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A new system for designing, exploring, and understanding colour. A mix of art and science, it's colour for both sides of your brain.
A new system for designing, exploring, and understanding colour. A mix of art and science, it's colour for both sides of your brain.
A new system for designing, exploring, and understanding colour. A mix of art and science, it's colour for both sides of your brain.
561 backers pledged CA$ 70,245 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

BreakThroughColour | Cards + Cubes

CA$ 70,245

561

FINAL DAY BREAKING NEWS!

BreakThroughColour just got better! To celebrate the success of BTC's debut here on Kickstarter, all Colour Card Backers will get a Bonus Set of 18 extra 'Colour Basics' Colour Cards. Read all about this Kickstarter Backer Exclusive in Update #8: ANYONE FOR A STRETCH GOAL?

WELCOME TO BREAKTHROUGHCOLOUR

Hi. My name is Tracy, and I. Love. Colour.

I’m guessing that you’re here because you love colour too. Maybe you’re an artist, a maker of colourful things. Maybe you’re an art teacher, or someone who can’t wait to learn. Maybe you’re a designer of objects, or spaces, or special events. Maybe you’re a collector of colour that you wear, share, or use to decorate your home. Maybe you’re a game player, you see colour as a toy to play with, or a puzzle to be solved. Maybe you’re a mom or a dad, curious to find new ways to teach your kids about colour so they can love it too. 

Whatever the reason, here you are, and I’m so glad you are, because I’m all those things too. I’m an artist, a teacher, a designer. I like games and toys and puzzles. I’m a mom with a partner and we live a very colourful life doing what we love. What I’m really loving these days is colour. Did I mention that?

I should also mention this: colour hasn’t always loved me. You too? Ahhh... maybe that’s why you’re here. Colour confused? Stuck in the mud? Completely hueless? I get that, because that was me, spinning my colour wheel, but never really getting anywhere.

I’ve known the primary colours since I was in primary school. And there are lots of colour resources out there: wheels, fan books, charts, recipes, models, maps, even apps... But even with all this, I couldn’t find a single simple system that really made sense to me in my head and was also useful and practical in my hands.

So I designed one.

BreakThroughColour
BreakThroughColour

WHAT IS BREAKTHROUGHCOLOUR?

In theory, BreakThroughColour is a system, a new way to explore, understand, work with, play with, and simply celebrate colour.

In practice, BreakThroughColour is a deck of cards, like a regular deck of playing cards, but with more colour. And more breakthrough.

A colour wheel is a system too, and it's been the 'Go To' tool for artists, designers, and teachers for a very long time, showing Hues, Tints, Shades, and Tones with cut-out covers that you can rotate to reveal more mixes and matches. But that's just it. You can move the covers, but you can't move the colours. No matter how you spin it, a colour wheel can only take you so far.

colour wheel + playing cards
colour wheel + playing cards

That's why I took all those little wedges of colour right off the wheel and I made them bigger. Big enough to hold in your hands and really move around, just like a deck of cards. I also added lots more colours...

BreakThroughColour Colour Cards
BreakThroughColour Colour Cards

These are 'BreakThroughColour' Colour Cards, a full spectrum of 216 hold-in-your-hands colours that combines a comprehensive and cohesive colour system with the usability and accessibility of playing cards.

COLOUR BY COLOURS

216 Colour Cards  |  8 Colour Decks
216 Colour Cards | 8 Colour Decks

The full deck of Colour Cards can be sorted into eight smaller decks, like suits. There's a deck for each of six ‘colour wheel’ colours, plus a White deck and a Black deck. 

With 30 Hues, 60 Tints, 60 Shades, 64 Tones, plus White and Black, you can move, mix, and shuffle them into so many possible palettes, it’s almost impossible to imagine.

COLOUR BY NUMBERS

Every Colour Card has its own unique Colour Code, a 3-digit number that identifies the colour within the entire collection. You can find the code in the top right corner of every card.

