What is better than taking in a beautiful array of color? This can happen in a natural setting, where autumn leaves are turning crisp and ocean waves rush to make whitecaps. It can also occur in an art gallery, where wall hangings mesmerize art enthusiasts, encouraging them to stop and be still.
These are examples of times when people give color their full attention. In most instances, however, color is taken for granted. People go days and even weeks without taking in the vibrancy surrounding life. How can this be? Color is everywhere.
The Complexity of Color
One possible reason people let the miracle of color pass them by is because it is so complex. Sadly, some will never truly understand how involved and deliberate color is. On the other hand, many people cannot contain their fascination; these tend to be those who dedicate their lives to pursuing the intricacies of color. A woman who does this is Jude Stewart. She is the author of Roy G. Biv – An Exceedingly Surprising Book about Color. In this book, the designer explores how there is more to color than meets the eye.
Roy G. Biv
For some time, people have been trying to fit color into the box of human understanding. This may be the reason behind the pressure that was put on Issac Newton to claim there were seven colors in a rainbow – not six.
He decreed red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet as a rainbow’s colors. Taking the first letter of each color creates the acronym Roy G. Biv. Without indigo (the color that he rushed to fit in) this helpful memorization technique could not exist.
Color is Cultural and Universal
Color exists beyond human understanding and advances human understanding at the same time. This is why people groups use color to set themselves apart. Despite efforts to be distinct, color also brings the world together.
In Roy G. Biv, Stewart explains how the concept of color differs between cultures. Across the world, people attach various meanings to colors. For instance, in Japan green is called blue. But color also has a way of bringing the world together. One example of the universality of color is how speakers of different languages list colors in a similar sequence. The widely accepted order goes black, white, red, green, yellow, blue, brown.
Ultimately, color is an earthly phenomenon that may never be totally understood. But people like Jude Stewart are going to continue trying to make sense of it all. If for nothing else, than to encourage people to stop, be still, and take in the world around them.
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