There is so much more to colour than meets the eye, from how we perceive it to it’s origins, theories and language. Welcome to the first blog in the series of Brand Colour Confidence where I get back to basics on what colour is and how it works.
Our modern understanding of how colour is formed from light, begins with Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1726) and a series of experiments that he publishes in 1672. He demonstrated that light travels in waves. He shone white light through a triangular prism, as different wavelengths of light refracted at different angles, Newton was able to demonstrate that the colours of the rainbow (the spectrum) are the component parts of light.
COLOUR IS LIGHT
Light travels to us in waves from the sun, on the same electro-magnetic spectrum as radio and television waves, microwaves, x-rays etc. Light is the only part of the spectrum that we can see, which perhaps explains why we take it less seriously than the invisible power of the other rays.
HOW WE SEE COLOUR
Colour affects us whether we like it or not, colour gives us feelings making it more than a visual experience. We perceive colour just as we perceive taste. When we eat, our taste buds sense four attributes: sweet, salty, sour and bitter. Similarly, when we see our visual nerves register colour in terms of the attributes of colour: the amount of green-or-red; the amount of blue-or-yellow; and the brightness.
The polarities of life surround us you can’t have one without the other. We have North and South, light and dark, hot and cold, Yin and Yang – . Blue and Yellow – Night and Day – Dense and Light.
In scientific terms the longer the wavelength colours (red, orange and yellow) relate to the sun – day, light, energy, whilst shorter wavelengths of colour (blue, indigo, violet) relate to the moon – night, dark, passive. Green falls between short and long wave making it a balance, whilst white is the total reflection of light and black is the total absorption of light.
WHAT IS COLOUR?
Colour is vibrations of light, the only visible part of electromagnetic spectrum between microwaves and x-rays.
Let’s begin with the basic colours of the spectrum.
Richard Of York Gave Battle In Vain
Red Orange Yellow Green Blue Indigo Violet
I really do hope you find this as interesting as I do, even this phrase brought back memories from my childhood. I have lots more to share with you over the coming weeks, as well as curated boards of colour on Pinterest, and colour psychology in Instagram.