THE AMAZING STORY OF KOLORMONDO
Told by Nicoline, the inventor and founder of Kolormondo.
- Why was it so difficult to match colours, 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 “colour illiterate”. Not colour blind, but unable to “read”. I had never learned the ABC of colour, such as Red + Black= Brown. And it was my need to understand colour 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 theatre 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 colour star. We started by putting blue, red and yellow in a triangle on a circle, then mix them to create green, red, orange etc. eventually getting a full colour circle. We then painted inwards, gradually mixing each colour 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 where 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 colour” - 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 correlation even more obvious. The white middle would be a North Pole and the black edges would join together in the South Pole. When slicing such a sphere, you would see, not only how colours 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 grey, 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 grey in the middle and the strong, pure chromatic colours on the outside of the globe. The grey 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 un able 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, the very first protoype of Kolormondo. And I started thinking about things likeconstruction 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: colour."
You should also have a goal:
"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 colour masters used RYB (Red, Yellow and Blue) as basic colours. 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 colour 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 colours” was perfect.
One year later the first patent application -there where 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.
Luckily enough AIC, the World Colour Organization, held a world congress shortly after that and we where 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 Bozz to name a few – has it for colour training purposes as well as for inspiration and design discussions. It is sold, primarily in Museum- and design shops, as an educational toy for all ages.
Images: Kolormondo globes at The Bauhaus museum shop. Designer Sandra Rhodes.