Colour. Its history is fascinating.

From the first time someone figured out you can use crushed up rock to draw on a cave to the millions of colours now available to us from a myriad of sources, people have been discovering ways to create colour.

Such is the lure of vibrant colour that great lengths have been gone to in order to obtain them. In A Brief History of Color in Art, Sarah Gottesman tells us how hugely popular arsenic-laced greens are believed to have contributed to Cezanne's diabetes, Monet's blindness and even Napoleon's death from having it feature in his bedroom wallpaper.

For centuries, artists have searched for and often found inventive ways to recreate the colours they see. 

Edward Burne-Jones, The Last Sleep of Arthur in Avalon, Wikemedia Commons

Edward Burne-Jones, The Last Sleep of Arthur in Avalon, Wikemedia Commons


The Pre-Raphaelite painters achieved their distinctive look by the liberal use of Mummy Brown, which was made from ground-up Egyptian Mummies.

It wasn't until 1964 that it stopped being manufactured - not because of any cultural or moral outrage, but because the manufacturer ran out of mummies.

Rudyard Kipling is said to have buried a jar of it in his yard when he found out where it came from, as a way of righting that wrong.

The oldest biological colour is pink, first formed in the primordial soup over a billion years ago (and recently discovered by Australian scientists). We're still fond of it today too; the cochineal bug has been used to create red dyes for over 500 years and is still used in make-up today.

And the lives lost making colour? Around 10,000 Murex brandaris shellfish had to give it up to make one gram of Tyrian Purple, the colour of nobility in Roman times. It's colour is so rich that cloth and manuscripts made from it are still vibrant and the colour is still associated with royalty and luxury today.

The range of colour is endless, and wonderful. With the introduction of 120 new colours, Pantone alone now boasts almost 2,000 colours in their colour guides and are constantly creating more. With CMYK printing, you can achieve pretty much any finely nuanced colour you can think up.

So how do you choose one?

Start by talking to someone who works with colour and who understands how the printing process affects the way colour is produced.

Not every printer can do that. 

Glide Print can.

We colour your world.