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 www.colorcom.com for more information.
JAN
26

Color Trends for 2018

trend blog banner crystal ball

"Color trends for 2018" is a challenging topic because there are trends that emerge from mass culture - and are frequently fed by media - and there are the "Color of the Year” proclamations that arise from the big business of trend forecasting.  In the first case, there’s no time limit; in the latter, it’s specific to the year. Above all else, trends get us to look at color in a new way.

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3812 Hits
FEB
23

Something New to Pink About?

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

pink jail

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."

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AUG
15

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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5493 Hits
MAY
08

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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Copyright

© Jill Morton

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SEP
12

Shoes and Hues

Red sole Louboutin shoes & neon yellow-green Nike Volt 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

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171272 Hits
AUG
01

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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196814 Hits
APR
23

Color Criminals - Red Gets Busted

starbucks bug juice red - cochineal
Wild salmon and farm raised salmon with colorants

Bug juice “red” made the news when it was exposed as Starbuck’s food coloring used in strawberry frapuccinos. After a public outcry – even from non-vegetarians – Starbucks announced it has stopped using it.

This isn’t just a vegetarian outrage or the questionable appeal of bug juice in your food - which by the way doesn’t bother me because it’s a natural alternative to the controversial red food dye #5 derived from coal tar. The real crime is disclosure and deception.

First of all, disclosure: There are moral issues for vegetarian and kosher diets and there are health issues. Natural food colorings such as cochineal (aka “bug juice”) and artificial additives such as red dyes #2 and #40 can cause allergic reactions.

Second, the greatest offense is deception: Starbucks advertised its Strawberry Frappuccinos and Smoothies as vegan-friendly.

In the meantime, “cochineal” (the name of the colorant extracted from beetles) and its close relative “carmine” will continue to be used as dye in pies, jello, juices (cranberry and pink grapefruit), dried shrimp, pork sausage, candies, pills, jams, and the brightly colored maraschino cherries.

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132763 Hits
FEB
09

At the Heart of Valentines Day

Heart Attaq painting by Jill Morton
Heart shaped Coin, Cyrene 600 BC

It’s not the color of Valentine’s Day... any color will do, as long as it’s a heart. As the celebration of love approaches, consider the origins of the symbol of love.  

The most basic geometric shapes are circles, squares, rectangles, and triangles. These combine to create hexagons, polygons, diamonds, and other classic forms. As cultures and religions evolved, new shapes emerged: crescent moons, yin yang, crosses, teardrops, and hearts – for example. Some are easy analyze; others, like the heart, not so easy.

The origin of the heart symbol becomes more complex because the heart is found in many different cultures: Hindu, Buddhist, Celtic, Christian, Hebrew, Muslim, Aztec, and Taoist.

When we turn to geometry, we find no logic. The heart is not a derivative shape, as would be the case with the cross.

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64894 Hits
DEC
06

Is color the key to weight loss?

Color contrasts of food and plates
Color plates experiment - Servings in ounces
The worst plate colors for different kinds of food
Blue plates curb appetite
Garish color can curb appetite
Color Consultation for Marketing & Branding in the Food Industry

Can colors curb your appetite and help you lose weight? Maybe. Could the color of a plate be a key to weight loss? A recent study says, “Yes.”

New research* suggests that plate colors that contrast with food help people eat less. The study revealed that people put less food on a plate with high contrast. If this is confusing, these graphics will help define contrasts:

Red (food) on a white background (plate) is a high contrast. Red (food) on a brown background (plate) is low contrast. You’ll put less red-sauce pasta on a white plate because it looks like there is more food on the plate.

Furthermore, the colors of the tablecloth may also affect appetite. When the dinner plate contrasted with the tablecloth, the study found that people saw the plate as smaller and ate less. (In the example above, the black and white checkered tablecloth creates a high contrast with the white plate; the brown tablecloth creates a low contrast with the red plate.)

An independent study* by ABC news measured the amount of food that people put on their plates. See the comparison below:

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258611 Hits
NOV
08

Addicted to Color

Addictions - Candy, Exercise, Color

“Brain scans suggest that everything from sugar to sex lights up the brain’s pleasure circuitry. ” * For some, it may be chocolate or pasta; for others it may be exercise or gambling. This can result in addiction with the same results: The body steadily ratchets up the quantity necessary to provide the same high.

What about color? Can color press the pleasure button in your brain? Can you develop a case of color addiction? Now that the brilliant colors of autumn (in the Northern Hemisphere) are almost gone, could you be entering a state of color withdrawal? If so, it’s possible that the shift from the reds, oranges, and yellows of fall to the greys and browns of early winter have you feeling gloomy. It’s worth noting that some people do begin to experience episodes of depression known as SAD  (Seasonal Affective Disorder) at this time of the year because there’s less exposure to daylight. Perhaps color also plays a similar role.

