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7 Steps To Your Own Unique Tartan

Google VP Matt Brittan & our MD in Google colours

1. Why would I want my own tartan?

Here’s why - nothing else shows off who YOU are, like tartan. And no, you absolutely do not have to be Scottish! It’s unique to your family or community, and tells the world with pride. What’s more, it’s beautiful, and a fabulous talking point. (If it’s good enough for Google…)

More and more people are designing new tartans, even if their family already has one! Maybe it’s for an occasion like a wedding… for one family branch… or just because a new pattern or colours would look better.

And for businesses or groups the benefits are endless. Wear it subtly as a tie or scarf, or unmistakably as an entire uniform, tartan brings your people together – visibly! Staff, members, associates, or fans will all love to unite under your colours.

2. Are you allowed to wear it?

That’s easy – you’re allowed. Anyone in the world can register or weave a tartan in Scotland. And there’s literally billions of possible designs, so unless you copy one that’s copyright, you’re fine. New designs are always checked anyway, so no worries.

3. The easy way – ask an expert

If you don’t want the trouble of designing it yourself, you can simply commission a professional such as the experts at DC Dalgliesh to create your tartan for you – which costs much less than people think. Share your ideas, or even just a bit about yourself. And your designer will create a choice of suggestions for you to discuss and change until you love one.

Of course, that would be missing out on the fun of trying your own hand at the design. So read on - as you’ll see, you can’t go wrong! You can also ask an expert designer to look over your ideas at any stage in the process, and they’ll be happy to add their experience to your inspiration!

4. The fun way - design it yourself

In just a few minutes you’ll start to see your ideas come to life on the screen, and even see how it might look as fabric.

What have you got to lose? Even if you only get half way there, you can send your sketches to a professional to turn into the tartan of your dreams – having learned something along the way. You never know, you may discover a hidden talent!

5. Start here - jump in and play

Design your own tartanIt’s incredibly easy to design tartans online.

So where do you start? You don’t have to begin with a blank sheet. Instead, pick any existing tartan from a gallery of thousands, and just play with it for a while! Pull sliders to thicken or reduce lines… drag and drop them to change the sequence… delete, add, or change colours. It will all help give you feel of what works best.

And here’s a bit of a trade secret. Lots of new tartans start just that way! If there’s an existing tartan with meaning for you, why not use it as a starting point? Change the pattern or colours. As soon as it looks different, it’s a different tartan! And this can give your new design historical roots.

6. Get personal - pick your themes

Now for another tip from the pros. It’s often best not just to design randomly, but to work with colours and patterns that carry some significance for you. This could be as your favourite colours, shades that represent your beliefs or traditions, or a company’s corporate colours.

Then think about numbers too. These could come from dates, or just about any numbers that matter to you. But the point is to literally weave these into the fabric by using them in the ‘threadcount’ which is the technical term for the thickness of the lines. Just remember that tartans are traditionally woven in pairs of threads, so numbers are always even.

7. The best bit - order & wear it!

So you’ve settled on a tartan design that you love. Now it gets really interesting!

The sky is the limit when using tartan. (Yes, really… we’ve had tartan on planes and hot air balloons!). It’s surprisingly affordable to get a piece woven, in wool, or silk, or indeed any fabric you like. Then that can be made into almost any garment or accessory you can think of, not to mention homewares, and so on. It costs less than you might think!

Besides, what price can you put on knowing that you’re absolutely the only person in the world wearing a gorgeous fabric that you designed yourself, with history and meaning woven into its every fibre?

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