textile colour research


a textile colour study for colour blindness

For most of us, colour is an obvious part of our visual perception. Yet 1 in 12 men and 1 in 200 women have some form of colour blindness. This equates to 1 person in every class and 300 million people worldwide.

Colour blindness differs from person to person and there are different types of colour blindness. The Chromarama design research visualises how people with reduced colour vision see and experience colour, by designing textiles from a colourblind perspective.

Within the design field and design education there is little knowledge and attention for people with a reduced ability to distinguish colours from each other.

Guidelines have been drawn up for functional design, such as the design of maps, signage and software, but there is still much to improve. Impaired colour vision is almost never taken into account in the aesthetic or decorative use of colour.

The Chromarama colour study is an artistic search for an optimal colour selection. Through various interviews with colourblinds, it became clear that they experience all kinds of inconveniences in daily life when it comes to seeing, naming and choosing or combining colours.

Most colourblind people can see colour, but have trouble distinguishing a number of colours. They often accept two colours as a match, while people with normal colour vision see them as very different colours. Choosing the right colour combinations can avoid a lot of confusion.

problem colours

First of all, a selection was made of colours and colour combinations that colour blind people have difficulty with. The focus here is mainly on red / green blindness, as this form is the most common.

artist palettes

By analysing works of art by well-known colour masters, it was examined whether they have a natural feeling for choosing colours and contrasts that are well perceived by colour blind people. In general, the artworks did not lose their essence, but some colours turned into shades of gray and were indistinguishable from each other as well as some shapes. This simulation shows how the colours change when perceived by a person with red / green blindness and blue blindness.


Research has also been done into bindings where different colours of yarns are combined to form a dominant visible colour. These digital sketches of satin bindings in different colour threads show the colour difference between black and white warp threads and the dominant colour that becomes visible.

yarn windings

Through yarn windings, the colours and shades have been selected that can be clearly distinguished for the different forms of colour blindness. On the other hand yarn windings are composed of colours that appear as the same hues to colour blind people.

Chromarama Textile Colour Research
Chromarama Textile Colour Research
Chromarama Textile Colour Research
Chromarama Textile Colour Research

Above a small preview of the five jacquard woven wall hangings that are currently being developed at TextileLab Tilburg, in the run-up to full reveal in early 2021.


this project is made possible by