Just As A Child Is Drawn To Candy, We Are Drawn To Red

September 17, 2014 § Leave a comment

September 17, 2014

People just don’t like red-they love it. People whose favorite color is red have a zest for life; they are, quite literally “movers and shakers.” They need to be well informed, involved. Because of its psychological associations with fire, heat, blood, and danger, red is impossible to ignore and so is the person who prefers this most exciting of colors.

Does this sound like you?

Click the link to read more about red and its physiological and psychological influence on us.

BBC – Future – How the colour red warps the mind.


Vetting Color Studies: Red Plate, White Plate, Or Blue Plate Special?

January 27, 2014 § 5 Comments

January 27, 2014

I am always intrigued by trending or popular stories that are making their way around the web. I have been known to indulge in my fair share of sharing of colorful infographics and eye catching imagery, thank you, Pinterest. But once the initial glow of awe has dissipated it is then when the real work gets started.

In the color business it is crucial that information be correct when it comes to color as our upbringing and personal experiences shape our lives and perceptions of things. Often our personal feelings can override our objective behavior and we can set things into motion that may not be exactly as they appear. This is especially important in color matching when you are seeing things online versus in person. It is here that I might add the disclaimer that everything you read/see on the internet is not true.

Let’s talk specifically about the most recent color goodie from Google Alerts, that came across my computer screen titled ‘Forget the blue plate special: Have the red plate dieter’s meal’ by Tom Jacobs for Salon.com.

Are these plate studies confusing you?

Are these plate studies confusing you?

Here is an excerpt. “…the takeaway from a recent study by researchers from the University of Parma in Italy, published in the journal Appetite.

The researchers served test subjects popcorn and chips on crockery of various colors, and found that the snackers sampled smaller amounts when the items were offered on red plates. The subjects reported the same level of enjoyment of the treats regardless of what they were served on, suggesting the plate color made the difference.

The researchers theorize that red—due to either cultural associations such as traffic lights or biological ones such as blood—is linked in our minds with “danger and prohibition.” 

It sounds compelling. Let’s take a closer look at the actual study. Here is the Abstract.

“Recent literature suggests that individuals may consume less food when this is served on red plates. We explored this intriguing effect in three experiments. Independent groups of participants were presented with constant amounts of popcorns, chocolate chips, or moisturizing cream, on red, blue, or white plates. They were asked to sample the foods (by tasting them) or the cream (by rubbing it on the hand and forearm) as they wished and to complete mock “sensory analysis” questionnaires. Results confirmed that red plates reduce taste-related consumption and extended this effect to the touch-related consumption of moisturizing cream. Suggesting that the effect was not due to a decrease in the consciously experienced appeal of products on red plates, overall appreciation of the foods or cream did not differ according to plate color. After careful photometric measures of the materials used for each food-plate pairing, we determined that food and cream consumption was not predicted by Michelson (achromatic) contrast. Although the origin of the intriguing effect of the color red on consumption remains unclear, our results may prove useful to future potential explanations.”

The results were “unclear.” I wonder why that part didn’t make it into the article.

I hope none of you ran out to get those red plates. I too get excited about new studies (especially those on color) that come out but I have learned to take the extra time to trace the information back to the original study to fact check as the information has a way of getting twisted just enough to create a buzz.

We may be a nation in need of dietary assistance but preying on our insecurities and color assumptions or misinformation, is not the way to go about it. As seekers of color truths, it is our responsibility to change the color conversation to properly reflect colors’ true psychology.

From Us

December 21, 2012 § 2 Comments

December 21, 2012

HappyHollydays copy

Neanderthal Sees Red: A Love Story Of Sorts

July 25, 2012 § Leave a comment

July 25, 2012

From the beginning of time red has been deeply ingrained in the human mind as a signal to act or re-act, to fight or flee. It is the color of life-sustaining blood or life-threatening bloodshed as well as the color of enticing, appetite arousing ripened fruits and delicious foods that sustain humans’ very existence.


“In a report published online in the journal Science, Dr. Pike (Alistair W. G. Pike of the University of Bristol in England) and his colleagues noted that the oldest dated art is ‘nonfigurative and monochrome (red)’, supporting the notion that the earliest expression of art in Western Europe was less concerned with animal depiction and characterized by red dots, disks, line and hand stencils.”


Pedro Saura/Agence France-Presse – Getty Images

The most physical color in the spectrum, red suggests the very ebb and flow of life.


This post was brought to you today by the color red from my book Color: Messages & Meanings, the New York Times and the number 37,000.


With Science, New Portrait of the Cave Artist – NYTimes.com.

Bling It On! Shoe Me?

July 19, 2012 § 1 Comment

July 19, 2012

It was one week ago today that I was minutes away from starting my Color/Design class. The time went by so quickly as time really does fly when you are having fun! As always the class was filled with talented people from various markets and design areas, who all love color. I enjoy learning about all of the different fields and hearing the stories of what color means to the students.

One of the students this summer was from a well known paint company in Seattle called Shearer Painting. John Shearer himself attended the class and was a wealth of information on all things paint and social media. I learned quite a bit in talking with John, including that his wife is a fellow blogger with a passion for bling.

