Color theory is sometimes referred to as the art and science of color and encompasses many different aspects of how we interact with color. Below are just a few topics that I found fascinating.
Living in a World of Color and Energy The influence of color is everywhere, color can affect our personal energy, or mood, and even can determine if we make a purchase or not.
Color and the Senses General facts about sensory input and human beings: In the pre-historic era, sight is one of our most important means of survival as hunters and gatherers in the early days of our evolution, we experienced a variety of colors and forms in the landscape. This has become part of our genetic code.
In our current state of evolution, vision is the primary source for all our experiences. Current marketing research has reported that approximately 80 percent of what we assimilate through the senses, is visual.
Our nervous system requires input and stimulation and color addresses one of our basic neurological needs for stimulation. With respect to visual input, we become bored in the absence of a variety of colors and shapes.
Color and Brand Identity A brand is the identity of a specific product, service, or business. A brand can take many forms, including a name, sign, symbol, and color combination.
1. Color increases brand recognition by up to 80 percent. (University of Loyola, Maryland study)
2. Color influences brand identity in a variety of ways. Consider the phenomenal success Heinz EZ Squirt Blastin' Green ketchup has had in the marketplace. More than 10 million bottles were sold in the first seven months following its introduction, with Heinz factories working 24 hours a day, seven days a week to keep up with demand. The result: $23 million in sales attributable to Heinz green ketchup (the highest sales increase in the brand's history). All because of a simple color change.
3. Apple Computer brought color into a marketplace where color had not been seen before. By introducing the colorful iMacs, Apple was the first to say, "It doesn't have to be beige". The iMacs reinvigorated a brand that had suffered $1.8 billion of losses in two years. And now we have the colorful iPods.
Color and Increases Participation and Memory Color can improve readership by 40 percent 1, learning from 55 to 78 percent 2, and comprehension by 73 percent 3.
Psychologists have documented that "living color" does more than appeal to the senses it will also boosts memory for scenes in the natural world. Memory-wise, if a picture is worth a thousand words, a picture with natural colors may be worth a million.
Within a store, hanging an extra "tag" of data on visual scenes, color can help us to process and store images more efficiently than colorless (black and white) scenes, and as a result to remember them better, too.
(Source: The findings were reported in the May 2002 issue of the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory and Cognition, published by the American Psychological Association)
Ads in color are read up to 42 percent more often than the same ads in black and white. (Source: Color for Impact, Strathmoor Press, April, 1997)
How Important is COLOR in Business?
Color Matters So much so that research by the the secretariat of the Seoul International Color Expo documented 93 percent of test subjects put the highest importance on visual factors when purchasing products. Yet only 6 percent said that the physical feel (sense of touch) was most important. Hearing and smell each drew a meager 1 percent.
The below interpretations of colors are based on the typical North American eye. Color interpretation in the Far East, Europe and in Africa, for example, all vary. So before you start changing colors to your products, interior, etc..., its a good idea to know who you are communicating with.
Red Red indicates strength, excitement, passion, speed, danger, stimulation, and intensity.
Blue Blue indicates coolness, trust, reliability, belonging, consistency, dependability, quietness, and freshness. (Study show that most people select blue as their favorite color)
Yellow Yellow indicates cheer, warmth, sunshine, happiness and enlightenment.
Green Green indicates abundance, nature, fresh, cool, growth, soothing, refreshing, healing, tranquility, and environment.
Black Black indicates power, sophistication, elegance, seductiveness, mystery, mystery, strength, magic, and sorrow.
White White indicates innocent, purity, clean, youthful, mild, lightweight, pristine, bright, and friendly.
Color Symbolism Color symbolism in art and anthropology refers to the use of color as a symbol in various cultures. There is great diversity in the use of colors and their associations between cultures and even within the same culture in different time periods. In fact, the same color may have very different associations within the same culture at any time.
Science of Color The science of color is sometimes called chromatics. It includes the perception of color by the human eye and brain, the origin of color in materials, color theory in art, and the physics of electromagnetic radiation in the visible range, that is, what we commonly refer to simply as light.
The color systems used by scientists and artists are entirely different. An artist will mix blue and yellow paint to get a shade of green; a scientist will mix green and red light to create yellow. The printed page in a magazine is yet another system.
RGB diagram Scientists recognize the light primaries of red, green and blue. When combined, red and green light rays produce yellow, blue and green produce cyan, red and blue produce magenta. Red, green and blue mix to create white (light).
The CMYK Color System In the print industry, cyan, magenta, yellow and black are used as the primary colors. When you mix all the colors, the result is gray. If you look at a printed page with a magnifying glass you might see something like the illustration below.
