Lend­ing color to make lives bet­ter

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - LIFE/HEALTH - By ZHANG YUE zhangyue@chi­nadaily.com.cn

The idea that color con­veys emo­tional mes­sages is gen­er­ally known, but not widely used in a prac­ti­cal way in the coun­try.

The China Acad­emy of Art is in­tro­duc­ing two books themed on color phi­los­o­phy from Ger­many that fo­cus on how peo­ple should dec­o­rate the place they live with color that will make them com­fort­able.

“China is de­vel­op­ing at such an amaz­ing pace that it also brings along po­ten­tial con­cerns and prob­lems, some­thing that will be bet­ter fixed with emo­tional care,” says Song Jian­ming, vice-pres­i­dent of the China Acad­emy of Art.

The two new books, Col­ors of Health and Care and The Color Dic­tionary, were pub­lished by the Pub­lish­ing House of Elec­tronic In­dus­try in July. The books were pro­duced by the RAL com­pany, a Ger­man-based color-stan­dard or­ga­ni­za­tion, and were pub­lished in China in both English and Chi­nese.

The books were writ­ten by Axel Venn, a pro­fes­sor for color de­sign and a world-renowned trend spot­ter.

Col­ors of Health and Care mainly fea­tures in­te­rior de­sign of places re­gard­ing health and care, such as day-care cen­ters, chil­dren’s clin­ics, nurs­ing homes for the el­derly and wel­fare houses.

“We want to in­tro­duce our phi­los­o­phy of color to China be­cause the coun­try is fit­ting into the in­ter­na­tional arena in ev­ery area,” says Wolf D. Karl, CEO and board chair­man of RAL, who was in charge of edit­ing the two books when they were pub­lished in Ger­many in 2010 and 2011.

Song says it has al­ways been dif­fi­cult to ex­press vis­ual color in­for­ma­tion through lan­guage, and China still has a lot to learn in mak­ing color phi­los­o­phy more widely used.

He says in China, the idea that color con­veys emo­tional mes­sages is mostly dis­cussed in pro­fes­sional ar­eas, but is not widely used in peo­ple’s lives.

For ex­am­ple, he says, in­te­rior de­signs of kinder­gartens are usu­ally de­signed by artists in­stead of color ex­perts. Also, pub­lic hos­pi­tals are mostly in white, a color that con­veys “des­per­a­tion”, ac­cord­ing to the new book.

“This, in turn, has led to con­fu­sion and mis­un­der­stand­ing about color, cre­at­ing dif­fi­cul­ties for color ed­u­ca­tors, schol­ars and sci­en­tists,” he says. “What’s more, it would be much bet­ter if we can have a cer­tain sys­tem in color phi­los­o­phy.”

In the book, the author is giv­ing spe­cific ex­am­ples in in­tro­duc­ing the idea that col­ors con­vey emo­tional mes­sages. For ex­am­ple, hope is al­ways as­so­ci­ated with green and love with red.

The Color Dic­tionary dis­plays the col­ors as­so­ci­ated with 360 con­cepts us­ing 49 color im­ages that were painted for each con­cept by the par­tic­i­pants. The col­ors the par­tic­i­pants chose have been trans­lated into RAL De­sign Sys­tem col­ors, as it was also nec­es­sary to present them us­ing a rec­og­nized, sci­en­tif­i­cally based color sys­tem.

“It’s true that cer­tain col­ors may con­vey dif­fer­ent emo­tions to peo­ple in the East and the West based on cul­ture dif­fer­ence,” says Song. “But by in­tro­duc­ing the book to China, this is a start where we can learn from Western coun­tries and then adapt th­ese ideas based on our own cul­ture.”


Col­ors of Health and Care gives spe­cific ex­am­ples of the wise us­age of col­ors in in­te­rior de­sign in hos­pi­tals and clin­ics. For ex­am­ple, the color green may bring peace and calm to vis­i­tors.

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