Recently I attended The Colour Group (GB) event – ‘Colour for business and the professions’ held at the City University of London. The Colour Group (GB) is an interdisciplinary society whose members specialise in areas of colour reproduction, measurement and perception. The meeting with many diverse speakers was aimed at helping professionals who research and/or work with colour, to understand it and utilise it more effectively.
Topics from the science and understanding of colour, to where pigments and dyes come from, to colour trends and their influence were discussed. Some of the highlights for me included questions posed such as – ‘Why do we have colour’? Anya Hurlbert, founding Director of the Institute of Neuroscience, answered that principally we use colour to facilitate finding and using objects. Colour identification helps us to understand the ‘material identity’ of something, to recognise what it is. For example the colours red and green help us to distinguish between fruits and leaves and may even be an identifier of human attraction. We find ‘redness’ in colouring an indication of health. Hurlbert’s research indicates there is an ‘underlying universality’ to colour preference – but there is also ‘individuality’ in choice, which underpins the understanding of those of us that work with the psychology of colour.
Janet Best of Colour Diversity is a recognised authority in global colour communication and control. Janet believes that “Colour is the easiest way to generate new life in a product”. An excellent rule to remember for any design, branding and marketing professionals!
Adrian Abel, former President of the Society of Dyers and Colourists spoke about the discovery and development of pigments and dyes and here’s a fascinating fact – Queen Victoria popularised and led the trend for the colour mauve when ‘mauvine’ was discovered as a synthetic dye by William H. Perkin in 1856!
And talking of trends, Dr Julie King, Head of the School of Fashion and Textiles at De Montfort University presented an insight in to the development of fashion trends. But what of the future? Well according to Dr King the colour future is looking ‘grey’. Janet Best spoke of trends which indicate that “by 2020, 75% of the world will be living in urban environments”. Time for some real consideration on ‘why we have colour,’ the impact of colour on our wellbeing and environments I think!
Find out more about colour and how it affects you. Spend a day ‘Exploring colour in your world’ Saturday 26th January 2013.