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Introducing: British Colour Standard

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Connoisseurs of colour Jackie Piper and Victoria Whitbread have breathed new life into a vintage colour system—applying these uniquely captivating shades to a stunning collection of home and lifestyle products. Here, we delve into the history of Designed in Colour by British Colour Standard and get to know its founders a little more. 


It all began with a book…

Long before there was Pantone and RAL, there was the British Colour Standard; a unique system for coding colours that was created nearly a century ago. 

As product designers at art college, Jackie and Victoria knew a little about this vintage system, but it wasn’t until discovering a 1930s edition of the book whilst browsing an Oxfam store that they really got to appreciate its beauty. Not only did the colours captivate these creatives, but so too did their uniquely wonderful names; Adonis Blue, Bunting Yellow, Empire Blue, Falcon, Squirrel and Malmaison Rose to name a few.

Developed to help decode colour and allow countries all over the world to match their flags, uniforms, bunting and carpets, this ‘British Dictionary of Colour’ was filled with dyed strips of ribbon and strands of fluffy wool. Incredibly, colours would be matched by eye (no formulas), and printed alongside helpful advice like ‘comparison with the Standards should be made in good north light’. 


Meet the new custodians

Needing to know more, Jackie and Victoria headed to the British Library to rummage through archives. They discovered more than they could ever imagine; book after book filled with beautiful vintage colours, names and numbers. However, they weren’t particularly useful for modern designers and creatives in this form. 

Jackie and Victoria set about making them available from a modern design perspective by digitising them. Scanning all of the old colour books with a specialised tool, this archive of beautiful colours was once again brought to the forefront and BRITISH COLOUR STANDARD was born. 


Designs to captivate every customer

Through their wholesale business, Designed in Colour, retailers have the opportunity to purchase a variety of beautifully designed products from across the home and lifestyle spheres. All of Jackie and Victoria’s designs are created in-house in London using the British Colour Standard palette and have a Fair Trade, sustainable or eco provenance.


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Written by Jordan Evans
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Written by Jordan Evans