- Colour, even more than drawing, is a means of liberation (Matisse)
- Colour must be thought, imagined, dreamed (Gustave Moreau 1893)
- Colour is like a closing eyelid, a tiny fainting spell (Roland Barthes)
- Colour precedes words and antedates civilisation (Leonard Shalin)
- Colour cannot stand alone (Wassily Kandinsky)
- Colour deceives continuously (Josef Albers)
- Colour is an illusion, but not an unfounded illusion (C L Hardin)
- Colour is accidental and has nothing in common with the innermost essence of the thing (Naum Gabo and Anton Pevsner)
Physiologically colour is a sensation of light that is transmitted to the brain through the eye. Tiny differences in wavelengths are processed by the brain into a myriad nuances of colour that convey meaning. Because each of us is unique – our eye/brain reactions and cultural experiences differ – we can only talk in terms of generalisations.
Colour involves three components:
- a viewer
- an object
and can be said to work on 3 levels:
Visual: the objective process as light bounces off objects and is transmitted to the eye
Expressive: emotional level as the brain reacts instinctively to interprete the significance of the light signals it receives, evoking sensations that are ‘hard-wired’ by evolution, but also often subjective depending on individual physiology and involving non-visual effects
Symbolic: The cultural level, where the brain associates certain colours and combinations with culturally specific experiences and meanings that have been learned.
In Book Design a fourth element is inevitably involved: how to ensure colour consistency when translating designs into print and/or e-dissemination.
(to be done)