THE MOST IMPORTANT TOOL YOU HAVE AS A DESIGNER
‘There are few things in design that are more subjective — or more important — than the use of color. A color that can evoke one reaction in one person may evoke the opposite reaction in another, due to culture, prior association, or even just personal preference.’ – Cameron Chapman
Last month (May 2021) I opened up a 3 part “Colour Convo” series. I highlighted a short but appreciative word to the ‘Global Guru’ of colour: Leatrice (Lee) Eiseman.(Think Pantone Colour of the year.) If you have not read part one, I urge you to click here and read it before continuing.
Before we dive straight in, I would like to announce that I have completed my Interior Design qualification through The Interior Design Institute. In this respect, it must be noted that the opinions and thoughts contained in this segment are my own with some reference to some extra research done through smashingmagazine.com and their articles, ‘Colour Theory for Designers’, parts I, II and III.
In this article we will unpack individual, primary and secondary colours; how the use of colour in design influences the choices we make in everyday life; how colour affects our emotional state, our interpretation of our surroundings and how colour plays a very strong and subconscious role in our daily decision making process.
A QUICK RECAP:
- PRIMARY COLOURS: RED, YELLOW and BLUE – these colours cannot be created by mixing other colours. They are pigment colours. Pigment Colours blended together create other colours.
- SECONDARY COLOURS: GREEN, ORANGE and VIOLET – these colours are a blend of equal measurements of the PRIMARY COLOURS.
- TERTIARY COLOURS: These colours are created by mixing equal measurements of one PRIMARY colour with one SECONDARY colour.
Warm Colours – Red, Orange, Yellow – Warm colours are colours that evoke a literal and figurative warmth within a person.
RED – A Statement Colour
- Red symbolizes fire, passion and importance. E.G: Valentines Day; Hollywood’s Red Carpet events
- It is viewed as the colour associated with confrontation, anger or rage.
- In China, brides wear red as a symbol of good luck. Many businesses and outlet stores in China will have a flash of red in their shops or designs.
- Interior Designers use red as a statement colour to accentuate walls and floors. They also use red to bring an area alive through the use of fabrics.
- In the corporate world, it is used as an indication of a SALE or the indication of VALUE.
ORANGE- A Vibrant and Energetic Colour
- Orange is a colour of the earth. It signals change as the leaves turn orange indicating our crossover from summer to Autumn.
- In Interior Design, orange is often used when red is seen as too bold or ‘in your face’.
YELLOW – Recognised as the most Energising warm colour
- Yellow epitomises the image of life – the sun, bees, insects, flowers.
- It can be negatively construed as the colour of cowardice.
- Interestingly, it is the Japanese colour that embodies courage.
- Interior Designers use this colour to communicate happiness and peace.
Cool Colours – Green, Blue and Purple – Cool colours give rise to calm, relaxed feelings.
GREEN – uses the energy of yellow in a more subdued way.
- Green, like orange, is an earth colour. It is associated with new beginnings, renewal, conservation, growth and a healthy lifestyle.
- It denotes quiet natural pastures and invokes feelings of wellness and positivity.
- Conversely, it is also known as the colour symbolising envy and inexperience.
- In Interior Design, green is a colour that is not used often in major features but when used in harmony with other cool colours, it can create a very peaceful environment.
BLUE – a peaceful colour that evokes a sense of calm, peace and tranquility
- Blue can provide a feeling of calm as it has the ability to nurture a refreshing outlook.
- On the other hand, it is also associated with sadness – feeling blue.
- For Interior Designers, the hues of the colour blue are absolutely critical. Different blues stir up different emotions. For instance, light blue can be seen as a more relaxing colour than a vibrant, refreshing deeper and darker blue.
VIOLET – a colour that indicates royalty, luxury and wealth
- Violet is a mixture of the primary colours, RED and BLUE. It is also known as purple and let’s not forget indigo. Quite confusing and the subject of much debate.
- During Phoenician times, the dye that we regard as violet/purple was acquired from marine snails in the Mediterranean city of Tyre (present day Lebanon.) Known globally as Tyrian PURPLE, the dye was the symbol of luxury and wealth for thousands of years before man was able to formulate the dye from other sources.
- Today, Violet/Purple is regarded as a conservative colour. Although, in recent history, Violet/Purple has been trending and is regarded as a modern colour used both in Interior Design and Fashion Design.
To end off our conversation, here are some interesting facts:
- RED AND YELLOW STIMULATE HUNGER.
- BLACK IS ACTUALLY THE ONLY COLOUR YOU CAN’T SEE.
- ISAAC NEWTON IS RECOGNISED AS THE COLOUR WHEEL DEVELOPER.
- BLUE IS THE MOST POPULAR COLOUR GLOBALLY.
- RED IS THE FIRST COLOUR THAT BABIES SEE.
Keep your eyes open for part III of our COLOUR CONVO where we will discuss NEUTRAL COLOURS; The VALUE OF HUES and the significance of understanding the terms HUES, TINTS, SHADES and TONES.