Meet an expert: The art of Colours 1024 589 Mathilde Habert

Meet an expert: The art of Colours

<>Meet the Expert
From textile to colours
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Nice to meet you Dorte. Who are you?

I am a designer and a story-teller. I am currently holing the post of Vice-Chairman at the Danish Color Board. I have a good share of professional experience behing me, including in the luxury design industry. I graduated from The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts – Schools of Architecture, Design and Conservation (KADK).

I love to catch the moment with my camera and share it with others. I am curious about who we are and why we act as we do as human beings.

I live in Copenhagen, Denmark. I am a mother of two lovely girls and I believe that life is too short to fool around doing things you do not like. I see the world as a global amazing playground, colourful and inspiring.

Meet Dorte


About me

“I was educated as a tailor and a textile designer. The colours, shapes and materials have been at the centre of my attention, always.”

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Sounds amazing, tell us more!

After years of working as a textile designer, I realised that colours were an essential aspect of the creation. They can structure a collection and makes the whole difference. My vision has expanded with story telling through art photography. Being able to catch the moment where the light, the shadow, and the colours come together in a perfect harmony is so powerful. I capture these moments to make sure they remain as memory and a source of inspiration – that is what I call, “the power of colours”.

I see it as an overall headline, as if colours and light would combine and tell a story. Why not listen when it is all around us? I work hard to reach the perfect harmonies with colours. When I find the “perfect” combination, it clicks and everything makes sense. It is so satisfying. With my camera, I catch moments of colours and light combinations, which I later use to translate into colour stories. This is my mission in life.


HOW I TELL A STORY [Photography by Dorte Lenau Klint]


What is your earliest memory on colours?

Growing up with three siblings, colours were given to my brothers and me from our parents, in order to avoid arguments.

We were associated with a specific colour, which were then tagged on our towels, toothbrush, mugs etc. My colour was red, as I was the only girl. But even then my favourite colour was blue.


MY FAVORITE SEAWEED [Photography by Dorte Lenau Klint]

I have a very strong second memory. When I was about 5 years old, my mother had the most beautiful dress made by a tailor. I remember very clearly looking through the material and colour books from Paris, fascinated by all the colours.

My childhood was all about colours and storytelling. My mother had a thing with weekdays and colours; such as Monday was blue, Wednesday was yellow and so forth. Just the thought that colours could be more than just a colour fascinated me, even though I did not understand it.


How have colours influenced your life?

It feels like a natural thing. Colours are everywhere; from the symphony of colours you get while cooking, the colours in my own home and what I choose to wear. Colours have the power to express a mood and influence you experience life itself.

Colours are essential in my private as well as in my professional spheres. I have been forever obsessed with the coordination and play of colours, and how they express themselves apart, and together. As long as I can remember it has always been at the centre of my focus. At school I coordinated the colours of my cloth everyday. Regardless of the colours itself, my focus was always on the story I was trying to tell through the colour combination. At 12, I decided to dress like the French flag, so I choose clothes in red, blue and white. Voila!


SKY IS THE LIMIT [Photography by Dorte Lenau Klint]


SHADES OF RED [Photography by Dorte Lenau Klint]


THE COLOUR PALETTE OF NATURE [Photography by Dorte Lenau Klint]


Do you think there are cultural aspects to colours?

If a colour had a voice what would it say? It all depends on the eyes of the beholder – so yes, I do believe that there is a cultural aspect to colours as well as language and attitudes.

Our history and traditions affect our choices. There is a predetermination in which will be your favourite colour and it’s meaning to you depending on where you were raised.

Living in Denmark, gave me a strong attraction to the cold colour palette, which have greatly influenced the way I décor my home and my personal taste.

However, traveling South, East and West inspires me to look at colour combination in a different way. I let the space for new palettes in my perception of the world.


On your work journey, how did you become a specialist in colours?

“Colours not only express your mood but they can amplify your message.”


I was educated as a tailor and a textile designer. The colours, shapes and materials have been at the centre of my attention, always. I consider that originality and creativity take life through craftsmanship.

My fascination for colours combination really came in the forefront after I lived in Paris in France and Bologna in Italia.

I realise how you can tell so much when mixing the right colours shades together and how hues are a reflection of the world around us. Colours not only express your mood but they can amplify your message.


Do you think it makes senses to be asked what your favourite colour is?

Yes it does. I think we have seasonal favourites, which come and go. And, deeply rooted, we have a constant favourite colour. So yes, it totally makes sense.