What do you think? Do colors press the pleasure button in your brain? Are you experiencing color withdrawal now the amazing colors of autumn are gone? In any case, Christmas is coming and our homes will be filled twinkling lights and much more.

* Source

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129087 Hits
OCT
25

The Colors of Fright! Black, Orange, and White

The colors of fright

We can be green with envy, turn purple with rage, see red, and feel blue.  But what about fright? What’s the color of fear? And for that matter, what about the colors of Halloween?

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202487 Hits
APR
26

In the future, every color will be world-famous for 15 minutes

Andy Warhol - a master of color
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97561 Hits
MAR
30

A Color that’s Worth $80,000,000

If you've ever wondered if color can make a multi-million dollar difference, check out this example of a special shade of blue.
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122654 Hits
MAR
16

Working with Color: Bailouts and Branding

Which color is the best for a product?

I love interviews with the press because there’s always one challenging question that requires a good answer. Last week, the interviewer asked, “How do you get your color consultation projects?” I replied that half the time, there’s a color disaster underway and someone contacts me. Typically, “the boss” has chosen his or her favorite color for the logo (or the product, packaging, etc.) and a member of the staff senses that there is something terribly wrong with the choice.

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23519 Hits
FEB
24

When is a color racially offensive?

Racial Insensitivity - Colors 

The recent controversy surrounding the aboriginal costumes worn by Russian ice dancers Domnina and Shabalin raises questions of cultural theft, authenticity of the steps, and appropriate costumes. Some Australian aboriginal leaders have claimed that the pair’s brown-toned costumes adorned with leaves and white aboriginal-style markings were offensive and far from authentic. On the other hand, the Russian duo’s coach explained that the term "aboriginal" translates from Latin language and means "from the beginning" and that they tried to represent a picture of the time when aboriginal people were in the world - with no reference to any country or custom. Nevertheless, in spite of changing the hue of their original costumes from a dark brown (intended to make their skins look darker) to a paler shade, which better matched the Russians' natural skin tone, the controversy still rages.

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146410 Hits
FEB
12

There’s More Than Love at the Heart of Red

red-fuchsia

"Monkey Butt Red" and "Flaming Fuchsia" made the news recently - at least in the automotive industry. These are the names of colors created by Toyota and Dodge for the debut of their elite sports cars. Consider the possibility that these colors and their names were intended to generate a lot of press.

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37451 Hits
FEB
03

Shattering a Colorblind View of the Past

Dinosaur and Archer

For nearly two centuries, scholars have been arguing that beige and white were not the true colors of antiquity. The Parthenon in Athens and the Forum in Rome might have been almost gaudy. Unfortunately, such ideas have never influenced Hollywood or many experts. For example, in "Gladiator," when Russell Crowe strides down the streets of ancient Rome, circa A.D. 180, he's backed up by the proper complement of white marble. In almost every view of the past, textbooks included, the ancient world comes off as monochrome.

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38209 Hits
JAN
12

Color Karma for the Next Decade

Crystal Ball Color Karma

Where will color go in 2010? What about the next decade? Will we be under the influence of trends or will the timeless powers of color rule? I’m sure you’ll agree that it will be both - and it all depends on many factors. The good thing about trends is that they inject new life into the color wheel. Yes, but what goes around comes around again and that’s my first take on color karma for the next decade.

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28337 Hits
NOV
27

Push the color red as far as it can go?

Chris Chou Mandala

One of my unfulfilled dreams as a colorist has been to pack as many colors as possible into a painting that breaks the barrier of “it’s too pretty to be considered as serious art.”

When I was working on my M.F.A., the "anti-aesthetic" ruled. The art that was sanctioned by the intelligentsia was far from lovely. Matisse’s famous philosophy - that a painting should be like a comfortable armchair - was taboo. There was no going back to the luxurious color harmonies of Matisse and Monet in the French impressionist era or the lush abstractions of deKooning or Rothko in the mid-twentieth century.

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19225 Hits
NOV
04

Here comes trouble: Paint matching apps for the iPhone

iPhone-banner

It’s supposed to solve the dilemma of winding up with all those cans of paint in colors that are too bold, too dingy, or not quite right. Both Benjamin Moore's Ben Color Capture and Sherwin-Williams' ColorSnap applications for the iPhone work the same way: Take a picture with your iPhone, zoom in on an area of color that you want to match in paint. Click “match” and the application gives you a range of paint options just like a real paint strip from their catalogue (either Moore or Sherwin). On the plus side, it shows the color’s nearest neighbors, in both lighter and darker shades.

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81944 Hits
OCT
27

A Color Heaven

Bermuda
Three weeks ago, I presented a seminar about color in Bermuda. I’ll admit that I’m quite spoiled by living in the color paradise of Hawaii. I’m not easily swept off my feet, but the colors of Bermuda - everything from sand to architecture - were stunning and classy, at that.

