Werner’s Nomenclature of Colours

A recreation of the original 1821 color guidebook

In the late 18th century, German mineralogist Abraham Werner devised a standardized scheme for classifying colors which was later adapted and revised in the 19th century by Scottish painter Patrick Syme. Syme enhanced Werner’s original guide by including painted swatches for each color based on Werner’s precise descriptions and examples of where to find the colors in the natural world.

This project enhances Syme’s work by adding information that I wanted when I read the guidebook, like easily jumping to any color, seeing the colors referenced in the description, and seeing photos of what Werner referenced for his descriptions of each color. Two new data visualization posters were also created based on the color data in the original guidebook.

The result is something that’s hopefully interesting for those just discovering Werner’s guide and those that may already be familiar with it and want to discover it in a new light.

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Screenshot of intro

Screenshot of colors

Screenshot of blues

Screenshot of yellows

Werner's spectrum poster

Werner's color blends poster