Monday, November 15, 2010

The Shock of Color 3: Yellow

First, let's get this out of the way: The smiley face. To contemporary consciousness, an object that's done more to torture the image of happiness from yellow than anything else. Yellow's associations with flowering spring, youth, life-giving sun, etc, etc, not withstanding, that crude yellow visage has been inescapably branded into our front brains with a red hot poker. Across all cultures, generations, and geography and probably only slightly behind the crucifix, yin and yang, and the crescent moon as one of our most potently iconic universal images.

The use of smiley faces as weapons of marketing aside, optically, we receive color as stimulants. Yellow comes to us as a forceful nerve tonic, energizing and invigorating. Yellow is the vibrant symbol of life, described as the climax of luminosity. It produces joy and gaiety. Wow. Who couldn't use more of that?

Because of its power, yellow can work on scales small and large, as table accent in a dining room or a color wash on exterior expanse.

Effective as muted and reflective;

Or on the periphery acting with a balancing impact.

In a forest of blue, red, orange, and green, yellow stands alone.

Below, yellow-orange whispers out of interior windows mixing with the waning sky blues and deep grass greens of dusk.

Or, as below, yellow can go big as this office in Copenhagen demonstrates: A ceiling-to-floor flaming arrow to be fired into the otherwise half-awake retinas of office worker bees. It's the picture of the buzzing hive where even the walls are caffeinated.

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