For me, blue is not just blue. It is a colour that gives light and casts shadows, that is why this colour is so essential to me.


What is the Danish Colour Board?

DCB is a non-profit organisation for professional colour enthusiasts – we meet twice a year to create our colour forecast two years ahead. DCB is a member of Intercolour (intercolour.nu) that was established in Paris in 1963. Sixteen countries come together and exchange about colours. Members originate from very different fields: from textile designers to anthropologists, interior decorators, trend forecasters, graphic designers and architects. Together we reach consortium and we have fun while doing it.


[William LaChance]


When it comes to colours, who are your favourite artists?

The old colour palette from wallpaper from the 50s has always fascinated me. The hues are deep and remind me of how craftsmanship was all about handmade original creations.

Besides this, I am a huge fan of William Turner for his blending of colours, Carsten Frank for the energy of his blurred tones, and William LaChance for his colour blocking and the naivety, which stems from it.

Want more?

Join the world of Dorte

“My mission in life: capture this perfect moment when colours and light fusion together”.



Her Bio


Side Project

Decipher Quadrichromia Printing Process 1024 435 Mathilde Habert
Impression Originale Quadrichromie

Decipher Quadrichromia Printing Process

<>Quadrichromia Printing Process
Behind the Scenes
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Back to Greece


Quadrichromia” emerged at the end of the 19th Century. The origin of the word is from the Latin root, quadri, which means “made of four” and from the Greek word, chromia, which means “color”. The technical foundations were laid in the 18th Century by Jacob Christoph Le Blon. The industrial process was adopted by the Press, which began to widely use the four-color process from 1880 onwards.

Impression Originale Quadrichromie noir
Impression Originale Quadrichromie cyan
Impression Originale Quadrichromie rouge
A qualitative Process

Quadrichromia: What is it?

The Quadrichromia printing process, more commonly referred as the CMYK color printing process, is based on four colours: the three primary colours:  blue (cyan or “C”), red (magenta or “M”) and yellow (“Y”). The colour black is used to reinforce the contrasts and to print the text and is reffered as key (“K”).

The four-color printing process allows to control the colour dosage and reproduce the desired colors with fine precision. The result is superior to a digital printing, since the ink is deposited in successive layers and is immediately dried at the outlet. This process gives a real depth to the colours and is considered of superior quality.

A step-by-step Process

Printing Process

In order to reproduce a coloured image on a printed page, it is necessary to decompose it into basic colors. Each color is printed successively on the paper, which is going through the different colours plates: red (magenta), yellow and blue (cyan). In order to match the original colours, during the printing process, a complementary color filter is used on each plate: purple filter to select the yellow, green filter to select the red, orange filter for the blue colour. The colours are printed one after the other, supperposing the layers of colours to render subtle nuances.

To restore to the eye an image identical to the original, the plates are printed by exact superposition with the inks: cyan, magenta and yellow. The black color is mainly used to strengthen the drawing and increase the intensities in the dark parts.

4 steps Quadrichromia impression originale
Primary Colours + Black

How do we achieve the perfect nuance?

With CMYK printing, halftoning (also called screening) allows for less than full saturation of the primary colors; tiny dots of each primary color are printed in a pattern small enough that human beings perceive a solid color. Magenta printed with a 20% halftone, for example, produces a pink color, because the eye perceives the tiny magenta dots on the large white paper as lighter and less saturated than the color of pure magenta ink. Based on the nuance of the desired colour, the ink is deposited in more or less dense sizes of dots.

Moreover, to improve print quality and reduce moiré patterns, the screen for each color is set at a different angle. When using a printing magnifier, we can distinguish the micro dots and the angles of each of the four color.

compte fil impression originale
A Cumbersome Process

The Technical Constraints

The first limit of the process of the CMYK Printing is a lack of flexibility in the sense that each print requires an incompressible preparation time especially for the etching of the four plates which will be used for printing. CMYK printing is therefore not suitable for small amounts of prints (less than 800 sheets).

The second limit is linked to the brightness of some colours. Although as mentioned, the color palette can be almost infinite, some colours may lack intensity. It is the case, for the colour orange, pink, red and for fluorescent colors that are not reproducible using the CMYK process. In this case, the use of standardized ink (PANTONE ©) is recommended for optimized results.

Petite leçon de Quadrichromie_nageuses_4couleurs
One step farther


Mark Gatter, Getting it right in Print / Digital Pre-press for graphic designers (online).

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