"Clearly, there is more to colour than meets the eye", writes Angela Wright, founder of London based colour consultancy Colour Affects, as even blind people can literally ‘feel’ different colours with their fingertips.
Colour is not just part of the object we see in the distance, it's a light wave coming right at us. "Colour is simply energy," continues Wright. “Energy influencing our feelings, our well being, and demanding a response.”
Wright is one of the contributors to Colour Hunting, a new publication by the Amsterdam based FRAME publishers.
"What is it about colour that attracts us when used in a certain way and repulses us under different circumstances?" the three editors ask in their introduction. "What prompts us to buy a shiny silver car rather than one that is yellow or pink? In other words, how does colour affect what we buy, make and feel?"
To answer their own questions the trio - designers Hanneke Kamphuis and Hedwig van Onna, and journalist Jeanne Tan - compiled a comprehensive, 264 page volume.
The book is divided into three sections: commerce, aesthetics, and well-being. Each section contains chapters from a wide variety of sources treating subjects like colour and corporate identity, how a car manufacturer takes the effect of colour on a driver into consideration, how industrial designer Sandra Hermanns deals with the choice between approximately one million different colours, or how designer Hella Jongerius is delving into old colouring techniques as modern industry has killed the soul of colours by over-standardizing.
For designer duo Stefan Scholten and Carole Baijings, colour has become the starting point in the design process. "We immediately see an object in colour," says Baijings. "Our shapes are minimal, so we think in colour, materials and layering."
As part of their investigation into colour they identified all colours present in certain vegetables and tried to recreate both texture and colour. "Once you start unpeeling nature, you see how refined the colours are," says Baijings. Their advice to design students: make your own colour, don't take it out of a jar.
Colour can influence the work of doctors in hospitals to the detriment of their patients, writes environmental psychologist Fiona de Vos in another chapter. Patients may look healthier than they are in a warm orange environment or less healthy in a chilly green room, prompting doctors to make wrong decisions.
For the patient, colour schemes may be stressful or soothing. "Too often in healthcare the use of colour is excluded, unfortunately and unfairly, when it could add so much value," writes De Vos.
Colour plays a vital role in the way we experience the world, even affecting other senses like feeling or taste and Colour Hunting offers a fascinating in-depth exploration through the topic.
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