Sorry Mr. Roger Black, but we like colours.
February 16, 2005 1:09 AM   Subscribe

Colour Rules of Thumb is a simple yet effective guide to the non black, white and red world. [via 43 Folders]
posted by riffola (13 comments total)
Thanks for this. I've always been a bit confused by color combinations and this lays it all out nicely.
posted by LeeJay at 1:15 AM on February 16, 2005

Merlin is gonna have a bird when he sees this. It was via 43folders not 43 things. The link points to the right place but the text is wrong.
posted by fixedgear at 1:57 AM on February 16, 2005

Darn, that's what I get for posting at 4:00 AM, shoot I'm sorry! Matt or Jessamyn, if you see this thread, could you fix my mistake please?
posted by riffola at 2:08 AM on February 16, 2005

Now that is best of the web. Thanks.
posted by caddis at 4:03 AM on February 16, 2005

Boy, we sounded like a bunch of jerks back then... myself included.
posted by Dean_Paxton at 5:34 AM on February 16, 2005

Not to be nitpicky, but it seems like they're more "observations about the uses of color" than "color rules of thumb." I tellyawhat, I have been picking colors for varoius clients for the last 3 weeks, and not only am I completely sick of navigating people's completely arbitary color preferences (why single one out as better than another? THey're all good, for different reasons) but I am unconvinced that color theory has anything to tell us. WHY does everyone think that pink must be associated with femininity and left-wingishness? What the fuck is up with the association with blue and RESPONSIBILITY? These have NOTHING to do with color in and of itself and everything to do with our culture. The more we lock ourselves into the symbolic associations of color, the more we deny ourselves the possibility of sensual surprise.
posted by DenOfSizer at 6:23 AM on February 16, 2005

The Color Design Rules are not very scientific or logical IMO. For example, ‘analogous’ and ‘intermediate’ combinations seem equivalent. I prefer the more scientific descriptors: Hue (frequency), Saturation (purity), and Lightness (amplitude), rather than “Intensity” and “Tint”.

Saying “White is a color without hue” is nonsense—it's equivalent to saying the ‘orchestra sound’ has no frequency. White is the eye’s response to all hues seen together. It is not “pure”, but neither are most colors we see every day, like beige or pink. So why draw a distinction?

Black is the absence of light and color—the visual equivalent of silence.
We don’t ‘see’ black, but we ‘notice’ black because of the surrounding colors, as we would ‘notice’ a second of silence in a skipping CD—we would not ‘hear’ it, because there is nothing to be heard.

More in my comment here.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 8:41 AM on February 16, 2005

weapons-grade pandemonium: We don’t ‘see’ black

Yes, we do. Within colorspace, black is a sensation just like the others. You simply borrowed the distinction in the correlated physical phenomenon (photon vs. no photon) and applied it to the psychological framework.
posted by Gyan at 9:52 AM on February 16, 2005

Obviously neurons are firing when we 'notice' blackness or silence, but color is light, and calling black a color is like calling silence a noise. Why can't you see a white piece of paper in a photographic darkroom? Why does your psychological sensation of white change? Can you tell me if the paper is there or not? If you cannot distinguish between something existing and not existing, how can you say you 'see' it?
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 10:44 AM on February 16, 2005

whoa. cool link. i had some experience with roger black at @home. he seemed like a charlatan, but ianad.
posted by mrgrimm at 12:27 PM on February 16, 2005

weapons-grade pandemonium: Why does your psychological sensation of white change?

It doesn't*. The color/object interdependency is not fundamental but depends on context, like temperature or material composition. A white paper is white only when viewed under the range of ordinary environmental conditions. In a darkroom, those conditions change and it's no longer a white paper. We call it a white paper because our default conscious interaction with the paper is in conditions where the paper is 'white'. Imagine if the labels remained the same, but you spent your life in a closed biosphere with strong red ambient light. If your only interactions with the paper were in that environment, you wouldn't call it a 'white paper', and label it an anamoly or the product of a special environment when you see it under "normal" daylight conditions.

All this is besides the point, which is, saying 'one sees black' is a description of psychological activity. After all, one doesn't say that my lamppost "sees red" when appropriate photons hit its surface. Your objection to calling black a color derives from reframing psychological descriptions as a product of physical details. Physical theories may seem robust, but are subject to change, maybe even radically, as unintuitive or unlikely it seems. Psychology is more primary.

*Not for the purposes of this discussion. Qualia constancy and memory reliability is another matter.
posted by Gyan at 1:04 PM on February 16, 2005

Yes, we see black, yes we see white. The analogy between music and colour does not work on this point, there is no 'silent' colour. However there are silent images....

Please, lets get this out of the realm of psychology. There are other ways to understand phenomena and the world other than either hard or soft sciences. Lets keep it to art - afterall that is what is used as examples here.

If you want to see an image of black try this - a famous black painting.
posted by blindsam at 10:07 AM on February 21, 2005

blindsam: The analogy between music and colour does not work on this point, there is no 'silent' colour.

Silence technically works as an analog. It's just that perfect silence is a very rare event. Unlike black.
posted by Gyan at 12:36 PM on February 21, 2005

« Older Mouth ajar   |   electronic music guide Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments