Brand of Colors

Brand of Colors

A recent color consultation and analysis got me thinking…about why we choose the colors that we do.  Of course we can analyze, assess from various vantage points, provide argumentation to support our choices…but really, why do we just feel like some colors  and combinations of colors are just “right” for a particular purpose, venue or view?

I think it all comes down to how a color “makes us” feel.  What emotions, and sensory reactions we have when we gaze upon that part of the light color spectrum that is NOT absorbed by the surface we are looking at.

Take green, for example, specifically the fresh, bright hue of green the Client of my marketing colleague, (who had brought me in to analyze, assess and consult on her client’s color choice, and suggest a tandem hue) was drawn to.

Some of the associations with green include Life, Growth, Nature, Springtime, Immortality, Hope, and Resurrection. Not bad for a “secondary” color!

Green “sounds” soft to shrill, “feels” smooth to damp, “tastes” and “smells”  juicy, sour, or tangy, and

can be “cooler” or “warmer”, “heavier’ or “lighter” depending on the ratio of its components,  yellow to blue.  Energetically, green relates to the “Heart Chakra“,  representing love, sympathy and  harmony, and influencing the heart, and the thymus gland.

What might one put with green, a bright, fresh green, that wouldn’t contrast with it so greatly as to change its character?  Although green and its complement red (or even pink) are a dynamic duo, unless associations of Yuletide, India, or the tension of opposites are desired…another choice must be made.

Hmm…green and orange, green and purple or violet…still too dynamic…as both of these secondaries have red in them.  Yellow would be too similar to the Client’s chosen green in warmth and temperament, containing too much of light and bright and luminous and warm.  Yellow, I felt, would  compete with the green, and not provide the contrast necessary for visual interest.

The Client’s brandmark is a penguin…ah…images of sea and sky emerge.   I ‘saw’ a Teal Blue…that would contrast with the green as a hue darker in value, and provide a coolness that would more subtly offset the bright and warm green,

Blue and green both associate with Tranquility and Peace.  They both suggest aspects of nature.  Blue relates to the Larynx Chakra.  It stands for Religious inspiration as well as creativity, language, and communication, (the Larnyx is often referred to as the “voice box”!), and it influences the Thyroid gland.

Blue “sounds” distant, or soft, it “feels” smooth, it “tastes” and “smells” odorless or fresh, to salty.  It’s perceived “weight” tends to the heavier, and more solid, it’s “temperature, to the cool.  Blue ‘s associations include nobility, contemplation,  truth, spirituality, wisdom, dignity, trustworthiness, value, calm, security, poise, reserve, sea and sky.

We can imagine then, when we put blue and green together, that the effect will be refreshing, and  “natural”,  both warm and cool,  embodying the warm, harmonious heart of love, and the inspired, creative communication of  language, symbol, and of course, color!

If You would like to know who wrote the book on color consultation and design, please investigate the International Association of Colour Consultants/Designers, and the writings and teachings of Frank H. Mahnke.  There is a whole world of color exploration awaiting You out there…and within!

To hear more about color choices and analysis, the how and the why, tune into my Color Muze on  Artistically Speaking Talk Show with Rebecca E. Parsons.

Give it a try…turn YOUR senses on and rock Your world, with Color!

If You feel so inclined…let us know how You do it!

Advertisements

Strike Me Pink…You Feel Me? Color Associations & You

Strike Me Pink…You Feel Me?

  Color Associations & You

Hello Gentle Readers of Artissima!  I am Debra Disman, your friendly Color Muze, here to share tasty tidbits of color wisdom…from here, there and everywhere.  (If you would like to know about the relationship between color, and taste..please check out previous posts on SYNESTHESIA, and….Synesthesia!)

April 15, 2012,on Rebecca E. Parsons wonderful, and inspiring  blog talk radio “Artistically Speaking Talk Show” ,  our Color Muze   found me in colorFULL convo with Rebecca, and her two highly cre8tive guests,  Deb Thompson, and Christy Gossett ; bloggers extraordinaire. We had a fun romp through a serious color association study, that I learned about from Mr.  Frank H. Mahnke, my instructor at the IACC-NA ( International Association of Colour Consultants/ Designers North America).  The  color skinny, as per this study?  Color associations may indeed be cross cultural…even universal, within a certain range, of both colors, and cultures.  Meaning that…in this study, the majority of participants had similar color associations.  What were they?  Well…please peruse my take and interpretation  below, and let the fun, and fascination, begin!   Less verbiage…let’s let “Les Couleures” speak for themselves!

Red   =   Love

Wouldn’t you know it?  (Heart, blood, life force, et al…)

However, when paired with black, the love may change to hatred…oh dear.

