Ideas & Advice
Colour Names in Art and Fashion

Colour Names in Art and Fashion

Colour Names in Art and Fashion  

Here is a list of 10 randomly selected colours: 

★ ★ ★ GOOD TO KNOW ★ ★ ★ 

Colours available at GreatArt in London, Shoreditch store, and the online shop. 

Pigments and paint tubes in the artist’s studio. 

Fabric colour swatches for fashion designers. 

Let’s play together! 

Using the list above, can you distinguish between the colour names extracted from the world of Fashion and those used in a painter’s studio?  

Have you found them?  

Do you need help, are you still searching? 

It’s normal, colours have always been a source of inspiration and expression in various artistic and creative fields. However, it’s fascinating to note that colour names used in industries like fashion, design, and trends often differ from those used by painters in their studios. Although the colours themselves remain unchanged, this difference in nomenclature may seem puzzling. 

Why then change the names of colours? 

From Art to Fashion, I share my thoughts and research on the subject here. I hope this will help you gain a clearer understanding of these various colour palettes.  


★ ★ ★ ANSWERS TO THE GAME ★ ★ ★ 

Curious to see the results of the little game? To check your answers, it’s very simple. All the colour names inspired by an artist’s studio are underlined in the list.  

There you go, you can evaluate yourself easily 

Evolution of Colour Names in Artist’s Studios 

As we go back in time, we can observe that the roots of artistic colour names are deeply embedded in the history of art and the materials used by painters. 

In ancient times, for example, artists used natural pigments for their works. These pigments were extracted from minerals and natural elements, giving them unique characteristics and specific hues. 

Colours range 

Colour names like ‘hematite,’ referring to a red pigment derived from iron ore, or ‘ochre,’ a pigment extracted from clay, were commonly used to describe these artistic shades. These names were functional and directly described the natural origins of the pigments used. 

Over time, most of these technical and specific names remained ingrained in the language of painters and colour merchants (Sennelier, Lefranc Bourgeois, etc.).  

Artists continued to use these terminologies to accurately describe the shades and colour mixtures on their palettes and canvases. Tradition was preserved, in part, for reasons of technical precision. 

 Acrylic paint and pigments on artist palette 

Evolution of Colour Names in Fashion and Design 

The evolution of colour names in sectors such as fashion, design, and trends are closely tied to the specific characteristics and needs of these dynamic industries.  

Each of these industries faces unique pressures due to the ever-evolving nature of trends and consumer expectations, which directly influence the choices of colour names. 

In the fashion industry, clothing and accessory trends change rapidly, requiring designers, stylists, and brands to be constantly at the forefront of innovation to capture consumer attention. As a result, colour names must reflect this dynamism and evoke a sense of novelty and exclusivity. Terms like ‘mustard’ or ‘layette pink’ may be used to introduce new shades into the colour spectrum, creating an impression of modernity and freshness. 

These names can be used as a tool for differentiation and market positioning. Evocative terms like ‘autumn dream’ can conjure specific images and feelings, helping consumers establish an emotional connection with products.  

Moreover, these same names can also be used in advertising and marketing campaigns to pique the public’s interest and encourage them to explore products further. 

More than just visual descriptors, colour names are designed to capture the essence of fast-paced trend cycles, adapt to marketing requirements, and establish emotional connections, thus guiding consumer choices in an environment where competition is fierce, and the perception of novelty is paramount. 

Influence of Colour Psychology 

Colour psychology is a discipline that explores how colours can influence individuals’ emotions, perceptions, and behaviours. Of course, colour psychology is not an exact science, and emotional associations can vary depending on cultures, individual experiences, and other factors. 

However, in fields like fashion, design, and visual communication, colours are not merely aesthetic choices but powerful tools to convey subtle messages and evoke specific emotional reactions. This is why colour names are carefully chosen to create a particular sensory experience. This process demonstrates how colour names are subtle storytelling elements that influence how we interact with our environment. 

Let’s take an example, the colour name ‘taupe’ (a hue that oscillates between grey and brown). This designation of ‘taupe’ influences how consumers perceive clothing or accessories in that colour, considering it refined and understated. 

On the other hand, in the realm of Fine Arts, colour names may be more tied to technical and artistic aspects. For instance, the colour name ‘light ultramarine blue’ indicates that the pigment has specific hue and saturation characteristics, which is highly useful for artists when constructing their palette. 

Colour range for designer or stylist 

Colour Globalization Effects 

Globalization has led to an increasing association of cultures and markets around the world. It has had a significant impact on how colour names are chosen and used, particularly in industries such as fashion and design. 

These sectors now have a global reach, reaching consumers with completely diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds. This cultural and linguistic diversity has created a need for effective and universal visual communication. 

In this context, easily understandable colour names such as ‘blue,’ ‘red,’ ‘green,’ ‘yellow,’ and ‘black’ are preferred. Regardless of the language one speaks or the culture one belongs to, transcultural recognition helps avoid misunderstandings and facilitates communication in all countries. 

 Fabrics colours range 

Content provided by Amylee Paris 

The passion of Amylee, fine artist and author is to share her paintings between galleries, art collectors and her community. Amylee is also recognized as one of the most influential French artist-entrepreneurs. Since 2009 she has mentored thousands of visual artists guiding them to thriving their art career. 

You can visit her colourful website, her Instagram, or find all Amylee’s posts published in GreatArt online Magazine by clicking here! 



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