Colour Codes
Colour Codes

All the codes (and all the colours) are based on three ‘primary’ ingredients: Cyan, Magenta, and Yellow. In that order. Each ingredient plays a part in every colour, in amounts measured on a scale of 0 to 5. Zero means none (that ingredient isn’t even in the mix) and five means it’s there in full, as full as full can be. The Colour Code corresponds with the three ingredients and their amounts. 

With six different possible amounts for each of the three different ingredients, there are six times six times six different possible colour combinations. Ta-dah! That’s 216 different code-and-colour combos, and there's a card for every one of them, from ‘absolutely nothing’ White (000), to full-on blackout Black (555).

Watch what happens to our three primary colours when we vary their ingredients. More importantly, watch the codes. See the patterns in the numbers as Cyan fades away to White, Magenta moves into Black, and Yellow gets shifted sideways along the spectrum when Cyan steps in to create a whole new hue: 

 project video thumbnail
Replay with sound
Play with
sound

Get it? Not yet? Don't worry. If you can count to five, you can count on the codes to follow the flow.  

But the real breakthrough of BreakThroughColour isn't just the colours and their codes on the Colour Side. It's what’s on the other side that really counts...

CRACKING THE CODE

Here are four cards picked at random from the full BTC collection: 

Colour Side
Colour Side

At a glance, we might describe these colours as simply Cyan, a warm light Yellow, a deep Purple, and a muddy Green. But how simply? Why warm? How deep? Why muddy? Turn the cards over and all is revealed... 

On the other side of every BreakThroughColour Colour Card is a visual array of numbers and squares that breaks each code down and then adds it back up again to tell you a whole lot more about each colour: what it's actually made of, how pure it is, and how light or dark it is. In other words, its Hue, Saturation, and Value

Code Side
Code Side

Just like the numbers and symbols on playing cards, you can use these ciphers to sort, sequence, mix, match, and connect any or all of your Colour Cards with any or all of the others, following standard colour schemes, or breaking the rules to explore and design your own personal palettes. 

colourful codes
colourful codes

All this code may look un-crackable, but trust me, it’s deceptively simple to decipher. And really, this is all you need to know: If you can count to five, you can crack the code, break through colour, and take it to a new dimension. 

Literally

COLOUR, CUBED

BreakThroughColour Colour Cube
BreakThroughColour Colour Cube

This is the BreakThroughColour Colour Cube. It’s a 3D model that I designed so I could see not just what the colours were, but where they were in relation to one another in a three-dimensional colour space.

Using the same three primary ingredients and the same scale of 0 to 5, every coded colour on the Colour Cards has a place to call home on this 3D Colour Cube. Hues, Tints, and Shades are on the outside, and the Tones (those muddier colours that get hidden in the middle) are right where you’d expect them to be: hiding in the middle... 

breaking through the Colour Cube
breaking through the Colour Cube
inside the Colour Cube
inside the Colour Cube

The BreakThroughColour Colour Cube isn't just one big cube, it’s eight smaller cubes that fit together, one for each of the eight colour families. How cool is that? Just like you can divide the big deck of 216 cards into eight smaller decks of 27, you can divide the big cube into eight smaller cubes of 27, and see the Tones, Tints, Shades and Hues from every angle. You definitely can’t do that with a colour wheel.

So where do you get these cool Colour Cubes? It’s all in the cards... 

DECK OF CUBES

DIY Colour Cube Cards are cards that take the BreakThroughColour system to a whole new dimension, and they're included as part of the 'BreakThroughColour' Deck. There are six cards for each 6-sided cube, carefully designed with all the colours and codes in all the right places so you can line them up, stick them together and build your own 8-part 3D model. 

DIY Colour Cube Cards
DIY Colour Cube Cards
Cyan Cube in 2D
Cyan Cube in 2D
Cyan Cube in 3D
Cyan Cube in 3D
a place for Cyan
a place for Cyan

There are also six cards to make a Mini Cube, showing all the Hues, Tints, and Shades in one hold-in-one-hand mini version.

Mini Cube and 'Colour Basics' Cube
Mini Cube and 'Colour Basics' Cube

And if you want a simpler version of the spectrum that takes colour right back to the basics, you can make a 'Colour Basics' Cube. There are six DIY Cube Cards included in the 'Colour Basics' deck.

