Graphic Arts: A Timeline Of Innovation

Winsor & Newton Graphic Arts - A Timeline Of Innovation

Winsor & Newton have been on the cutting edge of art materials since the company was founded in 1832. Based on a partnership between a chemist and artist, we have stayed true to our heritage by continually pursuing modern advancements in chemistry whilst collaborating with artists and designers. Here is a timeline of our innovative Graphic Arts materials which are formulated to be reliablemade with the highest quality materials 

1890s | Drawing Inks Launch

Winsor and Newton - Black drawing Ink

Drawing in ink is a simple way for artists to set ideas down quickly and has a history that goes back for centuries.  In the 1890s, when our drawing inks were first released, if you wanted a fast-drying liquid medium for sketching and drawing, artists reached for a pot of ink and a dip, or nib, pen.  Today, Winsor & Newton modern Drawing Inks are made of water-soluble dyes mixed into a superior shellac solution; the range includes 26 colours and two blacks. 

1937 | Winsor & Newton introduce Designers Gouache

Designer Gouache demonstrated in the style of Piet Mondrian

A highly pigmented opaque water-based paint, Designers Gouache became the most popular medium used by designers.   The short-lived, but very influential, Bauhaus School was dominating design at the time Winsor & Newton released their gouache formula; designers were striving to combine beautiful form with everyday function, in line with the Bauhaus aesthetic. Architecture was another field being transformed by new design ideas and technology in 1937, with visionary architects such as Mies van der Rohe drawing his buildings on paper in pencil, ink and gouache.   This was particularly exciting time for creatives in all fields, and our gouache played a role in helping them visualize their designs.   

1973 | Drawing Inks Receive a D.A.D.A Silver Award

Renowned designer Michael Peters OBE was responsible for creating the iconic packaging for our Drawing Inks Regarding the spider design for the black in this range, Peters said, ‘The illustration devised for the Black Indian ink packaging had to cover an area four times bigger than the other packs. A spider was an obvious choice because it could stretch out over a wide space.’  Today, our gentleman spider is a well-recognized image known the world over. 

2015 | Winsor & Newton ProMarker and BrushMarker

Following the purchase of the premier marker and typeface manufacturer Letraset, ProMarker joined the Winsor & Newton family as Winsor & Newton ProMarker. This gave Winsor & Newton the chance to offer vibrant colour in a marker format, producing an innovative streak-free alcohol-based dye in 173 colours that allows for perfectly flat, smooth colour.  At the same time, we introduced Winsor & Newton BrushMarker for working more expressively.

2018 | Studio Collection Pencils

Winsor & Newton launches Studio Collection, boxed setof graphite, colour and watercolour pencils.  Graphite pencils are a combination of graphite, wax and binder; the recipe for our pencils provides for a superior range in tone and the tip will not break easily, allowing you to work with a very sharp point for details.  The colour pencils are highly pigmented with a wax-based soft core which allows for rich colours and opaque coverage.  They have a high lightfastness rating and the tip is strong enough to withstand being dropped without breaking.  Studio Collection Watercolour Pencils have the same qualities of Studio Collection Coloured Pencils, but they also have the advantage of being transformed when water is added with a brush and the pencil marks are diluted to create a watercolour wash.

2018 | Introducing the Winsor & Newton Fineliner

Close up of a Winsor & Newton Fineliner

Winsor & Newton launches the new Fineliner, a contemporary format for drawing in ink.  It is a water-resistant formula, so you can draw with Fineliners and then confidently add watercolour or Promarkers on top, knowing that they will not bleed and run.  Our lab created a long barrel for a comfortable grip, a tapered nib to provide a smooth flow of ink and a narrow point for sharp detail.

2019 | New Cadmium-Free Watercolour and Designer Gouache

Winsor & Newton accomplished another world-first in 2019 with the introduction of an innovation in water-based pigment: cadmium-free formulas that provide true parity in colour and performance to genuine cadmium paints.  Cadmium is a heavy metal and, although there is no globally harmonised view, there are some concerns about its safety.  

Safety is paramount at Winsor & Newton; therefore, we asked our chemists to create something totally new that would answer the needs of artists who love cadmium colours but had concerns about their impact.  The resultare cadmium-free formulas that deliver the same strength, vibrancy and lightfastness as a cadmium formula, providing an innovative and uncompromising alternative. 

2019 | The Promarker Family

Winsor & Newton Promarker Family

Winsor & Newton re-launches Promarker with fresh packaging and introduces new sub-ranges: Promarker, Promarker Brush, Promarker Metallic and Promarker Neon. The new ranges are made possible after extensive work in the lab to create colours in metallic and neon that do not compromise on the quality people expect and rely on from Promarkers: perfectly even colour, with no unsightly streaking.

2020 | Promarker Watercolour Launch

Winsor & Newton introduces Promarker Watercolour and a new way to create watercolours on-the-go arrives.  By creating an innovative watercolour formula that could be delivered in a marker format, the range of options expanded again.  From sharp, graphic lines to gestural swathes of colour, it is all possible in this newest iteration of our Graphic Arts materials.  Water can be added at home or back in the studio; alternatively, the markers can be dipped in water or used on wet paper in situ to create dynamic watercolours. 

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