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Paint Tubes Stripped of Color Names Help Kids Learn the Rainbow

Color is often cited by philosophers and linguists as one of the aspects of our vision that is most imprecisely connected to language. It's impossible to describe the experience of seeing a color without relating it to some object that possesses that color. In some ways, that limits our ability to talk about color and create with it. But the Japanese design studio Kokuyo is enlisting kids to perhaps one day change this limitation.

Nameless Paints, instead of engaging in the endless (but very inventive) naming that companies like Crayola are infamous for, has decided to break down some of the fallacies that have for years led to uncreative misnamings of colors, like a 'blue ocean' or a "beige" flesh tone.

The paint tubes have no verbiage on them and display every color as a combination of the three primaries—red, blue and yellow—in various proportions, indicated by the size of each color dot.

Originally, the designer, Yusuke Imai, wanted to expand the palette by using the CMYK schematic, adding black and magenta to the color mix. But this would have resulted in 25 different colors per set, which would have been expensive to produce and somewhat complicated to use as well. Better to leave more of the color mixing to the user and leave the number of different paints in the box at 10.

Watercolor was also chosen as the type of paint so that white paint wouldn't have to be included in the set and complicate, or disturb, the schema. Users can instead use water to thin the paint.

The Nameless Paints design won a 2012 Kokuyo Design Award, which was a call for stationery designs that would be marketed under the brand name "Campus." The packaging is meant to convey the concept of clarity and simplicity

The set of watercolor paints retails for 1800 yen ($15) and comes in an oblong package with light-diffusing plastic that puts the spotlight on the bright dots of color.

Nameless Paints

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