What’s the 'Colour Basics' deck? Glad you asked... 

'COLOUR BASICS'

'Colour Basics' is a BTC starter deck that brings us full circle back to the beginning. It includes 41 different Colour Cards, just like the colours and colour variations you’d find on a basic colour wheel.

'Colour Basics' Deck
'Colour Basics' Deck

There are 12 pure Hues, 6 Tints, 6 Shades, and 6 Tones, plus White, Black, and 9 shades of Grey. The 'Colour Basics' deck uses the same three primary ingredients – Cyan, Magenta, and Yellow – but with a simpler set of codes, based on all, half, or none of those three ingredients. Mix and match the Colour Cards, or explore them on the Cube. As an introduction to the basics of colour, or as a 'double deck-er' booster set for your 216, 'Colour Basics' has it covered.

And in case you missed the FINAL DAY BREAKING NEWS, 'Colour Basics' just got better! To celebrate the success of BTC's debut here on Kickstarter, all Colour Card Backers will get a Bonus Set of 18 extra 'Colour Basics' Colour Cards: 6 more Tints, 6 more Shades, and 6 more Tones. That bumps the 'Basics' from 47 cards to 65, with no change in the price, and no extra charge for shipping. Read all about this Kickstarter Backer Exclusive in Update #8: ANYONE FOR A STRETCH GOAL?

THESE ARE YOUR CARDS, THIS IS YOUR SYSTEM 

'Colour Basics' cards come tucked in a tuck box, a simple way to store and play. The 'BreakThroughColour' Deck comes in a custom rigid lidded box, to store and protect your collection, and also function as a filing cabinet for your BTC Colour Library. Sort them as you like, by colour or by code, or randomly stash them away like flash cards to grab in a flash. Keep them handy as a fundamental tool in your studio, classroom, or design space, or take them with you, one by one or all-in-one, as a reference in the real world. 

For artists, BreakThroughColour Colour Cards are a fundamental tool for the studio. Picture all those big swatches of colour, sitting on your work table, easy to reach and use like little colour avatars to plan your next palette, or get you through a colour block. Take them on a buying trip; use them to design your next collection or customize a custom order; work with them in a workshop; or bring them to your next retreat or art class to show and share with others.

For designers, the cards can be a reliable reference to guide and inspire your team in house, or a new way to communicate in colour with clients, wherever they are.

For teachers, the Cards + Cubes system is a dynamic, interactive resource to explore and explain art. Or math. Or science. Or better yet, let your students figure it out for themselves. “Okay class, hands up, who wants to play cards?” “Can we build with blocks instead?” Yes. You can. Seriously. How fun is that?

And guess what? In addition to being a new tool for colour pros and educators, it turns out these BreakThroughColour cards are playing cards after all. I’ve already figured out a few learn-as-you-play code-based card games, like 9-Square Solitaire, Straight Six, Level Up, Perfect Match, and Game of Tones. 

And consider this a call-out to cardists: colourful cuts, a full-spectrum spring... what moves could you master? And close-up conjurers too: with cards like these up your sleeve, what new tricks could you devise? Flourish and magic and games are all part of the bigger vision. 

Among friends, family, and just for fun, these cards and cubes will add colour to your coffee table, card table, cottage, and conversation. Planning a palette or planning a wedding, designing a quilt or decorating the whole house, theming, scheming, dreaming, or just putting your own colour IQ to the test, if you want to finally break through colour, these are your cards, and this is your system

With Colour Cards and Colour Cubes, BreakThroughColour is a perfect balance between open-ended exploration and zeroed-in logic; creative chaos and unified theory; interactive playful and informative educational; mixed-up and moveable or fixed in place in a whole new Colour-Cubed space. Colour by colours and colour by numbers, a math-a-magical meeting place between art and science... it’s colour for both sides of your brain.

BE PART OF THE BREAKTHROUGH!

So this is it.

