THE AMAZING STORY OF KOLORMONDO
Told by Nicoline, the inventor and founder of Kolormondo.
- Why was it so difficult to match colors, both in clothes and in styling at home? Brown was specifically annoying; WHY did my brown pants not look good with my brown top? I could SEE that they did not match, but not understand WHY.
I have come to realize that I was “color illiterate”. Not color blind, but unable to “read”. I had never learned the ABC of color, such as Red + Black= Brown. And it was my need to understand color theory that created Kolormondo, and made me into an inventor, being the proud holder of 4 patents. This is how it started, in 2010:
I was a small entrepreneur, running a theater school for kids as well as a rental business for holiday homes. A weekend workshop on chromatics happened to catch my eye. In the workshop, we painted Johannes Itten’s color star. We started by putting blue, red and yellow in a triangle on a circle, then mixed them to create green, red, orange etc. eventually getting a full color circle. We then painted inwards, gradually mixing each color with white, and outwards mixing with black.
WOW! WOW! WOW! The red turned into pink going inwards, while turning brown when going out. And its neighbor, orange, went apricot in the inwards direction and brown, but another brown, when going out. Yellow, green and purple were also getting brownish when darkened. So I suddenly saw, and understood, the difference between one brown and another. It is explained by 1) the “mother color” - hue - as well as 2) the degree of darkness - value. I was not yet aware of 3) the third dimension, going inwards – chroma.
Silly? Well, to many people this is just too easy. But I was excited, to say the least.
The teacher explained that the star can be shaped into a sphere, which makes the correlations even more obvious. The white middle would be the North Pole and the black edges would join together in the South Pole. When slicing such a sphere, you would see, not only how colors transformed sideways, from red to orange etc along the latitudes and from dark to light going up along the longitudes. But, specifically interesting, you would see how they all went gray, when going in, and meeting, in the very middle of the sphere (so that is the third dimension, chroma, going in and out between the middle gray in the middle and the strong, pure chromatic colors on the outside of the globe. The gray scale forms a pillar from north to south.
But, the teacher added, this was just a theoretical concept, it does not exist in real life... Too bad for me since I was unable to imagine what the inside would look like. I wanted to have it and hold it.
So; Eureka, a business concept was born. I glued my star on an old, dry tangerine, that thus became the very first prototype of Kolormondo. And I started thinking about things like construction, choice of material, customer groups etc. A long adventure began.
A company needs a mission. Kolormondo´s mission has come to be:
"To enable anyone and everyone to know, enjoy, use and talk: color.
And our goal is:
"Kolormondo should be as common a learning tool as is the globe of our earth, found in every classroom."
(Not quite there, yet!😊)
Images: Johannes Itten, The colour star. An early prototype. Inventor and founder Nicoline Kinch with a Kolormondo colour globe.
KOLORMONDO WAS BORN - AND LOVED
Industrial designer Jonas Ahnme created much of what we have today and graphical designer Daniel Bjugård made the logotype and came up with the idea behind the construction.
Runge, Göthe and Itten, the old color masters used RYB (Red, Yellow and Blue) as basic colors. However, we came to realize, you must use CMY (Cyan Blue, Magenta Red and Yellow) to make it work out. That is “the secret” of Kolormondo, we have taken old color knowledge into the modern world.
It was important to find a good name. It should go well in all languages, be clear and easy to understand. As I speak Esperanto, “Kolormondo” which means “world of colors” was perfect.
One year later the first patent application -there were three more to come - was made and Kolormondo presented its first product. Shortly thereafter, I received my first award; the Inventors Prize of the city of Stockholm.
AIC, the World Colour Organization, held a world congress shortly thereafter. We were able to present Kolormondo to the experts. Luckily, they loved it. This helped us create contacts and spread the idea all over the world. Universities of design/architecture/fashion in Lisbon, London, Los Angeles, Milan, New York, Santiago de Chile, Shanghai, Stockholm etc use it in teaching. Global companies – Akzo Nobel, Apple Computers, Chanel, L ́Oreal and Hugo Boss to name a few – have it for color training purposes, as well as fr inspiration and design discussions. It is sold, in Museum- and design shops, as an educational toy for all ages.
Images: Kolormondo globes at The Bauhaus museum shop. Designer Sandra Rhodes.