Colors are indispensable, especially for designers. Although we could use solely black and white, designing the world in a monochromatic way would make everyone’s life depress as fuck (I’m all up for b&w, but still).
How we perceive it influences our life, our choices and even our wellbeing during life.
But how do we do it? And how much as it changed over time? Is it that important?
How the human eye sees colors
There’s no such thing as color in the physical world. It’s really a complex perception that happens in our brain.
Our eyes perceive color by the presence or absence of light and based on 3 color receptor cells: red, green, and blue. Hence, all the light waves are translated into RGB, and all the resulting colors are a mix of this three.
Basically, our brain does all the hard work by decoding light into nearly 10 million colors that we can recognize differently.
The main problem, however, is that not everyone sees it the same way. That makes color highly personal and such a complicated tool to work with.
Luckily for the designers, even though everyone sees differently, specific associations allow conveying meaning regardless of our eyes sensitivity. And that is related to culture and past history.
Color through time
Color has played different roles throughout time and in different contexts.
For instance, purple symbolized power in the Roman empire, so it became associated with aristocracy. Red is used for revolution due to communist countries. And frequently a representation of gold, money, and religion, yellow was one of the first colors to appear.
There are more examples to show that regardless of how we see and how much our personal taste is involved, color has a deeper meaning.
Considering all, designers struggle to use conceptions of color, while at the same time creating innovative color palettes.
That’s where color apps come in handy. There are many out there, and I’m sure you are familiarized with a handful of them, but I really wanted to share one that is relatively recent and very interesting: Color Leap.
Color Leap is a tool that contains 180 color palettes based on 12 history eras.
On this website, you will find samples of artwork pieces organized by time period, and you’ll be able to easily copy and save them into a new project.
So instead of choosing colors based on what you believe may be better, you can now choose based on specific time periods and design pieces that you admire.
Also published on Medium.