A Game of Tones


As a Graphic Designer, colour is important to me. I can spend hours looking at colour palettes, adjusting hues – it’s a game of tones all in the name of design. The good news is; I’m not alone!

A few weeks ago I headed South of the river for the Mapleton Crescent SW18 Design supper club hosted by Pocket Living at Flotsam and Jetsam. We ate, we drank, we talked colour – it was a lovely evening. We were treated to an amazing 3 course dinner by Spread London, design focused conversation and 3 speakers.

Flotsam and Jetsam SW18 Flotsam and Jetsam SW18Pantone x Oasis Fashion

It’s no secret that I’m a Pantone fangirl and completely fascinated when it comes to trend forecasting, colour theory or colour matching – I’d even dressed accordingly in my Oasis x Pantone double denim outfit! So when Abigail Bruce from Pantone stepped up to give us a talk after we’d finished our starters (Home cured duck ham with romanesco cauliflower, fennel and hazelnut oil) I was MORE than excited. She gave us a behind the scenes look into the colour matching process at Pantone, shared some colour palette design trends and of course, Pantone colour of the year.

Speaking of colour matching; it played a big part in the newest building to join London’s skyline in Wandsworth – Mapleton Crescent SW18. Following our delicious main course (Cod, beluga lentils, salsa verde with crispy capers and griddled radicchio), Neil Deely from Metropolitan Workshop and Fine Art Ceramicist Loraine Rutt, talked us through their experience of working on the latest Pocket Living development.

Mapleton Crescent is a mix of 1, 2 and 3 bedroom homes packaged within a pretty stunning triangular core building. I know that I’m biased towards triangles being the best shape, but actually it turned out to be the best option for both aesthetic and functionality reasons. Pocket’s compact 1 bedroom concept is great news for young Londoners as they’re exclusively available to first time buyers who work or live in the borough (via the ‘Help to buy’ government scheme). Obviously there is a lot more to it, but from what I can understand the Pocket concept is a glimmer of hope for those who never thought they would be able to get onto the property ladder in London. Wahoo! Alongside this more affordable option, some Pocket Living developments also feature the larger Pocket Edition homes with 2 and 3 bedrooms – these are available to all Londoners btw.

Mapleton Crescent SW18

Ok, enough daydreaming about the possibility of owning a home in London and back to the evening. What I found most interesting was the story behind the tiles that clad the outside of the building; it was quite a long trial and error process, striving to pick the perfect green glaze inspired by the nearby River Wandle. In the end, Loraine was brought on board to achieve the perfect colour – which to me, is a great in between of blue and green. I really admired the dedication to reaching an outcome that they were 100% happy with, rather than admitting defeat and just settling – that definitely would’ve been the fastest, easiest and cheapest option!

I can totally relate to that struggle and it’s common that blues and greens are some of the hardest colours to match, especially in digital and print design. I remember learning about this briefly at college, but hearing the story of Mapleton Crescent’s tiles sparked a new interest in learning a bit more about blue and green hues. Wanna know what I discovered?

Blue Green Tiles

Lost in translation

With the first google, I found myself falling into a scientific hole of colour and language. Did you know that unlike English, some languages don’t distinguish blue from green – as in, there’s actually not separate words to describe them. How confusing is that!?

Alongside this research I found some experiments trying to identify blue squares from green, because lets face it, sometimes it’s quite hard to put your finger on it when it comes to certain shades. Apparently it’s all to do with how your brain processes colour and the strength of your left hand side brain. Better get exercising that muscle, eh?

Mapleton Crescent SW18

Battle of the blues

Now, this might not come as a shock to some (although I’m sure I’m not the only one that has argued over the difference between purple and pink with a man), but actually it’s been scientifically proven that women have a larger colour vocabulary. For example, a hue that a woman might describe as periwinkle, a man would simply say blue.

Apparently it dates back to hunter/gather times – when men needed to be better at distinguishing prey from afar (e.g. movement of animals), and women were more detail focused (e.g. colours of berries). In modern times scientists have cited the reasoning to the X chromosomes which contain the information about colour cells; Men have one X and one Y chromosome, whilst women have two X chromosomes. This is another reason why males are more likely to be colour blind, and females are usually better at colour matching exercises.

Pocket Living

A game of tones

Last year GF Smith embarked on a mission to find out the World’s favourite colour. With initial research suggesting that it could be blue (seen as a special colour as it is rarely found in nature and associated with luxury), when Marrs Green was unveiled I remember being a little confused. Was this shade really classed as green? This is where I first started to think about the blurred lines between blue and green.

As a fan of both colour and GF Smith papers, I was keen to join the conversation through out the research campaign and felt quite invested in the outcome. In conversation with other creatives, without a visual aid ‘Marrs Green’ was often verbally described as a teal or turquoise, but this got me thinking; what are these colours? Are they blue or green? Is it just a matter of opinion? Does anyone else care as much as I do? ha

If we want to get technical, in RGB terms (that’s colours that you see on a computer/tv/phone screen btw) Teal contains exactly the same about of blue as it does green (R0 G50 B50), compared to Turquoise, which is slightly greener (R64 G224 B208). But with every material (e.g. fabric, cardboard, plastic) being different, the hues change and must be adapted. Sigh.

Oh colour, you do keep us guessing!

Emma, Rosh & I climbed 17 flights of stairs in hi-vis jackets and hard hats to see the Mapleton Crescent show flat and take photos at the weekend – yes, we take journalism seriously. Unfortunately we didn’t have a blue sky (thanks to Snow-mageddon) but I can imagine it would be the perfect partner to the one-of-a-kind green ceramic tiles!

The only question left to ask is… when am I moving in?

The Pocket Living mission is to help city makers make London their home. Their Pocket homes provide compact one bedroom affordable homes for young Londoners local to the development, whilst their larger two and three bedroom Pocket Edition homes are available to all.

A limited number of Pocket Edition homes are still available at Mapleton Crescent SW18! To find out more visit mapletoncrescentsw18.com or call 020 7291 3683 to arrange a visit to their newly launched show home.

This is a sponsored post collaboration with Pocket Living, although as always my enthusiasm for triangles, colour and the blue-green debate is 100% my own.

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© Natasha Nuttall | January 2022

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