Saturday, April 19, 2014

Color Theory or Color Instinct or better having both to choose Colors for Design?

Now and then I come across this discussion in Color related Internet Forums:

- Are you supposed to be a better Color Expert if you follow Color Theory or is this for newbies? 
- Star Consultants are those who have a special sense for Color which is a kind of gift that makes them special and unique?

I was taught that you can create Color Harmonies either by instinct either by knowledge of how Color Harmonies can be created based on relationships established among Colors according to their position in the Color Wheel. I never was taught "this is better than that" and honestly feel annoyed when I realize there are people in the net discrediting the knowledge of Color Theory as if it even could be dangerous to be taken into account!

My own and personal position is you should never be rigid on these questions. Of course if you want to Consult on Color you should have an Artistic background and a practice as an artist, even if you aren't a first line one -which is rather difficult by the way, because not all of us have been born geniuses. You should know how to create your colors out from the three primaries and with the help of white, and according to my special art teacher Marina Berdalet, black should be avoided as much as possible.

I always take into account Color Relationships and Theory when painting a canvas and trying to reach that special tint, tone or shade. And I take into account Color Theory and what I was taught about creating Color Atmospheres in an Interior Design, while listening to my Color Instinct. Graphic Designers pick colors for their creations according to Color Theory and also follow their sense of Color - I think of wallpapers and textiles. You cannot assign colors to them only based in your instinct: you'll probably apply one of the known relationships and probably will adjust to coming Color Trends.

Color Theory must be well known and isn't that easy. I don't believe anything just because I've been told this or that. In fact, I've been studying hard theorists like Faber Birren, who based his knowledge in his factual experience contrasted with many scientific studies conducted during the XX th. Century. He cited many of the latter in his books and referred them in his bibliography. You can have Color Sense but if you want to devote to Color or are simply interested in the subject, you should try to learn as much theory as you can. If you follow the rules in a simplistic way, of course you can reach odd results. But the same can happen if you follow your instinct alone. So my recommendation and my believe is that you should cultivate yourself in both the artistic side and the theoretical one.

About Color Systems, there is no magic in them, as Lori Sawaya explains wonderfully in an article of hers at The Land of Color. Be it the Munsell System, be it The NCS (Natural Color System), the Color Expert knows what the Notation means and that lets him or her do a right job  when picking Colors.

Colors like "Bright Garnet", "Romanesque"  and "Exotic Bloom" have their own notation according to the Munsell System. Same happens with NCS, the official reference for Paint Colors in Spain.

In NCS they explain it with this example:

If you pick NCS S 1070-Y10R from the NCS 1950 Color fan deck, this means that this color 

"is included in the standard collection (S) and lies in between the yellow (Y) and red (R) colour span with:
  • 10% perceived red (the remaining 90% going towards yellow)
  • 10% perceived Blackness
  • 70% perceived Chromaticness
This means the colour looks like a quite strong yellow." (font)
Lori Sawaya, who has a deep knowledge of Color and Color Technology, explains it this way:
This doesn't mean that being a Color Consultant is quite easy. This means that there is a lot of Theory, Knowledge, Science and a System behind Paint Brands and fan decks, and behind any Design that needs Color as a Key Element. This is not about a magic gift that belongs to a few selected individuals only. If you understand the notation, you know about the Overtone and you know about the Undertone. As Picasso said, let Inspiration meet you while Working. You need to study hard, and you need to practice in as different ways as you can. This is my own belief and what I will always defend.
In the video that follows, Lori Sawaya, whose knowledge I admire, gives you 20 minutes of worthy explanations on how to use Color Theory and Color Wheels to help you choose colors for your works. And she doesn't avoid the difficult sides of the questions. I hope you will enjoy it.

And remember, if you need help with Color, look for an Expert that you trust. And remember, there is a lot of work behind the creation of a Color Palette.

Isabel de Yzaguirre,
La Colorista

Monday, December 23, 2013

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Colours by Culture, an infographic.

Shared today in Google+ by Lori Sawaya, from The Land of Color, I picked this interesting infographic which showcases prefectly how colours have different meanings according to different cultures. This should be carefully taken in account for designers and corporations when creating new products, specially when dealing with clients that come from a culture other than ours. The image comes from Top Web Design Schools. Enjoy! 

