Saturday, August 4, 2012

The Language of Color

A spoonflower color map for selecting color

There hasn't really been an opportunity to share with anyone the experience in the color class, not to the depth that I would like to share. I realize, the experience hasn't become fully integrated. It is important for me to review what I have experienced and put into words what I was inspired by. What did I feel? What did I think of the information? Was it consistent with the color presentations that I currently have in place?  How do I see myself using the information? What do I already do that was confirmed? What is missing that can make a big difference in how I use and share the information and my passion for color and design?

I have added design for this reason. Color is a design element. It is the context of how it is used that determines it's success in an application.

For example, how color is used in a quilt varies from how it is used in an interior application or how a color is used in packaging, on a product or for a car.. the color communicates something to the viewer or the audience. It is the addition of the other elements and principles of design that can have the potential to diminish or exaggerate the color message. The line and the shape can have as much communication power as the color selection, yet, color is most likely the most communicative of any of the design elements- it elicits a quicker response than the written word. The mind often times acknowledges the visual cue (or in this case hue) before the written word itself.... This can be illustrated by the Stroop effect or sometimes called the Stroop test.  (the first link describes the theory, the second link takes you directly to the test/experiment)

This is my passion! I love experimenting with different applications and discovering how to convey the same message. Color is different in every space, every application. Every finish and substrate has its own influence on how the color is perceived. The reflective quality of the surface and the lighting, natural vs. artificial will impact how a color is perceived.

There are so many areas of color to explore and discover, I become overwhelmed with its magnitude. It is truly a language all to itself. Each hue has a meaning that is universally and collectively accepted*. In my experience and the experience of other professionals, I have found, is that if the individual connotation of the color is different than the collective, it is due to a traumatic or unpleasant memory, usually from childhood. The color is collapsed with the event and becomes a substitute of the memory. The color elicits the emotion that the incomplete event would evoke if it were recalled. It is essential for a color consultant to set aside his or her personal color connotations in any type of color recommendation. Wether it be for a product, logo development and brand recognition, the color of someone else's living room or the scarf color most appropriate for accessorizing their wardrobe, color objectivity is essential.

*There is a cultural aspect to color that is unique to traditions in specific parts of the world. The impact of these cultural connotations is becoming secondary to the more universal communication of the color message. Could the universal communication of color be due to the physiological responses to color? Nature is also a factor in how color is responded/reacted to in the different areas of the world.

White in Greece is different than White in Minnesota..
Santorini Church-Greece (the link to where I pulled the photo)

My previous neighborhood-bad winter that year! 

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