Subtractive Color Most artists recognize red, yellow and blue as the 3 basic primary colors. These primaries are the pure colors which can not be created by mixing any other colors. Secondary hues are the result of mixing any of the two primaries. Tertiary colors result from mixing the secondary hues.
Chromotherapy Chromotherapy, sometimes called color therapy, colorology or cromatherapy, is an alternative medicine method. It is claimed that a therapist trained in chromotherapy can use color and light to balance "energy" wherever a person's body be lacking, be it physical, emotional, spiritual, or mental. The practice has been labelled pseudoscientific by its critics.
Color therapy is unrelated to light therapy, a valid and proven form of medical treatment for seasonal affective disorder and a small number of other conditions.
Ayurvedic medicine describes the body as having seven main chakras, which are spiritual centers located along the spine that are associated with a color, function and organ or bodily system.
Electromagnetic Color Four thousand years ago, the Egyptians built healing temples of light. Bathing a patient in specific colors of light produced different effects. Today we know that a blindfolded person will experience physiological reactions under different colored rays. In other words, the skin sees in technicolor. This fact was confirmed by the noted neuropsychologist, Kurt Goldstein. In his modern classic, The Organism, he notes that stimulation of the skin by different colors leads to different effects. He states, "it is probably not a false statement to say that a specific color stimulation is accompanied by a specific response pattern of the entire organism."
In order to understand this, we begin with the fact that color is a form of visible light. It is electromagnetic energy.
The Sensory Effects of Color
1. Temperature Warm tones are colors with yellow undertones. To offset a warm room use colors with variations of blues and bluegreen on large wall/floor areas. Cool tones are colors with blue undertones. To offset a cool room use colors with variations of reds and red-oranges on large wall/floor areas.
Study show men tend to feel color 5 degrees warmer than women. You may want to use cooler colors when specifying to men and warmer undertones for women.
2. Noise High pitched shrill sounds are offset by olive greens. Muffled sounds are countered by lighter colors.
3. Smell Study's show that sweet smells are lessened by greens. Red and pink intensify the sensation of sweetness. Bitter smells may be offset by orange.
Solvent, musky, and cloying sweet odors such as: paint, soap, or perfume are offset by yellow, and yet purple will intensify the sensation of these odors.
4. Humidity Dampness may be offset by yellows, yellow oranges, and tans. Dryness may be offset by blues and greens.
5. Weight Dark colors are heavier. Light colors seem less dense and therefore lighter in weight. One of the most interesting examples of color effects is Baker-Miller Pink also known as "drunk tank pink". This color is used to calm violent prisoners in jails.
A dentist may use cool colors in her office to give a sense of peace to nervous patients, while a psychologist might use warm colors to evoke more emotional responses from patients.
6. Food and Color Think of the impact color has in restaurants. Warm bright colors, can be found in many fast food restaurants specifically to stimulate the appetite, and create the perception of great tasting food. They are frequently noisy and the customer feels as if they have been there far longer than anticipated. This creates a fast turnover and higher profits. We often find the color red in residential applications in the dining room and kitchen to stimulate appetite.
7. Color and Space Designers can use illusion to make a small room appear larger or a large room appear smaller, emphasize a feature, minimize others, or enhance architectural details. Using pale, light colors will make a room feel larger and create a sense of openness. Painting a ceiling white will make it seem higher, therefore the darker the color on the ceiling the more you will bring it down.
Dark or deeper toned colors will make a room seem cozier by creating the visual perception that the walls and ceiling are closer than they are. Using a bold or dramatic color can emphasize an architectural feature or direct the eye to a focal point in the room.
8. Brain Activity It has been found that exposing a child to primary colors, specifically red, throughout his first year of life can stimulate activity, interest, and double the length and the amount of brain waves in the child. Thus, we have seen over the past decade a transition from mellow soft colors in nurseries to the stimulating primary colors.
Colors for Individuals Each person has certain colors that make him or her look their best. Finding those colors can help increase confidence and enhance or cancel out their natural beauty.
Understand that color is based on seasons and every person's coloring can be described as a season. There are two characteristics that determine which season's palette that you can best wear: warm or cool and clear or muted. If your coloring is warm and clear you are a "spring", if you are cool and clear you are a "winter", warm and muted is "autumn" and cool and muted is "summer."
Warm skin tones tend to have yellow undertones, while cool ones have blue. These undertones are very subtle and often difficult to see but if you have quite golden skin or appear sallow then you are warm. Blue undertones can often be seen as red cheeks or slight ruddiness.
Many people can wear colors from another palette that shares characteristics with their own season's palette. You can work out which of these colors you can wear by deciding whether you are (if you are a spring) most noticeably warm or clear. If you are predominantly clear, for example, you will also be able to wear many winter colors. Someone who was warm and clear, predominantly clear, would be a spring-winter.
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