However, this may shift depending on the proportions of red to black, and the addition of another color, such as white.

The human presence, also may alter this association!

The obvious associations with sky and water seem to compel us to associate the color blue with peace and tranquility.

As well, green, with its relationship to springtime,  plants, and the rejuvenating life force of nature.

Although white may be the color of mourning in some cultures, the majority of participants associated the colors black and gray with mourning and sorrow.  Here the effect may be mitigated by an undertone of life giving green, paired with  fresh creamy trim.

The most common color associated with “happy” in this study was yellow…with orange coming in second.

What comes to mind when YOU think of orange? The color of joviality…[“French, probably from Italian giovale, from Old Italian, of Jupiter (regarded as the source of happiness”; from Latin joviālis of (the planet) Jupiter, considered by astrologers to foster good humour),

Warm oranges may be associated with appetite, and can be used effectually in kitchens and dining areas.

Here, the radiant, embracing orange wall and ceiling of this living room veer towards the yellow, or golden, also associated with “jovial”.

Fresh clear life affirmative green…no surprise that “LIFE” is a big association!

Slightly toned down, but still radiant!  Life Force…here we come!

Light-filled yellow…no orange here..with luminous associations.

More luminous-ness…an exterior faux finish featuring a deeper-valued texture over a lighter base,

popping on this building against an azure blue sky.  Yellow = sun/sunshine = light = luminous, indeed.

Speaking of blue…blue and violet associate with “noble”.

Noble blue door…this one does make a statement.

Purple has long been associated with royalty…and has been the color of royalty, or the “highest” of “noble blood”.  To obtain this once rare color, a fair amount of effort once had to be made.

“The actual color of Tyrian purple, the original color purple from which the name purple is derived, is the color of a dye extracted from a mollusk found on the shores of the city of Tyre in ancient Phoenicia (present day Lebanon) that in classical antiquity became a symbol of royalty because only the very wealthy could afford it. Therefore, Tyrian purple was also called imperial purple. (See Article).

Nature arranges colors so beautifully…in ways that delight us, and make our hearts sing… might her “color associations”  be the same as ours?

 What colors do YOU associate with “love”, “hatred”, “peace/tranquility”, “sorrow/mourning” “happiness”, “joviality”, “life”, “luminous”. or “noble”?

If you feel so inclined, please share them with us here.

We love to hear from You.

Remember, we are all color associating with this thing called Life, together.

Object Lessons: Vignettes 2

Object Lessons: Vignettes 2

What makes a place your own…that goes beyond style, decoration and decor, becoming a personal expression that spells H-O-M-E, even  if the space involved is your place of business, work or office?  The way we put our objects of meaning together is a form of creative expression that is unique to each of our beings… in ways we don’t even seem to be conscious of.

Birds of a feather…flock together, or, do they?  There seems to be a common human urge to organize our aesthetic views by placing objects that have commonality together.  It might be common physical characteristics such as  color, shape, pattern or size, a common function, such as things to read, things to drink from, things to put plants in, or  a common material: ceramics, metal or  glass.

Or…the assembled objects may have a commonality known, and felt, only by the assemblers, and those they know, love and live with.  The “collection”, however spare, may be composed of objects which resonate with shared memory, joy, triumph, or transcendence, and which have an ineffable but profound effect on those in the know who gaze on them.

Other groupings may combine a number of these attributes, and create whimsy, humor, an inside joke, or, an outside joke.  The choice to display objects from different cultures which inter-relate on the basis of color, pattern, size and scale add other layers of meaning, and their juxtaposition may create new associations, or uncover existing ones.

The associations of “new”, and “old”, vintage, or contemporary, “My mother bought me that TV” or “My sister brought those slippers home from India” , speak to our memories, where we are now,  and even where we want to be- our longings, desires, dreams, hopes and wishes.  They are all there, impelling our choices, informing our decisions, coloring our moods, our plans,  our moments and our minds.

Reflected or unknowingly  expressed in the way we place our “stuff”…whether seemingly thrown together, or carefully designed and thought out on a conscious level, may be the design and drama of our whole lives, and an expression of the highs and lows, the needs and aspirations, the joys and sorrows therein.

What have YOU expressed through Your H=O=M=E arrangements, assemblages, collages, collections, compositions, and displays?

if You feel so inclined, please share about them with us here.

We love to hear from You.

Remember, we are all designing, assembling, collecting, gathering and displaying our way through this thing called Life, together.

