Among the Web Exclusive features this month we have the PPG auto color trend report and also a report from the Paint Quality Institute on architectural color trends. I quote from the latter: “Color trends for 2010 take inspiration from a variety of social and economic influences. In addition, living space personalization continues to act as a driver for color change, with accent walls or niche areas appropriate for small doses of high-impact, bold color, while using more subtle hues on broad wall areas.”
I don’t know about you, but for me color is such a fun and fascinating subject. I love colors and am constantly in awe of the beauty of the color in nature. Color is a difficult subject to talk about, since color – not the scientific measurement of – is a matter of perception and subjective evaluation. Four people can look at the same apple and describe the color red quite differently. And the words we use to describe the basic colors often change over time as well – we have rose, crimson, vermillion, scarlet, etc. Or we can say something is bright red – but what does bright red mean? My image of bright red might be quite different from yours. It used to signify fire engine red to me and then many municipalities changed to using trucks in shades of yellow.
Another fascinating aspect of color is the psychology of color. Why are some colors knows as warm colors that evoke certain emotions, while the so-called cool colors evoke other emotions? How can anyone really say what color will evoke what emotion in me as an individual? Some cultures practice chromotherapy – using color to heal. And in some cultures certain colors have great cultural or religious significance. Wikipedia notes that the Red Cross changed its standard red and white color to green and white in some global areas because of the significance of the color red culturally.
Why do judges typically wear black robes, and brides and medical personnel white coats? We look for beautiful blues in the sky, oceans and lakes and have associated green with the environment. Green chemistry for a safer environment. Did we pick green because of the grass or leaves? Why are people supposedly more relaxed in green rooms? They use green rooms in TV studios to help guests feel calmer.
And that brings me to green technology. For years green technology to me was a John Deere riding lawnmower. I looked up green technology on Wikipedia and this is what it said: “Environmental technology (abbreviated as envirotech) or green technology (abbreviated as greentech) or clean technology (abbreviated as cleantech) is the application of the environmental science to conserve the natural environment and resources, and to curb the negative impacts of human involvement.”
I can accept that definition. I don’t know why we chose green versus blue but that’s OK too. But then wouldn’t it make sense to have our so-called green cars be painted green? Several years ago if someone told me they bought a “green” car I would have assumed it was painted green. Now I would have no idea about the actual color. I suspect if we talk to the automotive folks or the pigment suppliers the popularity of green pigment is not increasing – so we must be using other colors to signify green.
I hope in the rest of my life that at least my green vegetables – those that are colored green like peas and green beans and broccoli – will STAY GREEN. Please Jolly Green Giant – don’t mess with those!
In the Eye of the Beholder
Darlene Brezinski, Ph.D., is the Technical Editor of PCI.