No really, this is it. These cards, these cubes, they’re all just prototypes. They’ve been tested and tweaked, designed and refined, they're well-used and much-loved, but they’re all I’ve got. Final artwork is ready, suppliers are sourced, and plans are in place for a primary print run, to launch the full BreakThroughColour Cards + Cubes Collection right here on Kickstarter.

something's missing...
something's missing...

This is where you come in...

A big print run is a big commitment. Turning a new idea into something real and sharing it with the world is a big step. That's why I'd love you to be part of this big breakthrough.

Please be among the first to join my colour circle! Make a simple ‘Primary Colours’ pledge, or pre-order your own 'Colour Basics' Deck, the 'BreakThroughColour' Deck, or get all the cards and all the cubes in a double deck-er combo of both. You can even break through big and be a part of history as a member of the 216 Colour Club, a special ‘get one give one’ way for you to pick your favourite colour and say, “I was part of the BreakThrough!”

'Colour Basics' Deck  |  41 Colour Cards + 6 Cube Cards
'Colour Basics' Deck | 41 Colour Cards + 6 Cube Cards
'BreakThroughColour' Deck  |  216 Colour Cards + 54 Cube Cards
'BreakThroughColour' Deck | 216 Colour Cards + 54 Cube Cards

All the Rewards details are listed on the right side of this page. Here's a summary of the exclusive Kickstarter collection:

  • 'COLOUR BASICS' DECK  |  $24  |  41 double-sided Colour Cards + 6 Cube Cards in a tuck box
  • 'BREAKTHROUGHCOLOUR' DECK  |  $99  |  216 double-sided Colour Cards + 54 Cube Cards in a lidded box
  • THE BTC DOUBLE DECK-ER  |  $120  |  one ‘Colour Basics' Deck + one 'BreakThroughColour' Deck in a lidded box
  • THE 216 COLOUR CLUB  |  $216  |  two ‘Colour Basics' Decks + two 'BreakThroughColour' Decks in two lidded boxes, plus one of 216 'favourite colour' collectible Colour Cards signed by me

Please note, the prices listed above are in Canadian dollars.

Are you ready to break through colour? Support this Kickstarter project and I promise, you will! Tell your friends to drop by here and break through too. Please share, post, pin, tweet, blog... Every pledge will make a difference, and the more people know about this project, the sooner we can all break through colour, with all this and more.

Reaching my Kickstarter funding goal will get the presses running and on their way this summer. Future plans and projects include setting up a website and blog so that we can continue this colourful conversation. I’m also developing more decks and have more prototypes that expand the system even further. With your support and endorsement, this BreakThroughColour project debut will be just the beginning. 

Thanks for reading... Now get yourself some Colour Cards and Break Through Colour! 

Tracy

ANY QUESTIONS?

If you would like to know anything more about anything here, please ask. I'll share your inquiries with others in the FAQ, as well as add more about BTC with Updates along the way.

Risks and challenges

Three years ago, BreakThroughColour was just an idea. In fact, it wasn't even called 'BreakThroughColour.' It was simply referred to as 'that colour card thing' I was always working on, night and day, for weeks, and then months, and then years...

Starting with sketched-on-paper prototypes coloured with crayons and cut by hand, and notebooks full of lots of crazy codes and charts and equations, I made my first deck of Colour Cards. Next came a beta set designed on my computer, printed on my home printer, and also cut by hand. When the cards and system had been further explored, I had a professional print shop run the first 216. I debuted those in a series of professional seminars, and the entire system was very well-received. A year later, I printed a new 216, for more seminars and workshops, with more great feedback. Further design tweaks, more focus group sessions, a final print run to test for the best... and here we are. Everything is finally in place to break through with BreakThroughColour!

My Colour Cards will be printed and distributed by MPC, an established professional playing card company, and no stranger to Kickstarter. Finding a supplier that I could count on to provide both a user-friendly playing card format and a consistent high-quality colour standard was the biggest challenge for this project. The team at MPC has been great to work with through the final stages of BTC's R&D, and I am confident they will come through... with flying colours!

