We know what colours are, we sometimes feel how they affect us but without knowing why. What do they mean and how did they acquire their importance and significance? From ancient times colour has been used symbolically in religion, for identification, visibility and symbolism in battle and to reorganise society with a ‘grammar of colour’ identifying class, profession and status. Colours have had both positive and negative associations and have gone in and out of fashion over the centuries – some due to the development of dyes, paints and pigments and others due to changing social and political hierarchies. Colours have different meanings in various cultures and this is also linked with their psychological effects. This affects us deeply in all that surrounds us.