Heraldry, Heritage and the History of British Colours

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Steve recently received a very special book on the subject of traditional British colours. Issued by the British Colour Council and limited to just 250 copies, the book commemorates the Coronation of His Majesty King George VI and Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth.

Presenting a comprehensive history of British colours, it includes a wide selection of velvet and grosgrain ribbon colour samples. It also unpacks the stories behind these colours.

One such story lies in the tradition of Heraldry. Over the course of the 12th century, Knights were ‘sheathed in complete steel’; so for them to be able to distinguish between friend and foe, their armour needed distinctive heraldic marks. These marks had to be visually expressive and easily identifiable. And, since few people could read or write at the time, colour played a significant role in distinguishing different troops.

Heraldic arms, and the colours that made them up, came to represent the fortunes of the troops that wore them. Over time, many Heraldic arms have fallen to the trials and tribulations of war. However, the arms that have survived to this day symbolise victory, endurance and courage in adversity.

From Heraldic and ceremonial colours to the colours of the army and navy, Steve has thoroughly enjoyed exploring the various stories behind our nation’s traditional colours.

With over four decades in branding under his belt, Steve knows better than anyone that when we choose a colour we need to think about more than just the colour itself. We must consider the history behind the colour, and the different tales and stories attached to it.

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