Sunday, March 09, 2008

Color Advice

I stumbled upon an excellent article giving some advice on choosing color. You can read the whole article here. Kelly, the blogs author touches upon the effects of lighting on color.

I wanted to add my own 2 cents to this topic, specifically how different types of lighting will alter a color. Fluorescent lighting imparts coldness and cool color, which is why most humans don't much care for it. We're warm creatures and gravitate towards warm environments and warm colors. A great example is how we are drawn to fire light in a fireplace or outdoor firepit.

Though the lighting movement is toward all of us switching to compact fluorescent lighting for environmental reasons, (a good thing) we need to understand how to work with this sort of lighting to make it more friendly for us warmth seekers. So, what happens to color under fluorescent lighting? The warmth gets sucked out leaving you with the cooler ingredients. A nice warm off white will lose much of it's warmer ingredient (yellow) and take on a cool blue and touches of green. If a room has predominantly fluorescent lighting you will need to compensate for this by adding more warmth to the color.

Incandescent lighting is warm and adds yellow. And Who doesn't like the warm orange red glow from firelight? Fireplaces and outdoor fire pits are natural gravitation points where we like to congregate and relax. The warm golden yellow glow from candle light is attractive, inviting and a nice mood enhancer. Likewise the soft warm hues of sunrise and sunset have garnered admirers through the ages.

I was just at the ASID Student Career Forum in San Francisco this weekend and JoeAnne Day from the Day Studios gave an excellent lecture on color, covering the effects of lighting on color and much more. She touched on all sorts of lighting including Halogen, Firelight, Incandescent, Xenon, Ultra Violet. She showed pictures of a room in her own loft/studio that she photographed at different times of the day. This illustrated the effect of natural light, via a sky light in the room, and how the color changes so dramatically with the shifting sunlight. You can try this at home and take pictures of a room in the morning, at noon and in the late afternoon. You'll see how the direction of the light source shifts the color in the room. Understanding color shifts and the effects of lighting is something your Interior Designer or Color Consultant can help you with. One of the first things I find out when consulting for someone on color is the direction of the natural light source and the types of artificial lighting used in the room. It makes a difference.