Color Ground

Color Ground
The colors we clothe our buildings in, and the materials we use to build them can have a significant effect on how solid, safe, and grounded they appear.  And, I  might add, in addition to paint color, let’s not forget that the wood, brick, stone, concrete, metal and other natural and industrial materials we build with, have color too.  Add to this the by turns rapturous, earthy, luminous, bold, sublime, and subtle colors of nature, and you have a complex picture of the elements that go into making where we live, work and play picture perfect..or not.

In general, darker, richer, deeper, more saturated, brighter, warmer and more intense colors appear heavier, and thus may seem to “pull downward” towards the, in most cases, ground!  Placing them above a lighter, airier, softer, cooler,  paler, duller, less saturated colors may give the impression of pressing or pushing down upon something less substantial, creating a sense of pressure, ungroundedness, or even danger.  Who wants to feel like the heavier-looking second story might come crashing down through its weaker-looking support, or foundation?

The building above is grounded not only by its strong, dark burgundy red garage door, but also by the heavy foliage and hedge shrubbery which nearly obscures its foundation (the lower part of the structure upon which the rest of the building rests). The cream-colored concrete, red roof tile and strongly patterned brick provide contrast and a  variety of color and materials, but, particularly because of the grounding effect of the dark green, highly textural foliage, do not seem too heavy for the foundation to bear.

The UMG (Universal Music Group) office building in Santa Monica, CA is grounded by a strong, deep, earthy brick-red, which seems to support the pale pink upper above, though the entire structure is punctuated by a multitude of windows. Palms, parkway and other landscaping in front also support this grounded effect.

A similar outcome is achieved by juxtaposing a more saturated hue of reddish pink stucco foundation with the softer and paler ocher-colored wood siding above.  Lush vegetation sporting luxuriant red and pink flowers trailing over a natural wood fence add to its heavier, grounding effect

These interior gymnasium walls are grounded by the deep blue protective covering at their base. Given the wild shapes and over-sized   lines, shapes and patterns used in the room’s design, the consistency and “reliability” of the blue may also serve to keep young athletes players focused and grounded as they play.

Here is the outside of the same building, swathed in corrugated stripes.   Notice that the stripe closest to the ground is darker blue, and the one at the top, lighter.

This fun and fascinating building combines all manner of materials, from wood siding, to brick, to concrete,

and even verdigris decorative details above the door. The mass of flowering vegetation in front,  while nearly obscuring parts of the facade,  add to the fancy of the place, while connecting it to the earth, the  ground.  In moody weather, the mix of weathered materials and enveloping foliage may lend an air of mystery and perhaps even magic to the place.

Here, an artist’s self-styled, whimsical touch creates grounding through the application of  bright color, repeated shapes, and sense of a garden planted  at the base of the house. The playful, optimistic feeling  is further enhanced by the use of complementary colors  yellow and purple.

The largest sphere in this extraordinary mural seems to be sitting right on the sidewalk!  It could be coming right out at us, the viewer, but at least the building doesn’t look like it is about to leave the ground!  The tiled trompe l’oeil technique is used to great visual and grounding, effect here.

When we walk past this extraordinary building in LA’s Venice Canal District, our eye is drawn past the foliage, across the manicured back yard, and over the amazing sunken pool under the blue-framed overhang, through the space between the orange posts, to the electric apple green accent wall behind them. Brighter, more vibrant, and more saturated than the natural greens , and applied blue and orange surrounding it, this wall looks  strong enough to carry this unusual structure’s  visual weight.

This wild building on Wilshire in Santa Monica is one of my favorites.  An eclectic mix of materials, hues and shapes, it seems break all the “rules”, yet somehow, it works!  This could be due to a counteracting balancing effect of the mix of elements. The undulating curve of the upper wood facade/detail is counterbalanced by the strong concrete support/column next to it, even though the wood is a strong color, and an even stronger visual element. Our eye is drawn upward from the glass, and warm blue and green (reflecting sea, sky and grass?) colors behind it to that grand sweep of wood,

which is also supported by the metal detail/support that follows its shape and movement below.  The whole building feels like a

huge kinetic wave, appropriate architecture for a beach town on the edge of the Pacific. The foliage, and its concrete base below also add grounding.  Amazing!  Fidelity, you got it going on, architecturally!

The “Bagel Nosh”  in Santa Monica, hosts a marvelous display of mouth-watering treats. Where does our eye go right to here?  No, there isn’t a spotlight on the center of the case.  That’s just the natural color of these bright golden-yellow jalapeno-flavored bagels. The strong, rich, saturated color just grabs our attention, and holds it there…it’s up to you to decide whether the taste of these treats warrants their attention-grabbing status.

