I talk about listening often. Because I think everyone could do a better job listening to each other. And today I just had the thought about listening to yourself. What I mean by that is I wonder about the folks who write articles about color – do they listen to themselves? I’ve concluded that reading your work aloud before you hit publish can be very helpful.
I have great empathy for those who search the interwebs for color information hoping to find color guidance they can trust. If someone like me who has been in the business of color for more than 20 years gets confused by what’s out there, I can only imagine how difficult it must be for those who are at the very beginning of their journey to learn more about color.
For example, I just read an article published a few years ago that offers tips for picking paint colors. Although I think “choosing” is a better word choice than “picking” there is a bigger issue, and now is not the time for splitting grammatical hairs. In the opening of the article, the author talks about color and moods. In one sentence, they claim color is of such little affect and beware of “pop” color psychology. The next sentence states that color is everywhere, and we often underestimate its power.
Color me confused.
What? I know I just read there wasn’t a definitive tie between color and moods – went back and re-read it. Yep, it says no quantitative tie between color and moods. Yet it gets better. The third sentence tells me that color is an integral design element in our homes, schools, and workplace. Wait a sec, I just got clarity on their point of view about the tie between color and moods and this third sentence contradicts what I just reaffirmed.
Color me confused again. Is there a tie between color and moods or isn’t there? Is that tie important or is it just cheap internet buzz? If I were to go by the advice offered in this article, I wouldn’t know what to think.
Call me crazy pants but I think this author does nothing but contradict herself – and that’s just the opening page.
It gets even better. One of the seven tips for picking paint color offered in the article is to think about the mood you want in the room and pick paint color accordingly; with a warning to be extra cautious of using over-stimulating bold color. Isn’t the author herself leveraging the buzz of “pop” color psychology with this tip?
I think I get it. It’s only “pop” color psychology when *someone else* writes about those kinds of topics. The rules are different for the ‘special snowflakes’ when THEY write about color, moods, emotion, and color psychology and want to offer their point of view about how to use color. Again, perhaps an opportunity to take a step back and listen to your own conversation before hitting that publish button.
In addition to listening, I also talk a lot – a whole lot – about Color Point of View. If you are a color professional, it is imperative that you have a clear color point of view that you can articulate with consistency so you don’t leave people confused about what you have to say about color.
If you are a seeker of color information feeling totally overwhelmed by confusing color talk, my advice is keep clicking links. If you stumble on one of the many confusing articles about color that exists on the interwebs, do NOT think for one minute that the problem is you – that color is somehow beyond your understanding and abilities. It is not. You are not the problem and you are perfectly capable of figuring this color thing out. Don’t give up, just keep moving.
I’ve also mentioned many times before that I’ve been sharing my color point of view on public forums for almost a decade now. I put it out there publicly for the purpose of evaluating response, reaction and to get feedback; it has been incredibly valuable. I’ve used that feedback to refine and hone my color point of view so it is more clear – not only more clear for others but for myself as well!
What I’ve learned along the way is that consistency is absolutely everything for a color professional. I am so aware of being consistent with my color point of view that I’ve developed a distinct vocabulary. I make an effort to use the same words over and over when I talk about color. Whether it’s on forums, social media, text in graphics, or in person I try to keep my color speak consistent. Sometimes it’s a challenge to find fresh ways to say the same thing over and over, but I know it’s important and the process gets easier the more I do it.
The other thing I want to say about your color point of view is that even though consistency is paramount, it’s okay to let it evolve. Get clear on your point of view when it comes to the fundamentals of color and apply heavy doses of consistency to how you speak about the basics, the fundamentals of color and theories. Beyond that, give yourself some room to grow. It’s okay to change your mind. It’s okay to make revisions to that all important color point of view.
I’ve made several revisions over the years. Metamerism is a good example. After some quality discussion with one of my forum friends who works in a color lab, I saw the light on metamerism. He ‘schooled-me-up’ on the fact that people (including me) had the concept of metamerism all wrong and it would be of benefit for me to look into color constancy. I did. I learned a lot. And I can say he was right. Metamerism was and is overused and used incorrectly and color constancy is a better fit for how the appearance of color shifts wall to wall and room to room.
Color me not confused about metamerism, added another turn to my color journey. . .
. . . and another layer to my Color Point of View.