KBB - January/February 2010 - (Page 36)

Education Color Decoded To understand color perception and harmony, look beneath the surface “ Why do two colors, put one next to the other, sing? Can one really explain this? No.” —Pablo Picasso Good question, Pablo. But while the question is easy enough to understand, coming up with a complete and comprehensive answer is less so. Part of the difficulty lies in the human reaction to color, which comprises both emotional and biological factors. Although science can explain and predict our biological reaction to certain colors, it can never predict our emotional response, which varies from one person to the next. It’s a proven fact that no two humans view and react to a colors: red, blue and yellow. The primaries are the “founding fathers” of all 250 million pigments the human eye is capable of recognizing— another proven scientific fact. All colors have an undertone, which is a variation of either the founding father yellow or the founding father blue. For example, green is never simply green: It’s green with a blue undertone or green with a yellow undertone. Moreover, blue-green will harmoniously sing among other colors with a blue undertone and vice versa. At this point, you may be wondering: What about the primary color red? Why no mention of it as an undertone? The answer to this is not a simple one. Although your eye can see and recognize red as a Colors that vibrate share very few or no “DNA strands” and, as a result, will fight for attention. single color the exact same way. There are many reasons for this, which will be explained later, but for now, let’s stick to Pablo’s question. Catalan artist Joan Miró once said, “I try to apply colors like words that shape poems, like notes that shape music.” The comparison to music is apt. Consider each color you work with as a musical note. How every note follows the one before will have an impact on whether the final composition will sound like a masterpiece or just noise. Always keep in mind that a color can only be judged and evaluated in relationship to other colors. There are no bad colors. What makes a color unpleasant is the combination of colors or the palette in which it appears. full color, its system of cones and rods is such that it cannot see red as an undertone. Consequently, your eye moves on to the next dominating primary DNA, blue or yellow. Designer David Hicks once said, “The truth is that clashing colors do not exist; the whole idea of certain colors conflicting violently with others was nonsense dreamed up by a lot of genteel women in the 1930s. Colors do not clash—they vibrate.” Colors that vibrate share very few or no “DNA strands” and, as a result, will fight for attention. This doesn’t mean, however, that the colors won’t work together or that they’ll look bad together (it might be the case, but not necessarily so). It simply means that they lack the common DNA strands to create a visual transition and thus aid the eye in viewing both or even more colors in one instant. CREATING HARMONY “Harmony” is a word designers often use when working to create a color palette. But to create harmony, we must ask how colors enhance and support each other. Here, the concept of DNA, used to determine genetic relationships between humans, can be helpful. Breaking down colors to their “DNA structure” will enable you to better determine if they share a common denominator and whether they can be combined to build a harmonious color palette. Yes, you can choose a wonderful color for a kitchen or bath project, but its appeal is actually second in importance to its primary color DNA, or its undertone. To understand undertone, think back to first-grade art class, where we learned that all color pigments are made up of three primary SCIENCE AND EMOTION So there you have it. The more shared DNA strands there are between colors, the easier the transition and the better the harmony. This, of course, is not to tell you what not to do, but to help you understand what may result if you combine colors with different undertones. After all, some projects or design ideas may call for a vibration effect between certain colors. Or when that gray cabinetry you love is not working in a particular space, remember the words of French chemist Michel Eugène Chevreul: “In order to change a color, it is enough to change the color of its background.” Continued on page 38 + K BB January/February 2010 / www.kbbonline.com / The Official Sponsor of KBIS www.kbis.com Jully2004 http://www.kbbonline.com http://www.kbis.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of KBB - January/February 2010

KBB - January/February 2010
Contents
Editor’s Note
Online Content
Online News
Trends
Products
Profile
Taste the Rainbow
Semi Formal
Education
Editorial Index
Ad Index
Favorites

KBB - January/February 2010

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