1940s color swatches

mgking's picture

I am working on a personal series of graphics and would like to use a late 1940s color scheme. Does anyone have any suggestions where I might find some swatches? I've tried the color sites, but don't really get much. Any library suggestions - old issues of something that might be worth a look?

oprion's picture

Are you looking for colors that would've been used in the 40s, or what they look like today (considering the aging of paper.)
Personal Art and Design Portal of Ivan Gulkov

Don McCahill's picture

Leslie Cabarga's The Designer’s Guide to Color Combinations has many historic color palettes, if I recall correctly.


jveetee's picture

frode frank, Coolest site for color inspiration. Thank you for sharing it.

James Tocco
Designer, Detroit, Michigan USA

Frode Bo Helland's picture

Colourlovers is great. Take a look at the articles on different artists as well.

Bert Vanderveen's picture

In cinema the fourties are a transitional period. Still a lot of black and white movies and the ones in colour very stylized. Movies credited Technicolor consultants, who were aware of the shifts in colour that occurred because the film material was far from true…

On topic: The feel of an era is just that: a feeling. As far as all of the elements in your designs evoke that feel an out-of-place colour won’t shatter the illusion, but probably enhance it.

. . . .
Bert Vanderveen BNO

Miss Tiffany's picture

You could also look at print advertising and packaging from that time period.

Artboy34's picture

You might also want to search for archives of printed materials, fabrics, posters, etc. from the period and approximate the hexidecimal and CMYK builds from the images. Depending on the quality of the scands, you can develop a nice palette. I did the same thing for a 1950s direct mailer with great success.

Martin Bentley Krebs
Designosaur since 1980

mgking's picture

I want to thank all of you for taking the time to share your ideas with me. Frode frank impressed me with his colourlovers skill. I need to really get into that sight and learn how to ask it. In reply to oprion, I was born during WWII [and Martin thinks he is a dinosaur!] and the first images that impressed me were the publications printed on a stock that muted the colors. I think it is that look I am after. I am especially thinking of the British publications from that era, although all the classic magazines from that period, Colliers, for example had the same look. I suspect it was because of the high pulp content of the paper. And I agree with Bert. If I can set the mood with the subject one discordant color shouldn't spoil and might enhance something.And thank you Don, for suggesting Leslie Carbaga's reference.

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