Colour: psychology, storytelling and ownership

I am one of those people who is extremely affected by and drawn to colour. Yet I think I’ve only become aware of this recently through exploring my own creative practice and reflecting on how I experience art.

This week, from various sources, I’ve stumbled on some fascinating explorations of colour that delve into people’s relationships with colour, how colour can be used in storytelling and whether it’s possible to own a colour.

What is colour?

“colour is a gift that humans have been given from nature”
Stuart Semple

I’m getting back into listening to podcasts but I’ve changed my approach to them. Rather than subscribing and feeling overwhelmed by the mountains of unplayed episodes stacking up, I’ve started following recommendations and downloading single episodes in isolation based on my current mood and interests. This led me to an episode of the It’s Nice That podcast on colour. Our hosts, Alex Bec and Will Hudson discuss how people respond to different colours with colour psychologist, Angela Wright and get an insight into how brands choose colours with Laurie Pressman, the vice president of Pantone. The part that most interested me is the interview with artist Stuart Semple, who famously got into a feud with Anish Kapoor over the ownership of colour. After listening to the podcast, it’s well worth finding out more about the feud from Stuart himself.

Colour in film

One of my favourite websites for discovering new things is Open Culture. This week they led me to discover a series of videos on storytelling by Lewis Bond. I started by watching Colour in Storytelling which looks at the different ways in which filmmakers through have used colour to tell their stories. After watching the video below, it’s worth going back to your favourite films and paying closer attention to the film’s colour palette.

Speaking of colour palettes, I also came across a brilliant colour-related Twitter account this week. Cinema Palettes tweets the colour palettes of iconic and recent films. It’s a joy for cinephiles and colour enthusiasts alike. And if you’re both, well, it’s heaven.

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I am a freelance writer, editor and trainer. A librarian in a former life.

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