On the Colour Couch with Designer and maker Daniel Heath

little book of colour on the colour couch with daniel heath

I first met Daniel when we were both invited as judges for the Colour in Design Awards (CIDA) which is held during the two-week long UK New Designers event. The awards founder is Marianne Shillingford, Creative Director, Dulux UK & Ireland. If her name sounds familiar, you might remember reading her Colour Couch interview a while back. It’s now Daniel and my third year as judges, and as he is a huge colour lover I invited him to take a seat on the Colour Couch and share his colourful world with us.

What is your earliest colour memory?

My earliest colour memory is of a trip to Spain when I was 4 or 5 years old. My Dad lived in Spain as a teenager and this was his first visit back to the country as an adult and I remember there were so many things he was able to show me and my siblings. What sticks in my memory is a visit to Seville when the orange trees were in fruit. I had only seen oranges in the supermarket or the fruit bowl so to see them growing in the trees and dropping onto the pavements fascinated me.

What does colour mean to you?

I think I have always associated colour with travel and adventure. It’s the thing that can always evoke a memory of another culture or an experience. I find it very comforting and I try to bring back colourful things from trips abroad, often as ceramics or textiles. 

Do you have a favourite colour or a colour that you find yourself constantly drawn to? And why?

I often find myself drawn to musty yellows. Turmeric tones. I think it is because they are jolly but also sophisticated. They are warm and earthy and make me think of the souks of Essaouira with its spices and rugs. I am also in love with fresh, bold green tones that mimic nature. 

Do you have a colour that you least like? And why?

Purple or violet. I really struggle with it. The colder the hue, the worse it is for me in terms of this colour group. I am not entirely sure why. I don’t think I have ever worn purple. I think my brain associates it with 90s fashion, but not in a good way. 

What do you love most about working with colour?

Colour sits alongside drawing as one of the key tools in my trade. I love to make colours and to see how colours sit together. The colours used in a design can transform its mood completely and can change the feeling of a space entirely. 

What do you think your life would be like without colour?

In some ways, a lot simpler, but also without the surprise and delight that colour can provide. When I put two colours together in a design by printing them through silkscreens I will often try to picture what it will look like, but I can never be certain until I print a swatch.

What’s your favourite colour story?

We named our son Rufus, which means “red-haired” as we thought he might be ginger like me. It turns out he isn’t very ginger at all, but we won’t be changing his name now, he is four.

Were you ever afraid or wary of colour? And what did you do to overcome this?

I was afraid of colour throughout my studies and my graduate collections from both my BA and MA lacked any kind of colour confidence. My wife Laura was the first one to encourage me out of my shell and to get me to experiment. I was printing my Taxidermy Birds wallpaper in navy or olive green and Laura urged me to try a bright orange for a photoshoot… I have never looked back! I am very confident now with colour, which I think has helped me continue to enjoy what I do.

Do you have a favourite colour place that you visit (or have visited)?

The Jardin Majorelle, Marrakech. The Majorelle blue is so wonderful, fresh and fun! To see such a bold colour used outside, adorning and enhancing the architecture is a spectacle to behold. The building also houses the incredible archive of Yves Saint Laurent – look out for the scarves, they are a personal favourite.

If you could pick any colour and give it a name, what would that be?

Laura has had to name a lot of colours over the years, so I don’t envy the task! I suppose I would rename a bright orange “Rufus” after my little sunshine. 

For anyone afraid of colour what would your number 1 piece of advice be?

You can’t please all of the people all of the time! Don’t let what you think other people might like hold you back.

Which colourful person do you most admire and would love me to interview for the On the Colour Couch series?

My wife and fellow colour expert Laura Perryman.

I really resonated with Daniel’s connection with colour, travels and adventure. I love to immerse myself in different cultures and in nature to get that in person, full sensory colour experience. And it just so happens that I know Laura too as she’s a fellow CIDA judge, so I’ll definitely be inviting her to join us on The Colour Couch.

If you would like to discover more about Daniel head over to his Instagram @danheathstudio.

To find out more about New Designers 2022 which is on from 29th June until 9th July, you can check it out here.

And if you’d like to know more about the Colour in Design Awards (CIDA) you can check out their website and their Instagram.

If you’d like to read Marianne Shillingford Colour Couch interview, you can check it out over here.

Wishing you a colourful day,

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