Tartans have certain names relating to the colour variant of that particular cloth. Beyond having a clan name (e.g. MacDonald, Campbell, Buchanan), a poetic name referencing the inspiration of the design (e.g. Hebridean Heather, Fantasy Alba, Warrior Poet), a district name (Atholl, Edinburgh City, Inverness) or a name describing where the that part of the clan came from (e.g. MacDonald of the Isles, Campbell of Argyll, Stuart of Bute) tartans are also often referenced as Ancient, Modern, Weathered, Hunting, Muted, Dress, or a mix of a few.
So, what does this refer to and how did it come about?
Using mainly MacDonald clan tartans to illustrate the points in this article - MacDonald has over twenty different variants.
Modern: Modern tartans are darker in appearance. Shades of blue and green are deeper for example and red is very vibrant. When Wilson's of Bannockburn designed the clan tartans based on the references they had at the time, dye had advanced a lot since the time of berries and lichen. Colours that were previously unachievable were now available. Colour wise in terms of fashion, modern tartans are today probably is more accessible, easily dressed up or down, but in regards to the sett, the details can sometimes appear to get lost where dark colours come together.