Owning Colour

BBC Radio 4

Designer Wayne Hemingway looks at five colours that have been at the centre of ownership and trademark battles, revealing the complex status of colours in our society – their artistic, commercial and cultural impact.

He explores our response to colour – whether it’s the red soles of designer shoes, the blue strip of a football team or the purple of a chocolate bar wrapper – interviewing those involved in branding, advertising and IP, as well as the psychologists, scientists , colour gurus, artists and those creating the colours of tomorrow using Nanotechnology.

Programme 1 – Red
In 1980s, a company in America became the first to successfully trademark a colour. It was also the decade when Wayne Hemingway launched his fashion label Red or Dead, illustrated by a logo in a particular shade of red. Now he hopes scientists can re-create that colour in a paint laboratory in Slough, where they make trademarked colours such as Red Stallion and Roasted Red. Wayne explores the beginnings of colour ownership through a colour with two sides – love and passion or blood and aggression.

Producer: Sara Parker
A Juniper production for BBC Radio 4.