04 November 2010

Color your world; color your mood

At left, one of Vance Kirkland's dot paintings demonstrates the impact of color.

I've been crazy about color since I was a kid. One of my earliest memories involves a family trip to Como Zoo in Minneapolis. I was not yet in kindergarten, so the city and the animals excited me. And the balloon vendor with a giant, buoyant bouquet of red, yellow, and blue balloons--just like on the Wonder Bread wrapper--especially thrilled me.

My parents bought me a balloon.The balloon man asked me which color I wanted. I knew I wanted red, but I was a terribly bashful youngster. Research indicates that red is a favorite color for many kids.

"Which color do you want?" the man asked me again. I was too shy to say. My second choice was blue--a pale sky blue. Almost the color of my eyes. "Do you have a favorite?" the balloon man asked me again. Again, I did not answer, afraid to voice my preference.
And then the balloon man handed me a yellow balloon--my least favorite. I was crestfallen. Maybe he thought the yellow balloon matched my hair. I was disappointed, yet still did not ask to swap the yellow. I wanted red, would settle for blue, but wound up with default yellow. My dad tied the balloon around my little wrist, and I looked up and it and pretended the yellow balloon was the sun. Still, I had wanted red.

Ask for what you want. And don't be afraid to specify.

I look back on that anecdote and realize that it's important to ask for what we want. And sometimes it's ok and even appropriate to ask with some specificity. If we have a choice, why not speak up and ask for our heart's desires?

Pantone Matching System: A designer's wide spectrum rainbow.

The story also underscores my early appreciation of color. Selecting color palettes is one of my favorite aspects of my work as an art director for printed materials. I just inherited a new set of Pantone Matching System color selector books with more PMS colors that you can shake a mahl stick at. This year, Pantone added 566 new colors: 224 solid colors, 300 premium metallics, and 42 neons. You might not believe how much we deliberate over colors. A trained eye can see many colors--even in white.

Color is a vibration: choose carefully.

I have one main rule when I work with color: The bigger the risk, the bigger the reward. I've found this truth both in my home decor and in graphic design projects. Colors have clout.

Color, we know from the scientists, is a vibration. Different colors have different vibrations. We know, too, that black in paint represents all pigments. Yet black in light represents none.

Pay attention to colors that lift your spirits. Use them in your wardrobe and on your walls and any way you're able to incorporate your favorite hues to color your world. You just might kick your blues, stop seeing red, and find yourself in the pink. Share/Save/Bookmark

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