Real men wear pink - pink shirts and even pink shorts. In fact the logo on the airport terminal is a pair of pink Bermuda shorts. Aside from wearing apparel, many of the beaches are pink and so are the homes and many of the commercial buildings.

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24410 Hits
OCT
14

Monkey Butt Red?

Monkey Butt Red

It’s the new red … and it’s the color Toyota chose for the FT-86 sports car. Yes, it really is the red color of a Japanese monkey’s backside and if you can pronounce it, it’s “shoujyouhi” red.

Just when we’re getting used to a new genre of creative – but not always descriptive - color terms, such as "Fiji Weegee Fawn" for nail polish, "Freedom Trail" for paint, and "Peter Pan" for candles, Toyota's reference point for this new hue is beyond bizarre.

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32445 Hits
SEP
10

Liar, Liar, the Color Wheel is on Fire


Too-Many-Colors

Does the web provide an open door for "color experts" to dish out bad advice? Maybe in the dark days before the web, the color wheel was on fire but no one could see it. Whatever the case may be - and on the heels of last week’s Benjamin Moore report - there’s a new one.

The latest bad advice is based on the assumption that the "old rules" about how to use and combine colors are out the window. Here’s the exact quote from an interior design professional:

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20682 Hits
SEP
09

Busted! What is the color of trustworthy information?

Color inside brains


Wikipedia just announced that they will allow a color-coding for text that has been declared untrustworthy. Orange will be used to highlight unreliable text, with more reliable text given a lighter shade. Text earns "trust" over time, and moves from orange to white.

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57723 Hits
AUG
20

In Memoriam: Kodachrome and Polaroid

Poladroid 

2009 marks the end of two photographic wonders and the amazing colors they produced. Digital photography has rendered them obsolete.

In June, Eastman Kodak company announced that its Kodachrome film would be no more. This was the slide film that gave us such beautiful bright colors and it's the film Paul Simon idolized in the classic line of a song, "Mama don't take my Kodachrome away."

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19203 Hits
AUG
04

Wet Dog

Wet Dog

wet dogs

When I was in art school, a professor commented that my painting looked like a soggy dog. That was a compliment! I was struggling to find my artistic center and had poured turpentine on an oil painting (still wet and workable) and saved the results.

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18924 Hits
JUL
27

Color Infringement: Microsoft vs. Google

Chrome vs Windows color logo

Lawyers for Microsoft, Inc. have filed a lawsuit against Google, claiming the company's new Chrome OS color scheme infringes on the Windows logo color scheme.

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70078 Hits
JUL
17

Changing the Colors of GM's Logo

GM Logo

It was rumored that GM may consider changing the color of its logo from blue to green when it emerged from bankruptcy. Apparently, that’s not going to happen.

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100550 Hits
JUL
10

Hues that cry for freedom

Hues that cry for freedom

colors of revolution 

Green is the color that is still at the forefront of demonstrations in Iran and across the world in protest of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's controversial victory in June's presidential elections.

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34024 Hits
JUN
25

A new identity for green

Green protest Iran

Green has emerged as the color of protest in Iran. The pictures describe more than any words in this blog. (Note: Green is the signature color of Mir Hossain Mousavi, the main rival of President Ahmadinejad in the Iranian elections.)

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20567 Hits
JUN
11

Color Hall of Shame: The Tragic State of Research on Color Effects

Thirty years of research on individual reactions to colors in the environment has produced contradictory findings. Some research has concluded that people who can "screen out" irrelevant information in their environment are not easily stressed out (or aroused) by warm colors such as pale orange walls, whereas "low-screeners" are more aroused by the same orange walls.

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19691 Hits
MAY
26

A Close Encounter with Yellow

yellow-dress-bus

I usually don’t write about my personal experiences with color but a recent encounter with a startling yellow dress is worth the space on this blog. In fact, the dress was such a bright yellow that I felt like kids might try to ride me to school. Okay, it’s a cliche, but school bus yellow is a color that can really be too overwhelming for my fair coloring. Soft creamy banana yellow is okay, but not mango yellow.

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19366 Hits
MAY
18

Dyeing for Color

dye-lawn

Restoring Color to Dead Lawns of Abandoned Homes

Foreclosed homes with dead, brown lawns can be found in just about every neighborhood these days. Apparently a business in California is waving a magic wand of green paint over the lawns and dressing up the properties. The water-based paint is chemical free and includes flower-based pigments.

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41174 Hits
MAY
08

Where the Oceans Meet the Mountains

WindStorm mountains and waves 

It’s green but it seems blue. Or does it? The Storm King Wavefield is a permanent installation by Maya Lin in Mountainville, N.Y. Seven parallel rows of rolling, swelling peaks on 11 acres were inspired by the forms of midocean waves but echo the mountains and hills around them. It’s made of natural materials: dirt and grass.

