We believe tartan design is about telling a story. A story about your family, a person, a sports team, your business or an event in your life that you are truly passionate about. The story of your tartan will count for as much as the tartan design itself. We will work with you to discover what story you want to tell and help you design a tartan that can not only be made into products and cherished items, but can be used by future generations to come. Our design team will initially meet with you to discuss why you want to create a tartan and any points of significance that can help shape the design of the tartan.
How are tartans designed?
A person’s favourite colours, the colours of a logo or even the seasonal colours of a special place have all been used as inspiration towards the colours of new tartans. From this, our design team will create a mood board for you to visualise the colours you are considering for your tartan. Due to there being so many possibilities of patterns, we often tell our customers to look at currently produced tartans so that they can understand what they like and dislike. Analyse why you like a certain tartan; is it the positioning of the red line next to the white? Is it the 2 white lines that run through the charcoal colour block?
From here, our design team will speak with our mills and produce colourways (usually a maximum of 6 colours) and thread counts to create digital design files for you to gain an understanding of how the colours can be blended together to create your tartan. Some tartans use only 2 colours, so don’t feel obliged to always use 6 colours.
A ‘sett’ pattern will be created, which is important when it comes to weaving the final cloth. For kilts and skirts, the conventional size of ‘sett’ is 4 to 6 inches and neckties about 2 inches. We will aim to have around 250 threads per ‘sett’. 2 threads will create a narrow line of colour. 40 threads will create a thicker, robust line.
We do this to even numbers to accommodate how the looms shuttle. If the shuttle runs from left to right, it obviously has to come back the way (right to left) and each journey weaves a thread. It is at this point that you will tell us how thick or narrow you wish the lines (or sett pattern) to be.
Factors such as weave style, yarn quantities and cloth density will now need to be decided. Yarn samples of the exact colours will also be included with the completed drawings. Once we go through a few designs, we start to narrow down the range of ideas until we reach the final design, which will become your very own tartan.
Once you decide the name of your new tartan, we will then register it for you at The Scottish Register of Tartans, which forms part of the National Records of Scotland and a sample of your new tartan design will be held within the National Records. A framed certificate of the registration of the tartan will be presented to you, once the registration has been processed.
After this, we can get your tartan made. Once woven, you can create a huge number of products, including kilts, tartan trousers, tartan ties, interior design items and other fashion garments. We can also add the new tartan design to corporate labelling, uniforms or packaging.
Can I create my own tartan?
There are many reasons why people have designed their own tartans:
To commemorate their Grandfather who fought in WW2
To celebrate the wedding and unity of two cultures when an Australian woman married her Scottish fiancé
To recognise the significance of Scotland in the growth of a business
Gold and red used from the Chinese flag to celebrate a family's heritage
A family’s coat of arms
The colours of the loch during sunset where a groom proposed to his fiancé
20 threads of one colour and 12 of another marked a wedding date of 20th December