The names we assign to colors are restrictive and only serve to impede our minds. The water that comes out of a faucet isn’t “blue.” Leaves on the trees can be “green” but they can be so much more. In Japan there’s even the absurd hada-iro (skin color), a peachy color that’s so wrong I’m not even going to begin. But now a young designer duo wants to change the way kids learn about color. They’ve created a set of “Nameless Paints” whose colors are simply identified by just that – their color.
“By not assigning names to the colors we want to expand the definition of what a color can be, and the various shades they can create by mixing them,” explains Yusuke Imai. Together with Ayami Moteki they form the design duo Ima Moteki.
Instead of names, each tube in the 10-color paint set is identified by one or more circles of color. For tubes with more than one circle, the size of the circle indicates the proportion of paint that were mixed to create the resulting color. It’s a radical new way of getting kids to intuitively understand color and remove the preconceptions that names like “green” and “blue” create.
The set of “Nameless Paints” were originally part of the 2012 Kokuyo Design Awards, one of the most interesting design awards in Japan that’s helped commercialize simple yet groundbreaking products like the kadokeshi eraser or the infinite canvas roll table.
Kokuyo’s stationary brand Campus spent the last 3 years working with the designer duo to refine their concept and eventually bring it to market.