Colour is an important aspect of design in our society, reflecting our desire to rejuvenate and revitalize both our working and personal spaces.
The Pantone system of colour preferred by many professionals in the art and design industry, is used extensively and its use certainly has consequences for everyone because we are affected a great deal by both our first and lasting impressions,
Annually the Pantone Institute choose a ‘symbolic’ colour selection, one that is always fashionable and up to the minute. It provides a snapshot on our contemporary world, embracing the mood of our time and above all the current societal attitude.
In 2018 that colour of choice is ‘Ultra Violet’ and Deputy Editor Belinda McDowall and I are in seventh heaven, shades of purple being an all-time favourite colour range for us both.
Historically the colour purple has been associated with the supernatural, higher intelligence, dignity, royalty and since Roman times, with luxury. Violet is at the end of the rainbow spectrum and its symbolism is far more significant and interesting that that of any other colour/
If I asked everyone to consider what you believe the art of fine living to be the answer for each of you would be different, dependent on your age and life experience. However it would always consider the use of colour.
My generation in particular identifies with the swinging seventies, when brown, orange, lime green and lipstick pink dominated the contemporary scene.
Ultra violet in the early 21st century is high energy visible light and meant to “… communicate originality, ingenuity, and visionary thinking, pointing us towards the future,” said Leatrice Eiseman, Pantone’s executive director.
As we advance our society the colours chosen represent how we care for, and about the environment. Colour developers today seek to ensure sustainability is at the forefront of technology when developing new paint colours for designers and the population’s consideration.
The idea of an aesthetic was established as a field of study by German philosophers during the eighteenth century when they began to consider beauty, taste and transcendence as aspects of the sublime.
Beautiful art meant pleasing images to the eye, while on the other hand sublime images were awe-inspiring. Scenes from nature; mountainscapes, the dazzling sea, or light shining through forested trees produced an experience of the sublime.
During the nineteenth century rooms, complete with colour, texture and appointment of furniture, as described by Jane Austen often in her novels, presented an image of her society’s sublime world from the socially competitive atmosphere of London’s elegant drawing rooms to that of the spa town of Bath.
Guests were seated on chairs the prototype found in wall paintings at Pompeii and women’s dresses emulated the ladies of classical Greece and Rome, although here some went too far. Wetting them to appear like the goddesses recorded in sculpture and on Greek temples, meant many young women succumbed to pneumonia… with death preferable to not being an aspect of a fashionable scene.
Thank heavens today attitudes have changed.
During the twenty first century, overall design has become thoughtful and mature, far less fussy yet not minimalist. Colours used now provide a subtle highlight or are meant to balance architectural design features.
Colour’s power to lift the human psyche is well recognised and a key driver along with growing consumer demand for choice towards greater colour use in all areas of art, fashion and design.
Advancements in technology have led to new-sophisticated ways of producing colour expanding the range of colour options for many products where once just one colour choice was the norm.
Colour for us in fashion is able to reflect a sense of warmth or alternatively, coolness dependent on its hue. It can raise our spirits and provide a sense of calm.
Its opposites on the colour wheel are complimentary and the colour that goes so well with Ultra Violet is last year’s favourite, Greenery.
Ultra Violet also reminds us of the Cosmos and its ability to intrigue; the vast limitless night sky, offering us an opportunity to think beyond what the eye can see.
Carolyn McDowall, The Culture Concept Circle, 2017