Colors have layers of meaning and effect upon us. Color is very subjective in interior design. Due to our personal preference and/or cultural background, color evokes one reaction in one person and a different reaction in someone else. Color theory as a science itself studies how colors affect different people, either individually or as a group. Simple compilation of color + culture could equal to a complete success or a irrevocable disaster. For instance, let’s take a look at cultural definitions of green in different parts of the world. In Eastern and Asian cultures, green color is a color of nature and new life. In Middle Eastern countries, green color has a strong association with strength, fertility and wealth. For Latin America, green is a color of death. So if you are about to design a grocery store in Mexico, green should not be the color of your choice. Therefore the knowledge of color theory is important. Cultural predisposition is vital. The blog will introduce you to both. Stay tuned! But in the meantime, the history of color theory is on the agenda. It was originally formulated in 18th century in terms of three “primary” colors. There colors became foundation for two main documents of the century: “The Theory of Colours” (1810) by the German poet and government minister Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, and “The Law of Simultaneous Color Contrast” (1839) by French chemist Michael Eugene Chevreul. 19th century brought new establishments – the color perception is best described in terms of a different set of primary color modeled through the additive mixture of three monochromatic lights. For much of the 19th century artistic color theory either lagged behind scientific understanding or was augmented by science books written for the lay public, in particular Modern Chromatics (1879) by the American physicist Ogden Rood, and early color atlases developed by Albert Munsell (Munsell Book of Color, 1915, see Munsell Color System) and Wilhelm Ostwald (Color Atlas, 1919).
Contemporary color theory must address the expanded range of media created by digital media and print management systems, which substantially expand the range of imaging systems and viewing contexts in which color can be used. These applications are areas of intensive research, much of it proprietary; artistic color theory has little to say about these complex new opportunities. Color is major in our lives and to know more about it is a must for those who work with it on a daily basis.