Taking the colours from our inspirational images, the next step is to apply these to our designs but let’s start by taking a journey into the history of colour and looking closer at some of our most commonly used colours in our collections.

Colour originated when humans started to use pigments as an alternative to carving in stone or trees to communicate.  Pigments were mixed with various binders such as vegetable juice and applied with twigs or feathers.  Early colours were made from charcoal and earth tones, however as time has passed the discovery of new colours has led to endless opportunities within paint boxes and dyes.

Colour facts!

Light travels as a wave and can bounce off (reflect off) objects or gets absorbed by objects.  Our eyes have special light detectors called rods and cones inside to detect movement and colours respectively.  There are about 120 million rods and about 7 million cones per eye!

As our eyes are individual to us we see colours differently to one another.  Sir Isaac Newton in the 1600s discovered that white light is made up of all the colours – we see this white light split up (refracted) when we look at a rainbow.  A leaf for example, is seen as green because the leaf has reflected all of the green light into our eyes.  The leaf has absorbed the red, orange and other colours so we do not see them.  This is how we see any coloured object.

Colour mixing!

When coloured light mixes it is called additive colour mixing.  It works by adding all of the coloured light and reflecting it all into our eyes.  For example red light and blue light mix together too produce magenta.  Mixing colours in art gives us different results as it is not additive colour mixing like light, but subtractive colour mixing.  When we mix colours like dyes to create our bright yarn colours, the colours mix together and absorb a lot of the white light so we only see some of the colours reflected.  So for example if we want a black or dark colour we use all of the colours which will absorb all of the colours of while light and our eyes see black.

Mega science!

Sometimes light travels as a particle (yes, we just said it was a wave!) which we call a photon.  Photons are produced by electrons dropping an electron energy level (transitioning).  When the electron drops an energy level it releases energy in the form of a photon.  The amount of energy released by each photon determines the colour of light observed.

Starting with one of the earliest colours and one of our most commonly used, charcoal is a stable in any Mixter Maxter collection and popular with you as well.  Early black dyes were often sold by pirates and pencil lead was so rare that armed guards would strip search mine workers as they were leaving their work in the mines in Northern England.  However black poses a problem as there is no true black dye, only deep shades and combination of other colours, hence we choose to work with it’s softer, lighter tone of charcoal giving more depth to what can often be a very flat colour.  Black is a complex colour with both negative and positive connotations, from fear to elegance, rebellion to sophistication, often typically associated with the unknown.  However when it comes to what we wear, black is a comfortable colour that can boost confidence and it’s impossible to argue with the sophistication and elegance associated with wearing black.  Plus a little black dress is one of the most common wardrobe staples.  Within our Mixter Maxter collections our monochromatic designs featuring charcoal and white easily sit with any colours adding a graphic, bold design which is easy to throw on & wear with confidence for a variety of occasions.  It’s easy to see why so many of you choose this colour.

Reeo twist in Charcoal/zinc

Everyone loves blue whether it’s denim jeans or Elvis’ blue suede shoes, Beyonce even named her daughter after the colour.  Ultramarine was once the most expensive colour except for gold and found in only a handful of places worldwide.  Blue has lots of positive connotations and an equally positive effect on our body and mind.  It’s calming and cooling whilst being connected with inspiration and freedom, wide open spaces and you always think of the deep blue sea and the bright blue sky.  The brighter the blue, the more dramatic and expressive.  In many cultures it brings peace and is believed to keep bad spirits away.  For a wedding, ‘something blue’ represents love.  Its a colour of confidence once again but without any sombre connotations as with black.  Blue can be a powerful colour often used for official uniforms.   There are so many varieties and shades of blue which all have their own meanings, darker shades are elegant with lighter shades representing trust.  Diesel is one of our most popular shades of this colour across our accessories and garment collections.  There is always a shade of blue to suit everyone and every occasion.

Ombre Jumper in Diesel/White/Barracuda

So we mention how much we love colour and so far have looked at charcoal and blue.  It’s hard to know which colours to choose and with these being some of the most popular colours featured in our collections, we felt it was only right to start with these.  However there is one colour that we use in lots of fun ways and truly love – orange!  Orange is warm, fun, happy and like sunshine has so much enthusiasm associated with it.  It’s  full of creativity and amazing energy, it’s bursting with passion and warmth.  It can even help heal a broken heart or disappointments.  It’s the perfect mix of red & yellow and its a colour that can’t be ignored.  As with the colour blue the various shades have different connotations, with deeper shades taking on darker meanings such as distrust while the lighter shades are altogether more friendly.  Overall it’s a pretty positive picture for orange and it’s one of the colours we have enjoying playing with in our collections often as a bright pop teamed with charcoal.

Vik twist in Charcoal/White/Inferno

When designing our knitwear, we spend a lot of time working on potential colour combinations.  Sampling these we can assess which combinations work and which don’t.  This is one of the most exciting stages in design for any designer.  Colours can change depending on which other colours we sit them next to in addition to which pattern we use.  One pattern in particular which really plays with colour and how our eyes view it is in our tweed collection.  This is best displayed in our tweed design in empire and inferno.  This design regularly gets referred to as red, however when you look closer the two colours of yarn used together are purple and orange.  It’s the way the colours sit together that changes how we view them and it looks red to the eye.

Tweed Twist in Empire/Inferno

Next time you look at our collection, take a closer look at some the colours and how they look in a variety of patterns.

Referenced – http://www.bourncreative.com/meaning-of-the-color-orange/

Colour Theory – An Essential guide to colour – from basic principles to practical applications.  By Patti Mollica

Colour – Travels through the Paintbox by Victoria Finlay

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