Forbes Collection of The 10 Most Rarest and Interesting Pigments

Forbes Collection of The 10 Most Rarest and Interesting Pigments

April 12, 2016


Forbes Collection of The 10 Most Rarest and Interesting Pigments

Synthetic Ultramarine 
“This was discovered in 1826 as the result of a contest. In a way it is like discovering how to make gold as artists no longer had to buy natural ultramarine at great cost.”

apothecary_1695_curiosa_auctaMummy Brown

“People would harvest mummies from Egypt and then extract the brown resin material that was on the wrappings around the bodies and turn that into a pigment. It’s a very bizarre kind of pigment, I’ve got to say, but it was very popular in the 18th and 19th centuries.”

“Brazilwood is any of several tropical trees of the senna genus. Its hard, red-color wood has had limited use for violins, bows, veneer, and high-quality furniture. The wood contains the colorant brasilin, which gives a deep-red to brownish color. Brazilwood dye has been used for textile and leather dyes, inks, paints, varnish tints, and wood stains.”

“A yellow vegetable dye, quercitron is extracted from the black or dark brown bark of the black oak, Quercus velutina, that is native to the Eastern and Midwestern parts of the United States.”

“The lipstick plant—a small tree, Bixa orellana, native to Central and South America—produces annatto, a natural orange dye. Seeds from the plant are contained in a pod surrounded with a bright red pulp. Currently, annatto is used to color butter, cheese, and cosmetics.”

Lapis Lazuli
“People would mine it in Afghanistan, ship it across Europe, and it was more expensive that gold so it would have its own budget line on a commission.”

Dragon’s Blood
“It has a great name, but it’s not from dragons. [The bright red pigment] is from the rattan palm.”

“This red dye comes from squashed beetles, and it’s used in cosmetics and food.

Cadmium Yellow
“Cadmium yellow was introduced in the mid 19th century. It’s a bright yellow that many impressionists used. Cadmium is a heavy metal, very toxic. In the early 20th century, cadmium red was introduced. You find these pigments used in industrial processes. Up until the 1970s, Lego bricks had cadmium pigment in them.”

Emerald Green 
“This is made from copper acetoarsenite. We had a Van Gogh with a bright green background that was identified as emerald green. Pigments used for artists’ purposes can find their way into use in other areas as well. Emerald green was used as an insecticide, and you often see it on older wood that would be put into the ground, like railroad ties.”

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A Beautiful, Informative Video On How Ink Is Made

April 11, 2016
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Here’s a wonderful short film by The Printing Ink Company in Canada that takes us through the process, techniques and craft of ink creation. The company shares the methods they use to create every color in the PANTONE spectrum, the challenges they face and the attention to detail that goes into making every jar of ink. The film brings to life the passion and joy of color creation and is a must watch for art students, designers and everyone else in the business.

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“NO COFFEE ALLOWED?!” Condolences for Pantone Color Factory Employees, Here’s Why…

December 21, 2015



The printing colors of the world are dreamt up at Pantone, where scientists with near-perfect color vision (that’s explained in the video below) create all the printing colors we use everyday. It’s fascinating!

It’s crazy the distinctions they can see! I tried really hard and everything still just looked like “pink ink” to me. Madness.

In the comments, someone who claims to be a former Pantone employee writes, “Having worked for Pantone years ago I know how exacting the printing ink color standards are in real life. The amount of fabric that was “off” was amazing.”

Can you tell the difference? Because if you can, I have a ticket to Hogwarts with your name on it. (JK Hogwarts is closed, nerds.)

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2016 PANTONE Colour of the Year?

December 11, 2015



A symbolic colour selection; a colour snapshot of what we see taking place in our culture that serves as an expression of a mood and an attitude.

For the first time Pantone introduces two shades, Rose Quartz and Serenity as the PANTONE Colour of the Year 2016. Rose Quartz is a persuasive yet gentle tone that conveys compassion and a sense of composure. Serenity is weightless and airy, like the expanse of the blue sky above us, bringing feelings of respite and relaxation even in turbulent times.

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As consumers seek mindfulness and well-being as an antidote to modern day stresses, welcoming colours that psychologically fulfill our yearning for reassurance and security are becoming more prominent. Joined together, Rose Quartz and Serenity demonstrate an inherent balance between a warmer embracing rose tone and the cooler tranquil blue, reflecting connection and wellness as well as a soothing sense of order and peace.

The prevalent combination of Rose Quartz and Serenity also challenges traditional perceptions of colour association.

In many parts of the world we are experiencing a gender blur as it relates to fashion, which has in turn impacted colour trends throughout all other areas of design. This more unilateral approach to colour is coinciding with societal movements toward gender equality and fluidity, the consumer’s increased comfort with using colour as a form of expression, a generation that has less concern about being typecast or judged and an open exchange of digital information that has opened our eyes to different approaches to colour usage.

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