Prof. Elio L. Arteaga VIC 3002—Visual Design for Media Module 3 Lecture Notes Color Psychology If you haven’t already done so, please visit Maria Claudia Cortes’s excellent presentation, called Color in Motion, by going to http://www.mariaclaudiacortes.com then come back and read the rest of these lecture notes. Cortes makes some important points about red in her presentation—it’s a color associated with warning or danger. Red is a very attention-getting color. As human beings, our eyes are programmed to go to the color red—the color of fire and of blood—to survive. That’s why traffic control devices (traffic lights, stop signs, cars’ tail lights, etc.) are red. Likewise, fire engines and hydrants are red to command attention. If you want to draw viewers’ attention to a headline advertising a sale, set it in red. A red rose signifies love and passion. A red Ferrari is a stylish and sexy car. Contrast means difference. Color contrast refers to colors that are very different, used together to command attention. The Constructivist artists in 1920s Russia (Aleksandr Rodchenko, El Lissitzky and others) experimented by developing high-contrast patterns of colors—black and white are the colors with the highest contrast, as black is the darkest color and white is the lightest. But red is the only color that is strong enough to contrast against both black and white. Listed below are some of the concepts symbolically attached to colors as identified by my students from previous semesters. If you can think of any others, please contribute them in a discussion form. Black—sophisticated, stylish, formal, mysterious, the color of mourning, high-tech, high- contrast (against white and red), elegant. White—simple, high-tech (as in Apple’s iPods), pure, innocent, the color of mourning (in Japan), clean, unblemished, untouched. Gray—dull, ambiguous, depressing, noncommittal, businesslike. Warm colors remind us of fire (red, orange, yellow) and appear to advance (come forward) in a visual composition. Cool colors remind us of water (blue, green, aqua) and appear to recede (go backward). Saturated colors are vibrant and intense. Their opposite are pastel colors, which are soft and muted. Earth-tones (browns and beiges)—natural. Pink (a lighter tint of red)—girly, sweet, innocent, youthful, bubble gum, sexy (although some students did not agree with this; red or black can be sexy lingerie colors, but pink is sweeter and more innocent). Metallic colors (gold, silver, bronze, copper)—prestigious.