  We walk upon the ground,  perhaps that is why our  shoes are often brown and black…colors of the earth.  We usually want to feel grounded when we tread upon the earth, a firm foundation, a solid base.  But, maybe not all the time.  Perhaps sometimes we want to whirl, twirl, leap, float, and feel  “ten feet off the ground”.  Don’t we long to take risks, to take  flight, as much as we long to be safe, secure, and grounded?  When you want to feel fun, fantastical, floating, and fabulous, try on a glittery, glowing, or gossamer pair of footwear, and see if it helps your grounded spirit to soar!

What buildings, architecture, food or footwear have YOU experienced lately that feel grounded or the opposite?

If you feel so inclined, please share about them with us here.

We love to hear from You.

Remember, we are all trying to ground ourselves  yet take flight within this thing called Life, together.

Stay grounded, but don’t be afraid to fly!

Pyramid Scheme

 Pyramid Scheme

We experience color on a number of different levels, and Frank H. Mahnke of the International Association of Colour Consultants/Designers has developed the ultimate pyramid scheme to organize them.  Called the “Color Experience Pyramid“, the schemata looks like a broad-based triangle, and is comprised of six levels, starting at the wide bottom with our biological responses to a color stimulus, and ending at its pointed tip, with our personal relationship to  color.  In other words, the Pyramid levels move from the general to the specific.

At the base of the Pyramid, and perhaps at the base of our psyches, we have our biological reactions to a color stimulus. These reactions are not controllable.  They may be considered part of our “biological, or evolutionary heritage”, having to do with survival.  Color, a source of information and communication, is also a signal.  During mating season, the males of certain bird species develop large red throat pouches, which serve as a warning or threat signal to other males, as well an attraction signal to the females.  We can find a parallel to this in our response to red as both a danger, and erotic symbol. Wow. This IS complex.

Moving up the Pyramid, we next reach the level of the collective unconscious, a term coined by the Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung.  The contents of the collective unconscious have never been conscious to us during our lifetimes.  This level of experience has to do with archetypes, or the original, ” universally understood symbols or terms or patterns of behavior, a prototype upon which others are copied, patterned, or emulated.”.   These might be understood also as “primordial“, or first images, and do not emerge  from our personal histories, experiences, or intellect.  In other words, these responses, or experiences of color are also not conscious, or controllable.  Don’t we have any control over this stuff at all?

Well, turns out, we do. The next level up is our experience of conscious symbolism and associations with color. Yay! We are finally conscious!  Well, these responses to color could be seen as learned, and some may be seen as universal…blue=water|sky,, green = nature, yellow = sun.  All we need to do is look around  us, and we can see why.  So, although these responses are conscious, they may not be controllable, as some color association  may be deeply ingrained in our sensory life experinece, and reinforced by repetition of those experiences. .  However, these associations and symbols have a profound importance and effect upon us, as they may effect what we buy, eat, wear, value, and drive!


How does the role of culture, even specific regions, affect our experinece of color? Cultural influences and mannerisms comprises the  fourth level up the Color Experience Pyramid.   Although universal responses are surprisingly consistent, it is fascinating to look at the effect of our specific culture, group or tribe on our color responses,  experiences, choices and usage.  The colors of powerful symbols such as flags (and peace signs!) may play into this, as well as the hues representing specific holidays, or even religions. Perhaps the colors of our terrains, such as black sands, and red rocks play into this as well.  First there was the environment, and then there were the people, so…

The influence of trends, fashion and styles is the next level up the Pyramid. Now we get to the fun stuff, right?   Although trends, and such, are seen as temporary, and may well be (otherwise, why would they be called trends?!), these influences do effect our color experinece. These color trends, fashions or styles may have little or nothing to do with supportive color design, and certainly should not be applied to any and every environment, product, object, graphic or work of art across the board. The interesting thing to me about the trend phenomena is, how and why do they arise?  Are they a response to something in the culture? The economy? The weather? Are they a part of human evolution?  Do tell!

Finally, we get to the apex of the triangle…aka, Pyramid.  What is our personal relationship to color,  and how is it influenced by the five levels below?  Apparently our personal “color experience” is indeed made up of the interrelatedness of all of the Pyramid levels, conscious and unconscious. Although our color preferences can be seen as an expression of who we are, they can also change as we change and move through different stages of our lives.  As color is a function of light, it is a form of energy, and thus affects our total being,  physically, emotionally, psychologically, aesthetically. Thus our color experience encompasses all levels of our lives.

  As we develop, transform and transcend, our color preferences will express those changes, and just perhaps, become barometer of our  growth, and a reflection of our inner striving, struggles, and radiance.  Viva la Coleur!

What levels of the Color Experience Pyramid can YOU relate to? 

If you are so moved, please share them with us here.  We love to hear from You.

Remember, we are all experiencing this colorFULL thing called Life, together.