The Scottish Register of Tartans

12 April 2024
Home | FAQs | New Tartans | Search the Register | Compare Designs | Register a Tartan | Fees | Amendments | Scottish designers | About Us
 you are in:   Guidance - Sufficiently different    
  Sign Up to the Register

While you can search the Register without having to register and login, you will need to create an account to:

-Register new tartan designs
-Request threadcount information
-Receive notification of all new registered tartan designs and other news updates
-Manage your account details
-Request official amendments
 Sign Up
 Log In

Unique and 'sufficiently different' designs

The Keeper expects applicants to register an original design.

Each tartan registered must be both unique and 'sufficiently different' to all tartans already included in the Register.

In practice this means that

  • The geometry of your design must be different, ie. the blocks of solid colour must be of different sizes and arranged in a new pattern.
  • Your tartan will use different colours in different proportions and in a new order.
  • If based on an existing tartan, an applicant must use his or her own skill to develop the earlier work and not simply copy it.

Making the following changes to an existing tartan will not create a new tartan:

  • Increasing or diminishing the size of the sett (the pattern) of an earlier tartan whilst retaining the identical colours and geometry of the original design.
  • Changing the shades of colour used in the tartan, eg. changing light blue to dark blue.
  • Applying minimal changes to an existing design without developing or re-interpreting it.

In reaching a view on whether a design is unique and sufficiently different to those already included in the Register, the Keeper may consult such persons as he considers appropriate.

Before submitting your application, we would advise you to use the ' compare designs ' facility to compare your tartan against all others already included on the Register. You will need the threadcount for your tartan before you can make use of this facility.

Alternatively, you can use the 'Search the Register' facility to check your tartan.

Please note that it is very difficult to 'teach' a computer how to identify tartans which are too similar to each other. Therefore, although we encourage you to use the 'compare designs' facility before submitting the application to register your tartan, we may still find that your design is not 'sufficiently different' to all others already recorded when processing your application.

[back to top]

Contact Us | Privacy Statement | Terms of Use | Using Our Site | Copyright

National Records of Scotland, H.M. General Register House, 2 Princes Street, Edinburgh, EH1 3YY
email: [email protected].