Our Coverings 2015 Speaker Blog Series kicks off with a guest post from Feras Irikat, Design and Marketing Director for Lunada Bay Tile.
“Why do two colors, put one next to the other, sing? Can one really explain this? No.” —Pablo Picasso
Good question, Pablo. While the question is easy enough to understand, coming up with a complete and comprehensive answer is less so. Part of the difficulty lies in the human reaction to color, which comprises both emotional and biological factors. Although science can explain and predict our biological reaction to certain colors, it can never predict our emotional response, which varies from one person to the next.
It’s a fact that no two humans view and react to a single color the exact same way. Catalan artist Joan Miró once said, “I try to apply colors like words that shape poems, like notes that shape music.” The comparison to music is apt. Consider each color you work with as a musical note. How every note follows the one before will have an impact on whether the final composition will sound like a masterpiece or just noise. Always keep in mind that a color can only be judged and evaluated in relationship to other colors. There are no bad colors. What makes a color unpleasant is the combination of colors or the palette in which it appears
“Harmony” is a word designers often use when working to create a color palette. But to create harmony, we must ask how colors enhance and support each other. Here, the concept of DNA, used to determine genetic relationships between humans, can be helpful. Breaking down colors to their “DNA structure” will enable you to better determine if they share a common denominator and whether they can be combined to build a harmonious color palette. Yes, you can choose a wonderful color for a kitchen or bath project, but its appeal is actually second in importance to its primary color DNA, or its undertone. To understand undertone, think back to first-grade art class, where we learned that all color pigments are made up of three primary colors: red, blue and yellow.
The primaries are the “founding fathers” of all 250 million pigments the human eye is capable of recognizing—another proven scientific fact. All colors have an undertone, which is a variation of either the founding father yellow or the founding father blue. For example, green is never simply green: It’s green with a blue undertone or green with a yellow undertone. Moreover, blue-green will harmoniously sing among other colors with a blue undertone and vice versa.
Designer David Hicks once said, “The truth is that clashing colors do not exist; the whole idea of certain colors conflicting violently with others was nonsense dreamed up by a lot of genteel women in the 1930s. Colors do not clash—they vibrate.”
Colors that vibrate share very few or no “DNA strands” and, as a result, will fight for attention. This doesn’t mean, however, that the colors won’t work together or that they’ll look bad together, It simply means that they lack the common DNA strands to create a visual transition and thus aid the eye in viewing both or even more colors in one instant.
Join Feras Irikat at his session “Color Theory and its Application,” on Wednesday, April 15 from 10:30 AM-11:30 AM at the Orange County Convention Center during Coverings 2015 to learn more about how light, vision and texture affect the design environment and how to harness those tools to design beautiful spaces. Click here to view the full list of Coverings 2015 conference sessions. Don’t miss this session – register now to attend for free!