Colors by Culture

Isabel de Yzaguirre,
La Colorista

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Colours and design in Feng Shui, the infographic.

Today I'm pleased to introuduce  a host post by writer and marketer Marcela de Vivo, who has created a wonderful infographic on Feng Shui. It summarizes awsomely this ancient art, that implies Colour and Design of the Home, while presenting some helpful advice aimed at avoiding troublesome issues in each area of it. Le'ts see what Marcela has to explain to us on this interesting topic:

"As Asian culture continues to gain popularity within western cultures, so does the ancient 3000-year old Chinese method of creating a harmonious environment, which is more commonly known as Feng Shui. When it is literally translated, Feng Shui means "wind and water," which is designed to promote vibrant health, wealth and overall well-being; however, the benefits will vary depending upon how well the energy, or "Qi," flows throughout the room, home, building or garden. For example, a Feng Shui home office requires an active, vibrant energy for increased success, while a bedroom will need a soft, sensual energy. In order to achieve these desired energies, you will need to follow the basic principles of Feng Shui  which are shown in the infographic provided by Soothing Walls below. Once you have defined the bagua (the energy map of your home), you can then begin to determine what colors you will use in each room and how to represent each of the five elements (fire, water, earth, metal and wood). While this may seem like too much to handle all at once, achieving a Feng Shui design for your home is fairly simple. The element of water, for instance, can be represented by adding decor pieces in various shades of blue, images of moving water, or having a small indoor fountain. Whether your focus is wealth, romance or good luck, the principles of feng shui can help bring the right energies into your home for whatever you desire."

I hope you have enjoyed this post and that it may be useful to you in some way or other. I'm not a Feng Shui expert but have read much on that subject, which has always been of my interest, and can consider it if you want it applied to your Home Design. For that, you can always contact me. Thank you so much to Marcela and best wishes to you!

Isabel de Yzaguirre,
La Colorista.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Colour Trends in the first half of the year.

According to what Tamsin Kingswell says in Mix Trends Newsletter, which  I'm subscribed to, the Summer is a good time to make an overview of colour trends as seen in the first half of the year.

In Tamsin's words, "So far we’ve noticed metallics broadening out to include all things shiny (much on show at DMY), a romance with clear materials or those with just a hint of a tint and our love affair with green going ever deeper into the forest with a lovely, almost Loden-like shade. And we still don’t seem to have shaken off the collective passion for pastels and neons although at Mix our enthusiasm is waning fast. Instead we are waiting for a move towards darker, more sober colours that counterbalance all that candyfloss knocking about at the moment. "

From what I've seen in the streets here in the small Barcelona's area village where I live, I can confirm the love of pastels and neons among people, together with emerald green and floral colors such as pink, red and sunny yellow.

Cal Gavi, Moià (Barcelona).
Photo credits and colour  palette by
(c)-Isabel de Yzaguirre Maura, 2013.

Cal Gavi, Moià (Barcelona).
Photo credits and colour  palette by
(c)-Isabel de Yzaguirre Maura, 2013.

Cal Gavi, Moià (Barcelona).
Photo credits and colour  palette by
(c)-Isabel de Yzaguirre Maura, 2013.

I hope you have enjoyed this report. And if you need color help, just contact me, I'm here to help you!
Isabel de Yzaguirre,
La Colorista.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Vividly Colored Chairs: guest post by Mari from Arcadian Home

About a year ago, I published a guest post on "Decorating with Floral Art",by Arcadian Home. Today I'm very pleased to host AH again with a post on Vividly Colored Chairs, which suits perfectly my love of Color!
Isabel de Yzaguirre,
La Colorista.

Hello, lovely readers! 
I'm from Arcadian Home blog which is a wonderful place for home decor inspirations. There you will find lots of great creative ideas for everything from decorative trays to big wall art and much more. Today, we're going to talk about one of my favorite pieces of furniture. I love all things related to home interiors, but chairs are at the top of my list of furniture obsessions. I am especially fond of colorful chairs, so that's what this little visual tour is all about. Please enjoy! Thanks for letting me stop by to share. ~ Mari 

  Vivid Color Chair 

Cheerful and very colorful flowers of all sorts cover these simple dining chairs in a beautiful eat-in kitchen.