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Support this project

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge CA$ 3 or more About $2

    PRIMARY COLOUR BACKER

    Support this project at its most primary, with a dollar for each primary colour: C, M, & Y. Why? Because I’ll thank you... three times! Thank you. Thank you! THANK YOU!

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    Pledge CA$ 20 or more About $16

    QUICKSTARTER!

    ‘COLOUR BASICS’ DECK
    41 Colour Cards + 6 Cube Cards

    For the first 48 hours, get the 'Colour Basics' deck at a special 'Quickstarter' price. See below for full reward details.

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    Pledge CA$ 24 or more About $20

    ‘COLOUR BASICS’ DECK
    41 Colour Cards + 6 Cube Cards

    Re-invent your colour wheel with this starter deck of 12 Hues, 6 Tints, 6 Shades, 6 Tones, plus White, Black, and a scale of 9 Greys. Also includes 6 DIY Cube Cards to build a companion 3D ‘Colour Basics’ Colour Cube. A great way to go from basic colour theory and practice to BreakThroughColour perfect!

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    Pledge CA$ 92 or more About $75

    QUICKSTARTER!

    ‘BREAKTHROUGHCOLOUR' DECK
    216 Colour Cards + 54 Cube Cards

    For the first 48 hours, get the 'BreakThroughColour' deck at a special 'Quickstarter' price. See below for full reward details.

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    Reward no longer available 43 backers
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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge CA$ 99 or more About $81

    ‘BREAKTHROUGHCOLOUR' DECK
    216 Colour Cards + 54 Cube Cards

    With a full spectrum of 216 Colour Cards in eight different 'colour family' decks, this is the feature collection in the ‘BreakThroughColour’ system, with edge-to-edge colour on one side and the BTC Colour Code fully decoded on the other. Also includes 54 DIY Cube Cards to build a companion 3D ‘BreakThroughColour’ Colour Cube, and a matching hold-in-one-hand Mini Cube. The BTC Deck comes with a custom lidded box, sturdy for storage and a handy way to keep your cards within easy reach to flip through and find your favourites.

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    Pledge CA$ 112 or more About $91

    QUICKSTARTER!

    THE BTC DOUBLE DECK-ER
    1 
‘Colour Basics' deck + 1 'BreakThroughColour' deck

    For the first 48 hours, get 'The BTC Double Deck-er' at a special 'Quickstarter' price. See below for full reward details.

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    Reward no longer available 39 backers
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    Pledge CA$ 120 or more About $98

    THE BTC DOUBLE DECK-ER
    1 
‘Colour Basics' deck + 1 'BreakThroughColour' deck

    From 'basics' to 'breakthrough,' this is the best way to get both decks in one specially-priced Kickstarter package. With 36 Hues, 66 Tints, 66 Shades, 66 Tones, White, Black, and a set of 9 Greys, plus enough Cube Cards to build 10 Colour Cubes... All the cards and cubes you need to really break through colour!

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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge CA$ 216 or more About $176

    THE 216 COLOUR CLUB
    'BE PART OF THE BREAKTHROUGH'
    2 
‘Colour Basics' decks + 2 'BreakThroughColour' decks, plus a signed 'favourite colour' collectible Colour Card

    If you're looking for a special way to support this project and share your love of colour with someone special at the same time, this is it. Choose this reward and get the BTC Triple Deck-er Combo... twice! One set of all the cards and cubes for you, and one set to share, gift, or donate. But wait, there's more...

    As an extra special Thank You, I'll make you a member of the 216 COLOUR CLUB, an on-line list of only 216 'favourite colour' names, you and 215 others who can look back and say, "I was part of the breakthrough!" Pick by colour (your one true hue) or pick by code (your lucky number, a birthday, your favourite area code). You'll also get a copy of your very own coded Colour Card, signed by me and shipped to you with love and gratitude, anywhere in the world. But pledge fast... Colour Card picks will be dealt out to Colour Club backers on a first come, first served basis.

    Choose this 'get one, give one' double BTC bundle right now, and be part of BTC history forever. Double rainbow all the way.

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Funding period

- (28 days)