Visible light

ROYGBIV: Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet. (The colours of the rainbow).

Light is colourless until it enters our eyes. Colour is constructed in our brain when the cones in our eye sense light as long, medium or short wavelengths. The brain then interprets each wavelength as a colour (across billions of variations): reds (low frequency long wavelengths), greens (medium frequency medium wavelengths) and blues (high frequency short wavelengths). (Eckstut, p.17).

Reds, Oranges and yellows

Reds, oranges and yellows have a low energy and heighten the physical senses and stimulate action.

Greens

Restful greens have a medium energy and balance the physical (reds) and cerebral (blues) bringing body and mind into harmony.

Blues, Indigo and Violet

The shorter frequency cerebral blues are high energy. Blues offer the space to think and to focus the mind.

Interpretation

How humans experience colour is historically rooted in evolution and survival, e.g. what to eat, what to attract or fear and through learnt cultural observations such as in education, social conventions, fashion and art.

The almond shapes that make up the deisgn are created by intersecting circles, designed in harmonic proportions to the whole. The almond shape (mandorla) has been used by geometers, architects and artists throughout history as an archetypal symbol of transformation or transcendence between the material and the spiritual (matter and energy).

The design splits colour by the energy frequency (high, medium, low) of a wavelength of light and how the eye interprets that light as either red, green or blue (RGB). Ultimately, It’s up to the viewer or user to determine their own subjective experience of how they interact with each colour, and indeed, all colours.

Image Credits, Wendy Corbett, designed using illustrator.

References

Eckstut, J. and Eckstut A. (2013), The Secret Language of Colour, New York: Blackdog and Leventhal Publishers,  p.17.

Bibliography

Albers, J. (2013) Interaction of Colour, 50th Anniversary Edition. 4th edn. Yale University Press.

Birren, F. (1987) Creative Colour. Schiffer Publishing Ltd.

Birren, F. (1978) Colour and Human Response. Canada: John Wiley & Sons.

Birren, F. (1963) Colour, A Survey in Words and Pictures; From ancient mysticism to modern science. Secaucus, NJ: Citadel Press.

Birren, F. (1961) Colour Psychology and Colour Therapy: The factual study of the influence of colour on human life. 2016 edn. Pickle Partners Publishing.

Gage, J. (1999) Colour and Meaning, Art, Science and Symbolism. London: Thames and Hudson.

Itten, J. &Birren, F. (1971) The Elements of Colour. Germany: Van Rostrand Rheinhold Company.

Olsen, S. (2009). The Golden Section. Nature’s Greatest Secret. Glastonbury, UK: Wooden Books Ltd.

Park, D. (1997) The Fire Within The Eye, A historical essay on the nature and meaning of light. Princeton University Press.

Saussaure, J. de (2008) Basic Colour, A Practical Handbook. London: A&C Black Publishers Ltd.

Schneider, M. (1994)  A Beginner’s Guide to Constructing The Universe, The mathematical archetypes of nature, art and science. New York: Harper Perennial.