Besides the shape the colour is the most important feature of a bag. The impression of a colour can be modified by the gloss, a print or a combination of colours.
- More or less gloss changes the colour
- With a print a two-tone effect can be achieved
- Following the fashion trend different colours can be combined
- The finish and the colour of locks and fittings can enhance the look
Transparent or pigment colours
If transparent or anilin colours are used the natural look of the skin remains visible. With the use of pigment colours the surface of a hide is covered. Pigment colours may also cover small defects of the hide and give a protection against water. But the natural touch of the leather will suffer.
Using prints the look of the leather can be made more regular. But it can also be changed to a different look, for instance the structure of tropical animals like snakes or crocodiles.
Choosing your colour when you buy a bag
Leather bags are produced in many colours. Men usually buy their business bag in black or brown, whereas ladies also choose red, blue and other bright colours.
The rare also preferences according to the country. So english buyers will also buy a business case in green, italian might buy red.
Trends influence the choice of a colour. Actually men choose more bags brown instead of black.
Colours preferred actually are
Ladies think first the colour of their clothes or shoes when they buy a bag. The colour of the bag should match the colour of a dress or enhance the look with a contrasting colour.
Locks and fittings
Also the colour of the fittings depends on trends. Actually men prefer locks in a silver colour. Women buy also bags with gold coloured fittings.
How to distinguish the colour of work bags?
An exact definition of a colour is difficult. There is not only one blue, but many shades from a darker to a lighter blue. Similary there are a number of shades also for red, brown and other colours.
A general classification is available with the Pantone system. This system is based on 14 basic colours which are mixed into a continously growing number of shades.
Fashion magazines regularly publish analyses concerning the latest colour trend. Tanneries also use these informations for the development of new colours.
Leather colours and the natural look of a skin
The natural look of a skin will depend on the age and living circumstances of an animal. Also the structure in the centre of a hide will be finer than in the side parts. For top grade leather the skins of younger animals have to be used.
Therefore the type of dyes used depends also on the quality of the hide. If transparent anilin colours are used the natural structure remains visible, but also all possible defects. These have to be avoided when the parts of the bag are cut. This may diminish the percentage of the hide which can be used.
Tanners therefore usually combine anilin and pigment colours according to the type of leather they produce.
Printing and ironing
By ironing the surface of the leather can be smoothened, but a rougher structure in a side part will remain visible. Using a print the look of the hide can become very uniform which increases the cutting value. But with prints you can also imitate the look of a skin of snake or a crocodile. This has become important to avoid the use of skins of endangered species.
Gloss and patina
Gloss may change the look of a colour. The gloss can be applied by ironing or spraying.
A matty look can be achieved by grinding the surface of a hide. Such leathers are also called suede. This leathers are used for sporty bags or shoes.
Shoulder bags or backpacks are often made of vegetable tanned leather with a natural finish. After some time such a finish will develop a patina, which gives every bag a unique look.
Stability and elasticity
Depending on the tanning and the finish a leather will be more or less soft. A print will add a certain stiffness to a leather used for a business case so that it stands upright even if empty. For a shoulder bag or a purse a softer leather with less finish should be used.
The touch of leather will be nicer if less pigmented colours are used for the finish.