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Designers' Gouache

Opaque Water Colours renowned for their colour brilliance & matt finish

Range Introduction

Winsor & Newton have been producing Designers Gouache since 1935 and to this day we continue to offer the finest artists' gouache range available.

Designers Gouache colours are a range of opaque water colours, mainly used by designers, illustrators and commercial artists to create vibrant illustrations in solid colour. Gouache is also widely used in fine art as an opaque water colour.

Today the Designers Gouache range benefits from significant developments in technology and is smoother, flatter, more opaque and more brilliant than ever before.

Click on the headings below to discover more about the unique qualities of Designers Gouache.    

You can also view all the colours in this range by going to our colour chart.

Sizes available
Raw Materials
Formulation
Pigments
Pigment strength
Spectrum/ Colour range
Opacity
Bleeding/ Staining Colours

 

 

Series
Permanence
Covering Power
Brilliance of Colour
Even Flow
Matt Finish
Drying Times

Designers' Gouache tubesSizes available

Designers' Gouache has recently benefited from a wide ranging review in our research & development laboratory and now offers a wide range of 85 colours.

All colours are available in 14ml tubes (except Bleedproof White, Process White and Photo Opaque); a selected number of whites, blacks and metallics are avaliable in 30ml, 60ml, and 100ml pots and 37ml tubes. 

 


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Raw materials

Choosing the raw materials for the Designer Gouache range of colours requires years of knowledge and expertise from our chemists. We select materials from thousands of sources across the globe to ensure that we have the highest quality to make the most superior formulations. Once accepted as a Winsor & Newton ingredient each raw material is subjected to scrupulous quality control checks at the time of delivery to ensure they meet with our high standards before the manufacturing process can begin.

Formulation

Good quality gouache colour is a combination of pigment and gum arabic. Gum arabic is the binder that holds the pigment, giving it that perfect creamy 'flowing' consistency. (NB some cheaper brands may have chalk added to the pigment which in turn effects the 'flow and the brilliance of colour').

Every colour within the range has an individual formulation to take advantage of each and every pigment characteristic and ensure tube stability.

Gouache in the lab

We call upon the expertise of our chemists who have many years of experience to develop formulations using the excellent raw materials sourced, we utilise our state of the art manufacturing techniques to deliver colour that is the best available – our Designers Gouache colours are more commonly chosen than any other gouache range.

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Pigments

Pigments are sourced from many different places, some are natural products - notably the earths (umbers, Ochre’s etc); some are from metal compounds and are often referred to as ‘traditional’ or ‘genuine’ (cadmiums, cobalt’s, titanium) and there is an ever growing range of organic pigments available as a result of the distillation of petroleum, these are often termed ‘modern’. In total there are 45 different pigments used in the Designers Gouache range. 

Pigments 

Within the Designers Gouache range there are many single pigment colours in order to provide the widest handling properties and maintain clean mixing. We always try to use single pigments wherever possible as they are purer in hue and cleaner in colour than mixtures of pigments. This provides a larger number of colour mixes before resulting in muddy colours. This is of most interest to the fine artists.

 

In addition to the single pigment colours there are the other colours that are produced using specific mixtures of pigments. These are equally important as we understand that it is difficult if not impossible to consistently mix some colours by hand and time consuming if you are doing so when painting. By Winsor & Newton mixing these colours in the manufacturing process the artist is saving time and colour otherwise wasted on incorrect mixing.  As an opaque medium it is also more difficult to obtain a complete spectrum with single pigments because many are naturally more transparent. We therefore provide these mixed colours to ensure the widest spectrum without compromising brilliance and opacity.

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Pigment Strength

It is widely misunderstood that Gouache is opaque as a result of adding chalk or other such materials. The opaque colours within the Winsor & Newton Designers Gouache range are opaque due to the exceptionally high levels of pigmentation in the formulation, which results in unsurpassed covering power and clean colour mixing. A number of colours now have increased pigment strength.

Opacity of Gouache    

Spectrum/Colour Range

One of the main reasons artists choose Winsor & Newton is our colour spectrum. The Designers Gouache range offers a wide and balanced spectrum of 82 tube colours (4 additional colours in pots). These colours have been chosen according to mass tone (colour from tube), colour bias (undertone), colour strength and relative opacity. The range includes bright colours for designers and more lightfast ones for fine artists. The resultant colour range ensures that all artists can obtain the palette which best suits their work, and also that all colours can be safely intermixed.

As a result of the recent review there are now also a number of unique ultra bright colours such as Opera Pink and Opera Rose.

 Opera Pink and Opera RoseOpera Pink and Opera Rose

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Opacity

All the Designers' Gouache colours are more opaque than Artists' Water Colours. However, the degree to which they cover does vary. The relative opacity of the colours is marked on the colour chart; the transparent colours are marked with  or T and the opaque colours are marked with  or O. When overpainting in layers, the relative ‘staining' (bleeding) properties of the colours are indicated on the colour chart.

 Transparent Griffin   Semi-transparent    Semi-Opaque     Opaque Griffin

Transparent

   Semi-Transparent    Semi-Opaque  

Opaque

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Bleeding/Staining Colours

When overpainting in layers, the relative ‘staining' (bleeding) properties of the colours are also indicated on the colour chart. (see also Layering colour in Hints and Tips) 

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Series

Due to the wide range of pigments used in the range it is necessary to use a series system. The series indicates the relative price of the colour and is determined mainly by the cost of the pigment. Designers Gouache has four series with Series 1 being the least expensive and Series 4 the most expensive.

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Permanence

Chemists developing GouacheDesigners' Gouache has the same ratings as the other Winsor & Newton artists' quality ranges. AA and A rated colours are recommended as permanent for fine artists. Some of the brighter, Designers' Gouache colours within the range are only available as B or C rated. This is because in certain areas of the spectrum, particularly magenta, pigments are not available to achieve permanence as well as brightness and opacity.

As the designer's original art work is unlikely to be required after reproduction, brightness takes priority. However we strive to deliver the best possible lightfastness we can and have recently been able to improve some of our colours to A ratings.

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Covering power

The covering power of the Winsor & Newton Designers Gouache colour range is unsurpassed due to its high pigment content. The natural attribute of each of the pigments will also add to the level of opacity which further contributes to covering power.

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Brilliance of Colour

The brilliance of colour achieved with the Designers Gouache range is stunning, every colour is bold and vibrant as a result of the meticulous toil that goes in to selecting the pigments, the quality of those pigments and concentration of the pigment in the colour.

3 tubes on green

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Even Flow   

Designers Gouache is renowned for its smooth even flow, it glides across grounds resulting in a flat non streaky finish.

Gouache should not be applied too thickly as it may crack.

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Gouache cowMatt Finish

As a result of the high level of pigmentation Winsor & Newton Designers Gouache dries to a matt finish. This reduces the reflection when photographing the work.

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Drying times

One of the natural attributes of gum arabic - the binder used in Designers Gouache is that it is quick drying. This faster drying allows quick working techniques and preliminary sketching to be done. Also as with water colour, work can be finished quickly and as a result travelling with work is made much easier.

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