Hong Shearer shares her crafted creations on her blog sassyme.org. One of her most recent creations was for a friend of John’s, who wanted to give his daughter her own pair of Wizard of Oz ruby red slippers. Hong hand painted the slippers in a True Red then applied (by hand!) nearly 3000 Swarovski Hyacinth crystals in four different sizes. What a labor of love!

I am amazed at the outcome and they are stunning! Every girl needs a little bling now and then.

Thank you John and Hong for sharing this site and your knowledge with me. I look forward to reading more about your adventures in color (and crystals).

Happy 140th Birthday, Mondrian!

March 7, 2012 § Leave a comment

March 7, 2012

“Art is not made for anybody and is, at the same time, for everybody.”-Piet Mondrian


Back in 2010 I wrote a blog about Mondrian. At that time there seemed to be a resurgence of products that were inspired by his wonderfully expressive art. Today is the 140th birthday of Piet Mondrian and one that I think is worth celebrating.


Here is an excerpt of what I feel to be the reason behind our attraction to Mondrian.


We are drawn to the simplicity of the primary palette because it taps into our inner child. The basic shapes and colors together are pleasing without being overly complex.

Happy 140th Birthday, Piet Mondrian!.

What Colors Will Make Me Look Sexy?

March 1, 2012 § 1 Comment

March 1, 2012


I wrote in a previous post about a woman’s response to men in red shirts titled Why He’s So Hot where I noted that “Red is a very expressive colour, ” adding that it represents passion, love and sex. Plus, wearing this sensual hue can add a subtle flush to skin tone.”

Today, in the Huffington Post there is an article about women in red titled Red Dress Effect where they share a study out of the University of Rochester in New York state that says “Red dresses muddle men’s minds….” Color studies always fascinate me and this one got me thinking about a question I was asked many years ago, “What colors will make me look sexy?”

Below is my response from The Color Answer Book.

What one person finds appealing, another may not. However, the color that shows up most frequently on color word association tests as the sexiest shade is a vibrant Lipstick Red. It’s a sexual signal that many animals and birds use to attract the opposite sex and, interestingly, humans do as well. They flush and blush, turning red with embarrassment or sexual energy. They use cosmetic enhancements like reddish lips, nails (fingers and toes), and cheeks.

It is the color that most represents sensuality in many cultures as it is often used symbolically to broadcast availability or preparation for marriage and mating rites. The use of red as a sexual signal by primitive tribes for body painting and dyes ultimately translated to a more sophisticated use of sensuous red in modern day makeup and clothing.

Do you wear red to entice the opposite sex? Does wearing red make you feel empowered?

For more on the psychology of color you might be interested in Color: Messages and Meanings.

Red Dress Effect: Women In Red Deemed Open To Sexual Advances, Study Of Men Shows.

Red: The Emblem Of Social Responsibility

November 2, 2011 § Leave a comment

November 2, 2011

I was asked to speak at a conference on the color Red. I think you might enjoy this event— there are quite a few speakers each bringing their own perspective to the color. In my presentation Keith Recker and I will be sharing excerpts and images of the color RED throughout the 20th Century from the new book Pantone® The 20th Century in Color. I hope to see you there.

From Dior to Valentino, from Yves Saint Laurent to Lanvin, red is an expression of joy, of jubilation, of passion. In the hands of others it is—among many other things—the color of authority, of courage, and of liturgy. It is also a pre-eminent color of body ornament: red lipstick and nail polish are never out of style.

The 13th Annual New York Fashion Conference, RED, will explore the innumerable facets of this color without peer. We will consider the history of this color, and that of the materials from which it has been derived, as well as its symbolism, both as a color in and of itself and integral to patterns such as paisley and tartan. Vintage is a lens through we study this vibrant hue and the important roles it has played at all times and in all cultures; we trace these roles as well as their evolution over time. Not least, we explore the legacies of Diana Vreeland and others, for whom red was not just a color, but a signature.


Like us on Facebook and get information on early registration discounts (look for the image of the lady in RED from this post).

What’s Inside: Play-Doh

October 10, 2011 § Leave a comment

October 10, 2011

Patrick Di Justo from Wired Magazine shares some insight into a child’s toy box staple, Play-Doh. We thought it worthy of sharing especially because it mentions one of our favorite subjects and of course, that would be color.

Di Justo writes: “When introduced in 1956, Play-Doh came only in off-white. Red, blue and yellow were added in the next year, and a rainbow of other hues followed. Now it’s available in 43 colors, and all of them meet the American Society for Testing and Materials standard for nontoxicity.”

What’s Inside: Play-Doh | Magazine.

Colorfully Creepy

August 19, 2011 § 2 Comments

August 19, 2011

I know this isn’t the typical color story that we like to share but it was so visually interesting that we thought it just might work. I always thought of ants as more of a nuisance rather than backyard entertainment but Mohamed Babu has found a way to change that perception. Babu found if you have some sugar, food coloring, paraffin wax and a quick hand you have the opportunity to turn an ant swarm into an art form (of sorts).


I wonder if the ants had negative reactions to the red food coloring?

The ants whose multi-coloured abdomens show exactly what they’ve been eating | Mail Online.

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