Color Matters Blog

Color is always doing something. Sometimes color screams out a message, sometimes it casts a subliminal spell. So, what's happening in the world of color today? Yesterday? Tomorrow? What are the facts, what are the myths?
Jill is the author and designer of the Color Matters website. She's a color consultant who focuses on color psychology and brand identity. See "Who Is Color Matters" at this web site and for more information.

Something New to Pink About?

pink jail
pink goo
pink navy blue
pink afghan martial arts
pink pussy cat hasts in a sea of pink protestors

Pink has been all over the news recently. Some of it is powerful and inspiring but the same old dirty little lies about pink continue to be spread. We begin with color news you can’t use:

Liar Liar – The Color Wheel Is on Fire(The same old nasty alternative facts about pink)“Cool Down Pink”

The article states: "Are you quick-tempered? Have bouts of aggression? The reason could be lack of pink in your environment! According to psychologist Daniela Spath a certain shade of pink calms the nerves, including in aggressive prisoners."

So wrong!

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It’s not easy being lurid green

lurid green


The Olympic swimming pool in Rio turned green last week. In spite of assurances that it was safe, athletes were appalled and observers describe it as swampy and sewerish.

Even though it’s back to its pristine azure blue, it makes you wonder about a color that is embraced as the symbol of nature and eco-awareness. Oh no, how can green turn lurid?*

This is a lesson for all color enthusiasts: The context matters as much as the symbolism of a color. Green means go in a traffic signal and good luck on a shamrock, but green racing cars can be unlucky, and a green swimming pool might just make you think that Kermit the Frog peed in the pool.

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The Color of Insanity

insanity color blog

Typically people ask about the color of happiness, power, and other positive attributes. When a former student asked about the color of insanity, it deserved an answer. Here are a few things to ponder:

In Russia, a colloquial expression for an insane asylum is "yellow house" because (a long time ago) they used to be painted yellow.

"The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Gilman Perkins has been tied to a certain form of OCD. Furthermore, the color of the wallpaper has been explored in a number of scholarly literary papers.

Van Gogh's palette became more and more yellow towards the end of his life. His "insanity" was supposedly caused by lead poisoning because he inadvertently "ate" his paints ("hand to mouth" gestures, holding a brush handle in his mouth, etc.).

Studies on the effects of LSD (& other hallucinogenic drugs) have shown drawings/paintings by "crazy" folks with much more yellow as the effects advanced.

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© Jill Morton

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Shoes and Hues

Red sole Louboutin shoes & neon yellow-green Nike Volt shoes
Red sole Louboutin shoes
Nike Volt Neon yellow-green shoes

The power of the color of shoes made the news recently – and it left a historic mark on women's fashion and athletic gear.

Christian Louboutin just won trademark protection for its women's shoes with red soles while an appeals court also ruled the company can't trademark a design that is simply all red. In other words, they have exclusive rights to use the color red on the inner soles of their high-heeled shoes. It's like Tiffany's blue box and Cadbury's purple packaging — the red sole has been an iconic signature for these designer shoes for 20 years and they have the legal rights to it. Source

However, this is about a precise red, used in a precise location. They have exclusive rights to red soles except when the shoe itself is red, according to a federal appeals court. French fashion house Yves Saint Laurent—which Louboutin had sued for trademark infringement—can keep selling its all-red shoes with matching soles.

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Pink: The Color of Shock and Awe - Olympics 2012

Olympics 2012 Pink ticket
A Guide to Color Symbolism from the author of Color Matters

How daring! The official color of the 2012 Olympics is pink. Maybe we can finally see beyond the stereotype and consider the many personalities of this compassionate color.

Shocking, yes. "Whoa. Pepto Bismol threw up everywhere," so said one critic. Others protest the girliness of pink for such a muscular event. On the other hand, these London pinks are as vibrant, visionary, and awe-inspiring as the Olympic event itself.

It's a surprising visual adventure: From the arena's walls to the logo and ticket designs, a deep "magenta" and a bubble gum pink are everywhere. And for the first time in Olympics history, the hockey field at Olympic Park is an electric blue surface with a hot pink border.

Yes, there are times when conservative colors are wise; but there are times when wild colors are brilliant. I vote "Bravo" on this one. What do you say?

Note: The colors of the Olympics are seen through the filter of video and television technology. (The latter tends to shift to the bluer tones). It's all a matter of degrees of "pinkness." In pursuit of the true hue, I googled "Pantone color Olympics" 2012 and got nothing.

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