So, Why Colour?

There are big white, black and grey mobile sheds out there providing weather cover and indoor-outdoor space, so why bother with a bright, colourful, stand-out stage or Bigtop?

Well… 2 reasons…

First off, they’re not boring and white!

Some argue that a white structure is a blank canvas to decorate as you wish. According to The Global Color Survey (their spelling of colour, not ours!) 'white' means 'purity' or 'innocence' in most people's minds. No surprise there that we use it so often in weddings.

Those people would be right.

At Terrapin we’re neither pure nor innocent. We love a bit of colour and frankly, why spend time and money on decorations that you’ll throw away after one use when you can get one that comes with a built in colour scheme…There’s something truly magical about driving up to a venue or walking up to a field and the first thing your eye catches is an enormous structure of FUN! We associate stripey Big Tops with the circus, with festivals and enjoyment. We associate coloured stages with enjoyable performances and entertainment.

Which brings me onto the second reason…




In days of yore (hold on while I get my pipe and slippers and build a fire in the hearth…) tents were used by Knights and prominent families to reflect their coat of arms

This meant that approaching guests could see who had rocked up on a hillside, or in fact where they were in the Kingdom - if you’re a Game of Thrones fan you’ll know exactly what I mean.

There were a set of basic colours in Heraldic Times with the meanings for each having changed countless times over the years (and based on geography).

Gold (Or) was for wisdom, generosity, glory, constancy and faith. You can depend on Gold.

Black (Azure) was similar (wisdom and constancy) with prudence and grief thrown in for good measure. Everyone loves cautious Black.

Green (Vert) was all about abundance, joy, hope, loyalty and love. Like a spring day in the woods.

Blue (Azure) is all about the strength, chastity, truth, loyalty and faith. Sturdy old Blue.

Red (Gules) similarly signifies military strength, the warrior, martyrdom and magnanimity. Bloody old Red.

Purple (purpure) was a regal colour, for justice, sovereignty and temperance. We bow before you Purple.

Maroon (Sanguine/Murray) combined the two in meaning it seems - fortitude and victory. All hail Maroon!

Orange (Tenne/Tawny) was for ambition. Nothing changes about ambition.

Some argue Red is the strongest of the colors so when The Circus popped up it began to adopt the colour which the public most identified with. Hence, why a lot of Big Tops are red and white. Green on the other hand was considered a bit wishy-washy. Apparently hope, abundance, joy and loyalty is not something regularly sought, which is a shame if you ask me. It was associated with farmers and peasantry and is still believed to be bad luck in the circus world. Which is understandable if you live in a time without Google Maps and you’re relying on your tent being seen to bring in business from far and wide.

Oh, and Silver or White (Argent) was for peace, innocence, purity and sincerity. If that's your bag. It’s a bugger to keep clean though.....just like people.

So there’s the real reason why we like coloured structures - they stand out.

  • They create an atmosphere without even having to try.
  • They get people in the party mood without them even realising why they feel great.
  • They speak to our subconscious (and that of your guests) saying, ‘this is going to be SO MUCH FUN!’

That’s ‘Why Colour?’

I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s history lesson. I certainly enjoyed writing it. I’m even a little tempted to spend the rest of the afternoon designing the family a coat of arms if Arif hadn’t already encouraged me to pledge allegiance to the Terrapin Logo.

Thanks for reading,



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