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30549 Hits
APR
27

Finding Color in a Parking Garage

ft worth-park 

Every once in a while you find an example of architectural color that goes beyond the blah beigeness of contemporary design. This time, it’s a Public Art project in Fort Worth, Texas.

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24716 Hits
APR
14

Is Black Green?

black-good-badBlack was the center of two disputes about its eco-friendliness. In one black was perhaps good; in the other, bad. You can be the color judge.

Good Black

The first case was Google’s "Blackle" - an alternative to Google's white page - that would save 3000MWh per year. Others claimed that "While it may be true that a CRT monitor uses 15 watts less with the black screen, only 25% of the world's monitors are CRT." Some others put this to a test of 27 monitors ("The Final Test") and found that LCD monitors with a size 22-inches or less, all showed an increase in power consumption using Blackle. Beyond the 22-inch mark however, five of the six models showed a fractional decrease in power consumption when using Blackle.

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25084 Hits
MAR
30

The Evolution of Color Symbolism

yellow-3-blog

Our responses to color are inherited and learned. My experiences in Pakistan reconfirmed the reality of both universal color symbolism (timeless) and all the other kinds of meanings that evolve over time (religious, geographic, political, gender-based, etc.)

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25547 Hits
JAN
20

Color Trends in 2009


The Color of the Year 2009
Thursday, January 01, 2009

2009 Color Wheel

 
Although the color czars are dictating the color that a specific color will be "THE COLOR of 2009" (come back to this blog in a few days for details), we suggest a color bailout. Or maybe we should call a moratorium on all trends. The last thing we need as we enter a new year challenged by severe economic and environmental realities is a color that will promote us to consume more. Isn’t that what any trend evokes?

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22612 Hits
JAN
09

Color in Pakistan

Color: Bringing the World Closer Together
Tuesday, January 27, 2009

haw pak map-72 

During the past decade on the Internet, I’ve realized that color is an experience that we all share regardless of politics, religion, geography, age, or gender. Over 6 billion people are on the planet – and we are all immersed in a color soaked world.

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77886 Hits
DEC
30

December 2008

Blue is the car color of tomorrow
Monday, December 01, 2008

blue car shoes
 

It’s blue again! It’s the favorite color of people all around the globe and even though we may adore it and wear it, how many people want a "true blue" car?

Automotive paint supplier PPG Industries Inc. issued its annual forecast and predicts that blues (particularly more vibrant, richer, complex blues) will take on a more important role in car styling.

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48348 Hits
OCT
31

Fall 2008

Better than Autumn Leaves?
September 1, 2008

Purple Lake


Here’s an environmental delight for the eyes and maybe an itinerary for a colorful vacation:

The 25 Most Colorful Lakes on Earth

It includes photos and information about:
1. Turquoise and Blue Lakes
2. Green and Yellow Lakes
3. Purple and Red Lakes
4. Sunset Lakes

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  25201 Hits
25201 Hits
APR
21

Blog 2008 -Part 2


Here are some Blog entries from April - June,  2008

See the Blog Menu at the left for a full list of all the blog articles.

Blog Archives 2: April - May  2008

Gagging on Green?
April 6, 2008

With the arrival of spring in the Northern Hemisphere, delicate and dramatic shades of green are everywhere. This reinforces our awareness of the environment and the latest news about "green" (ecologically beneficial) products and efforts. It almost seems that any opposition to the color green could be deemed anti-earth. Just for the fun of it, let's put this on pause and play with the unappetizing attributes of green. For example, "split pea" green can sicken the viewer. Bright green may be acceptable as Astroturf, but what about green as in "sleazy motel carpet"? Just for the record, green (with a yellowish cast) is not a good color in situations where motion sickness can occur such as the interiors of passenger trains, planes, and boats.

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157420 Hits
JAN
01

Blog 2008 -Part 1

Here are several Blog entries from 2008

Blog Archives 1: January - March 2008

When is a Color Hideous?
February 26, 2008

Yes, we all have strong feelings about color. When American Idol's Simon declared that contestant Chikezie's orange suit was hideous, I was shocked. I've never heard anyone declare a color "hideous" - and even more appalling, it was said in front of an audience of 29 million people. In the days that followed, I began to think about the larger issues: Why does a color work and why doesn't it work? Is it really all about personal reactions and color stereotypes - or is there more to it than meets the eye?

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86377 Hits
SEP
01

Blog 2007

Here are two archived Blog entries from 2007

Global Color Matters - Yellow

alt

 

Color-coded ribbons show our support for a wide range of causes. For example, the yellow ribbon demonstrates support for troops in the U.S. It's also used for suicide prevention, adoptive parents, bladder cancer, spina bifida, and amber alerts.

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