COLOR MAGIC SE­CRETS

Learn the se­cret of mak­ing col­ors work to­gether!

Crochet! - - Contents - By Darla Sims

If there is any­thing in life that is truly magic, it’s color! As ev­ery­day life seems to grow more fast- paced by the day, peo­ple of­ten go about mun­dane daily du­ties while giv­ing lit­tle thought to color. In spite of this seem­ing dis­in­ter­est, re­sponses to color are very real, can be sci­en­tif­i­cally mea­sured, and in­flu­ence many day-to- day choices, of­ten at times when color is the last thing on your mind.

Color Psy­chol­ogy

Man­u­fac­tur­ers and mer­chants spend bil­lions of dol­lars to cap­i­tal­ize on our re­sponses to color be­cause they know col­ors in­flu­ence what we buy, how much we eat, as well as how we are likely to feel and re­spond to their prod­ucts in other ways. For ex­am­ple, red is of­ten used in the decor of a fast- food restau­rant be­cause red stim­u­lates and in­creases your ap­petite, so you’ll spend more money on food when sur­rounded by red, and you’ll be sub­con­sciously dis­suaded from lin­ger­ing over the meal. Both red and yel­low catch the eye and are used on food la­bels to stand out en­tic­ingly on store shelves, mak­ing them more vis­ually ap­peal­ing to the shop­per.

When it comes to choos­ing col­ors for cloth­ing and yarn, it’s easy to be­come con­fused at the vast ar­ray of of­fer­ings in any store. Take the guess­work out of yarn choices with a small in­vest­ment in a color wheel (see Fig. 1), a pur­chase that will al­most guar­an­tee you’ll never make an­other color er­ror again! Craft stores of­fer color wheels in sizes small and flat enough to slide into most hand­bags.

Color Ba­sics

In­struc­tions in­cluded with the color wheel shown here are sim­ple and easy to grasp. To be­gin, choose a color of yarn, such as red, and then match the shade and the color num­ber on the color wheel as closely as pos­si­ble. As you ro­tate the in­ner wheel, no­tice how the sym­met­ri­cal spac­ing and cutout shapes au­to­mat­i­cally in­di­cate har­mo­nious com­bi­na­tions. For ex­am­ple, if the color value of your red is No. 4, the ar­rows on the in­ner wheel point to op­po­site and com­ple­men­tary shades to use with your red, all of which also have a value of No. 4. The more col­ors are com­bined with one an­other, the more so­phis­ti­cated and fash­ion ori­ented they be­come. In ad­di­tion, the value of a color is deep­ened when mixed with black and be­comes lighter when mixed with white. The next step/ nu­ance would be to add gray to cre­ate more hues.

Color Prop­er­ties: Value & Vis­ual Weight

In look­ing at the color val­ues shown in Fig. 2, the pri­mary col­ors of blue, yel­low and red in Tier 1 cannot be mixed from other col­ors. The sec­ondary col­ors in Tier 2 re­sult from mix­ing two pri­mary col­ors to­gether: blue + red = pur­ple; yel­low + blue = green; red + yel­low = or­ange. The ter­tiary col­ors in Tier 3 re­sult

from mix­ing one pri­mary color with one ad­ja­cent sec­ondary color: yel­low/green, blue/green, blue/pur­ple, red/pur­ple, red/or­ange and yel­low/ or­ange.

When se­lect­ing yarn col­ors, two prop­er­ties must be taken into con­sid­er­a­tion: the value of the col­ors and the vis­ual weight. The lighter the color, the less it ap­pears to weigh vis­ually, while the darker the color, the heav­ier it seems. The most eye- catch­ing color com­bi­na­tions are those that are the most op­po­site in value and weight, such as black and white, as well as other pri­mary or strong col­ors com­bined with white. These op­po­sites re­ally stand out.

The most sooth­ing com­bi­na­tions are monochro­mat­ics, but they can also be made to pop when one hue is very strong. For ex­am­ple, if you cro­chet a sweater in shades of tan, and then work the edg­ing, col­lar or rib­bing in a dark brown, the dark brown stands out and makes a strong, ap­peal­ing state­ment. The goal is to achieve vis­ual bal­ance while us­ing har­mo­nious shades. With­out a color wheel, this can be a daunt­ing, risky task.

Best Col­ors to Wear

When it comes to col­ors, those we use in home dec­o­rat­ing are not nec­es­sar­ily the most flat­ter­ing when it comes to wear­ables. The col­ors a per­son wears should com­ple­ment one’s eyes, hair and skin color­ing to be truly flat­ter­ing. Col­ors fall into two ba­sic group­ings: warm and cool. Warm col­ors have golden un­der­tones, while cool col­ors are based on blue. If your skin un­der­tone is slightly blue (cool), then warm hues such as corals, or­anges and rusts prob­a­bly shouldn’t be in your per­sonal color pal­ette be­cause they are vis­ually dis­cor­dant with your skin tone.

