater Hamilton Safety Council
Materials Research Society
National Coil Coating Association

National Paint & Coatings Association (NPCA)/Federation of Societies for Coatings Technology (FSCT)
National Safety Council
Ohio Chamber
Ohio Manufacturers Association (OMA)
Porcelain Enamel Institute
Society for Chemical Hazard Communication (SCHC)
Society for Human Resources Management
Society of Plastics Engineers:
Color and Appearance Division
Additives and Colors Europe
Vinyl Siding Institute