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While visual arts and linguistics are both creative fields, skill with one isn’t necessarily a prerequisite for the other. After all, as long as you can look at three hues and pick the one best suited for the picture you’re painting, it doesn’t really matter if you know whether to call it fuchsia or periwinkle.

As a matter of fact, some would argue that coupling names and colors limits the imaginations of budding young artists, which is why these two Japanese designers have produced a set of paints for children that have no names on their labels, only splotches of their base component colors.

Yusuke Imai and Ayami Moteki form the two-person design team Ima, Moteki. In 2012 the pair won the Kokuyo Design Award for their novel idea of producing the set of watercolors called Paints Without Names (Namae no Nai E no Gu/なまえのないえのぐ in Japanese).

▼ Imai (left) and Moteki (center)

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The goal is to remove any preconceptions children may have about colors, therein allowing for greater freedom of expression and a more personal connection with the art they create. Imai says that by forgoing names for the paints, it stimulates the young artists’ minds to wonder what sort of color will show up on the canvas, or what the result of mixing two different shades together will be.

Researchers from the Fukuzawa Art Laboratory were impressed by Ima, Moteki’s concept, praising the opportunity it gives children to discover their own feelings about colors and creating unique hues based on their own artistic inspirations. That seems to be exactly what the designers are hoping for as well.

“They might say, ‘Ah, this is the jungle color,’ or, ‘This is the color of something I can’t quite remember,’” Imai muses while discussing the possible effects of starting with the color itself and trying to find words to express it later.

Of course, the users of Paints Without Names still need some way to understand what color is in each tube, which is why the containers have small circles showing the component colors and their relative quantities.

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The first batch of Paints Without Names is about to go on sale to the general public. Priced at 1,800 yen (US$15), the set contains ten 8.8-milliliter (0.3-ounce) tubes.

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Oddly enough, the product description does list names for the three primary colors, with “red” referred to as “magenta” and “blue” as “cyan” (“yellow” remains plain old “yellow”), but those three building blocks are the only ones specified, and their names don’t appear to show up anywhere on the box or paint tubes. So if you’d like to do away with such prepackaged concepts as the whole “roses are red and violets are blue” thing, your art supplies have arrived.

Sources: Spoon & Tamago, Bored Panda, Kokuyo
Top image: Kokuyo (1, 2) (edited by RocketNews24)
Insert images: Kokuyo (1, 2, 3) (edited by RocketNews24)