Almost every aspect in life wears a label: countries, religion, possessions. Taking cue from the vision of John Lennon, imagine if there are no colors in this world? The sheer number of possibilities of shades and tones represents the vibrancy and diversity of the world, the universe and us. The intermingling and interaction of this color palette produces hues that color the world beautiful.

By not assigning names to the colors we want to expand the definition of what a color can be, and the various shades they can create by mixing them.

A team of two designers Yusuke Imai and Ayami Moteki, known as Ima Moteki together, came up with the concept of Nameless Paints. It comes as a set of ten white paint tubes that specify a Cyan, Magenta, Yellow (CMY) ratio combination. Aimed at encouraging a deeper understanding of color theory and compositions, and how new colors are created from mixing, these paints open the eyes and mind to art and our perspective of life. With an intuitive connection and understanding of colors, green, red, yellow, purple could hold more meaning than preconceptions inferred from their labels.

We were working to see if people’s outlook on life could be changed. The original name of our work was “Paints of the Primary Trio of Colors”, but we changed the name to one that we felt was more abstract and open to interpretation. The tubes and packaging were likewise designed to this concept.

This highlights the important of making an effort to recognize and try to understand those different from us, their roots, their base colors, what makes them “them”. In Japan, there are some colors that identify visually with the societal environment. For example, hada-iro for a peachy beige that translates literally to skin color, and chai-iro for brown, which literally translates to tea color. But what makes skin color, skin color? Repeating that in different locations around the world would probably illicit many different answers, along with some bewildered stares.

Conceptualized in 2012, Nameless Paints won a Kokuyo Design Award and is now sold in stores. In an interview published on the Kokuyo site, the design duo explains their motivation and inspiration behind their work.

After getting this award, there have been numerous applications of the Nameless Paints: exhibitions and paintings, and even a picture book to learn about colors from the perspective of color theory. It has helped to spawn many more ideas rapidly.

Underneath this set of paints lies a beautiful sentiment of illustrating the origins and mixes of people, and hopefully paints a vibrant multi-hued representation of our world.