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Tartan Designer: understanding colour palettes


Simple Colours

Tartan designer colours selectorTartans are traditionally recorded only as broad colour descriptions rather than exact shades. So we recommend using the simple colour palettes (closed via the minus icon) if you are designing a tartan with a view to official recording. Schools and other beginners will probably also find this the easiest choice to work from.

The colours shown in this palette are organised into the ten main colour groups (reds, greens, purples, etc.) conventionally recorded. Each colour has a mid-, a light, and a darker shade. This reflects how tartans have traditionally been described, with sometimes large variations in how these are interpreted by individual weavers.

Weaver’s Colours

Our Weaver’s Palette (opening the shade palettes using the plus icons) is based on actual photographs of a range of around 100 pre-dyed yarns which are normally held in stock at DC Dalgliesh. The yarns our weavers hold in stock are, almost by definition, the most common shades used for weaving traditional tartans, so should be suitable for most designs.

Please note that the colours you see on your screen will seldom look exactly the same when woven, and differences can sometimes be great. This is inevitable due to variations in display technologies, materials, and light conditions etc.

Special Palettes

You may also filter the full set of Weaver's Colours into small sets selected to give your design one of the three main colourways in which tartans are traditionally woven: Modern Colours, Ancient Colours, and Reproduction Colours. You are not restricted to these, so you can mix in other shades if you prefer. 

Professional Colours

Pro colours will incur a significant surcharge.

If you have specific shades you want to match (e.g. corporate colours) we can dye yarns using spectroscopic analysis. This inevitably means surcharges, which might be significant. We can quote for these only on a case-by-case basis depending on your requirements, which we will be happy to do. Our normal schedules and pricing do not apply, and we will discuss your needs with you before proceding.

However, this should be balanced against the fact that we give substantial volume discounts on larger fabric orders. And for corporate customers ordering fabric in bulk we may be able to waive some or all of the special production surcharges. Please enquire.



Categories Help Centre Creating designs
Tags tartan designer design colours palettes