A friend posted on Facebook to say that when he is ill he reaches for his childhood mug for a comforting Lemsip; while another was telling me how she has three favourite mugs – one for her morning coffee, one for afternoon tea and another for her night-time hot chocolate. I even know someone who didn’t talk to her husband for a week after he broke the handle on her favourite cup while unloading the dishwasher!

This got me thinking… for many of us a mug is really much more than just a mug.

A recent survey by Heinz found nearly 60% of us have an “emotional attachment” to a mug, with 40% saying theirs was irreplaceable. Not only that, but one-sixth of those quizzed admitted that they would sulk if someone else even used it.

Psychologists put this down to something called the “the endowment effect”, a tendency for us to overestimate the value of our own possessions, often for sentimental reasons.

The Colour Palette Company collection of mugs


For some, it sparks a memory; hence why my poorly pal found comfort in his two-handed cup from when he was a little boy. Added to this, mugs make great gifts and therefore become associated with the person who gave it to us or the occasion it was for.

There’s also a sense of security and calm when we curl up with a cuppa, as well as it being a key part of our routine when we want to relax. Research conducted by Yale and Colorado universities backs this up, as it discovered cradling a hot drink actually generates positive feelings.

Through our own collection of Colour Palette mugs, I have also discovered people love them because they represent their personality or identify a sense of belonging (should I keep quiet at this point about my Birmingham City FC cup?).

Interestingly, The Colour Palette Company bestsellers are Devon, The Black Country, The Peak District, Sheffield, Brighton & Hove, and London. I wonder if that means people in these areas feel a stronger bond to where they live?

The Art Masters Colour Palette Mug


I created my first Colour Palette to pay homage to Birmingham’s rich heritage – The Jewellery Quarter, Mr Egg(!), Black Sabbath and so on. I came up with the idea as a way of celebrating the people and places on our doorstep, using gradient colour swatches and warming references to showcase where we are proud to call home

I’ll admit, I never quite expected the idea to be such a massive success – so much so that I have now launched New York and Taste of Italy Colour Palettes. You can shop the complete range online, while the Birmingham Colour Palette mug is available exclusively from Birmingham Museums.

We are always looking to work with new museums and gift shops to produce their own bespoke colour palettes – please get in touch to find out more.