If your un­der­tone is warmer, cool blues and laven­ders will tend to make you look wan and washed out.

Gen­er­ally speak­ing, yel­low is the sin­gle most dif­fi­cult color to wear. If yel­low is a color you truly love, choos­ing the right shade will make all the dif­fer­ence. If your skin color­ing is warm, select a ba­nana shade that has a bit more red than lemon yel­low, which is a slightly harsher yel­low with green un­der­tones. If your skin tone is cool, then opt for yel­lows with hints of greens or blues.

If you haven’t yet dis­cov­ered the se­cret of the two eas­i­est- to- wear col­ors (re­gard­less of your own skin, hair and eye col­ors), just give turquoise and coral a try! Be­fore long, some­one is sure to say, “Wow! That is so your color!” These clear col­ors have per­fectly bal­anced val­ues and are flat­ter­ing for ev­ery­one. When you look at or wear ei­ther of these two col­ors, your psy­cho­log­i­cal re­sponse is an au­to­matic lift­ing of spirit— mak­ing you feel good while you’re look­ing good.

For more in­for­ma­tion about the psy­chol­ogy of color, look up one of the many books avail­able on the sub­ject. The en­light­en­ing in­for­ma­tion found therein will take your abil­ity to choose the right col­ors to an en­tirely new level.

Monochro­matic color schemes al­ways work when it comes to cloth­ing or home dec­o­rat­ing, as long as you be­gin with a ba­sic color that flat­ters your own color­ing. By vary­ing the hues of the ba­sic color, you add vis­ual in­ter­est and im­pact. The more var­ied tex­tures are in­tro­duced along with var­ied shades, the more so­phis­ti­cated, in­ter­est­ing and pleas­ing you’ll find your fi­nal out­come. For ex­am­ple, if you love green, try mix­ing and match­ing any shades from the light­est to dark­est in var­ied amounts for the most im­pact, us­ing one shade as an ac­cent to op­ti­mize your end re­sult.

The most so­phis­ti­cated and dif­fi­cult monochro­matic color pal­ette of all is un­doubt­edly that of neu­trals: creams, grays and tans. Color wheels are un­able to break down the in­tri­cate val­ues of neu­trals. It takes an ex­pert eye and knowl­edge to main­tain the shad­ing and vis­ual bal­ance of these sub­tle color changes and hues.

If you truly love neu­trals, go to your lo­cal home- im­prove­ment store and gather up paint chips to take home and study. Most paint man­u­fac­tur­ers make it easy for you as they show color pal­ettes in fam­i­lies with pre­de­ter­mined and match­ing val­ues. For starters, look at the pale creams and you’ll im­me­di­ately no­tice dis­tinct dif­fer­ences. Some chips have strong un­der­tones of green or blue, while oth­ers are more yel­low or or­ange; yet oth­ers have hints of brown or black. This is un­der­stand­able be­cause white is ac­tu­ally a com­bi­na­tion of all col­ors, not an ab­sence of color, and cream is just a sub­tle dark­en­ing of white.

Color Trends

When it comes to color, trends are not based on strong and grow­ing de­mand for cer­tain col­ors; rather, they are based on the find­ings from fo­cused world­wide net­works. Par­tic­i­pants of these groups come from var­ied walks of life. Each mem­ber fol­lows and stud­ies such things as sports, pol­i­tics, eco­nomics, mu­sic, arts, cui­sine, leisure ac­tiv­i­ties, dec­o­rat­ing, fash­ion, the en­vi­ron­ment and cul­tural di­ver­sity, just to name a few. Each as­pect of study pro­vides use­ful in­for­ma­tion that al­lows the col­lec­tive group to fore­cast col­ors with va­lid­ity. When the core group comes to con­sen­sus, color chips are then de­vel­oped and dis­trib­uted to de­sign­ers and man­u­fac­tur­ers who fur­ther de­velop their own fore­cast for trends for yarn, fab­ric, paint, cloth­ing, fur­ni­ture and the like.

From sea­son to sea­son the hues of core col­ors change slightly to re­flect world­wide changes as they oc­cur within fo­cus groups. Col­ors then be­come stronger, more muted or more con­vo­luted to re­flect global changes.

How drab the world would be with­out the magic of color. It is truly some­thing to cel­e­brate and en­joy! Thank good­ness that the se­crets of color can be re­vealed to en­hance our daily lives with a sim­ple, lit­tle color wheel.

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