  Vivid Color Chair 

A trio of vividly colored chairs plus one in pure white look charming around a Tulip table. I love how each chair picks up color from around the room. A modern pendant light in brushed metal hangs above the table.

  Vivid Color Chair 

These chairs made of pale wood are quite beautiful with their array of colorful backs and seats. The vintage rug pulls all the colors together nicely.

  Vivid Color Chair 

This restored and colorfully upholstered antique chair is one of the myriad of choices offered by online seller Couch. What a cool name! Each piece is re-covered by hand in the most amazing fabrics.

  Vivid Color Chair 

A tiny breakfast nook is bright and cheerful with colorful chairs and window seat. What a wonderful mix of color and pattern—from Mexican Suzani in red and white to a great green and white geometric, they're just perfect.

  Vivid Color Chair 

This brilliant pink rocker is at once comfortable and beautiful—just right for mom or dad in baby's first room. Who knew how companionable ornate mini pendant lighting and bright yellow floor lamps could be?

  Vivid Color Chair 

This elegant armchair in deep pink and bright orange silk is one of my favorite pieces seen in our collection 

  Vivid Color Chair

A comfy armchair in deep Merlot red is beautiful in this eclectic bath. Quirky fish wallpaper is a bit surprising, but seems made for the space. 

Images 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 

What do you think of these vividly colored chairs? Leave us your thoughts below and stop by our blog for more daily home decor, lighting, and interior inspirations!

Monday, April 1, 2013

A project come true: The Four Seasons Mural for a School's yard.

Whoever has followed me since three years ago maybe remembers a  post on a Mural Project for Josep Orriols i Roca School's yard. The School is located in Moià (Barcelona, SPAIN).

I published the project for the first time when I had been working on it for about nine month, and I had serious doubts about its being  painted because of economical crisis in Spain. But luckily parents were very willing to see it done, and to let their sons and daughters have a more colourful School, no matter what it might cost. They organized events to collect money and provided all the colours that I had specified, whith the sponsoring of our local Paints Store. 

Today I can say the mural has come to life and am offering a view of the whole process until its completion.

The initial goal was to have some of the concrete walls of the yard decorated, and we chose the one in the sight: 

La Colorista, 2010.

My project aimed at representing the colours in the natural landscapes around our village all along the Four Seasons of the Year, in the same order that we experience them since the School Term begins: from Fall to Summer. Colours were picked from photographs shot in Moià's surroundings, and the proposed design was this one:

The Four Seasons' Mural, Isabel de Yzaguirre Maura
(La Colorista),2011.

Netx step was to translate digitally picked colours to NCS notation, the system used in Spain to make paint with tinting machines. I divided the mural in four parts, one for each Season, and chose the corresponding hues. I did this by ocular comparison of the colours I saw in the screen with hues in the NCS fandeck. This way, I looked for the more approximate ones.

Autumn colour palette, IdY (Isabel de Yzaguirre Maura).

Winter colour palette, IdY.

Spring colour palette, IdY.

Summer colour palette, IdY.

- And how was the mural painted?

It was done in the end of october, in 2012's Fall. The School Major's Team transferred the design to the wall, thought of an easy notation system so everyone knew which colour to paint, and assigned a part of the mural to each Class in the School. Previously, parents had primed the concrete wall.

Eldest pupils painted the higher part of the mural, with the help of their teachers and small platforms. And children in Infants School painted the lower parts. They all painted the first layer of the mural.

Hands to work!

Work in progress.

Volunteer dads and moms painted the mural's second layer, on a Saturday's morning.

The graphic guide.

The final touches.

Signing for posterity, 2012-13.

The very moment when the Four Seasons mural was finished.

The Official Opening, with all the pupils and teachers, and with the good company of the School's Giants, Xot and Fura.

Here you can see how alive and cheerful look the mural colours in a snowy day:

Notice how the colour of snow is matched in the mural, as well as the blue of the sky.

In a personal way, to see this project done makes me feel very happy. It meant uncountable hours of work that now have turned out into great satisfaction. I think it has been worth all the efforts made.

Pupils and parents were very happy making it possible, and the mural has become a symbol of the School. But I will explain that in a next and shorter post.

Until then, be well and fill your life with colour!

Isabel de Yzaguirre,
La Colorista.