History of Hues: Ink

In this edition of History of Hues, we will explore the color ink and a family of cephalopods. Cephalopods, commonly known as squid, octopus, and cuttlefish, are incredibly old creatures. An ink sac belonging to this creature family was discovered in the early 21st century and appears to be 160 million years old. Scientists were surprised to discover that the ancient, fossilized pigment when compared to the ink from a modern cuttlefish is almost indistinguishable. Looking at all other evolutionary changes, it is amazing that the ink has remained the same.


Between the octopus, squid, and cuttlefish, there is a variety in the color of their ink. The octopus creates the blackest ink. Squid produce a bluish-black ink, which is what we visualize when someone refers to the color ink. The ink from the cuttlefish is reddish-brown.




Squid ink has been used for centuries for many purposes. In the early 19th century, it was used for writing, drawing, and painting. Traditional Chinese medicine used it to treat heart and blood issues. Today, it is used for cosmetics in hair dye and mascara because of its distinct color. Japanese and Mediterranean cuisine commonly use squid ink as a food additive. The high content of glutamate, which is an amino acid, has a savory Unami taste. This flavor is nice in sauces and adds flavor to pasta and rice dishes.


Squid ink gets its dark color from melanin. Melanin is a natural pigment and is the same in cephalopods as in humans. For humans, melanin gives color to your hair and skin. For squid, octopus, and cuttlefish, they use their ink as a defensive tool. These animals release dark ink from the ink sac when they feel threatened or attacked. The released ink distracts the predator and allows them to camouflage or disappear. The ink is released in different formations. There is the classic ink cloud, small diffuse puffs, worm-like trails, ink ropes, clouds, smokescreens, and even a pseudomorph which is an ink stream that resembles the squid or octopus. The different formations allow the cephalopod to escape.

At the drape, we chose to use the color ink as the inspiration for the velvet panels. The velvet is 100% cotton with a rich soft hand feel to the fabric. The density of the velvet and the color will obscure light. Both the privacy lining and the blackout lining can be added to create the perfect window curtain for your home.


Order your 5 free swatches and start your decorating project today. We will be with you every step of the way. We offer a free printable measuring sheet and complimentary design consultations.

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