colour meaning

At some point I intend to post something about colour meaning or what I like to call colour semiotics. However, in the meantime you may like to refer to this blog entry – – about understanding colour for dress designing (though the advice seems quite generic and not connected with dress designing at all). It’s a reasonable primer into the meanings of colour.

2 thoughts on “colour meaning

  1. Sergei Eisenstein argued in his essay “colour and meaning” (The Film Sense 150-51) that colour had no intrinsic meaning. Eisenstein gives a whole list of meanings assigned to the colour yellow over time and in various cultures, and argues that meaning can be assigned to a colour only within a specific context, such as a work of art.

    “In art it is not the absolute relationships that are decisive, but those arbitrary relationships within a system of images dictated by the particular work of art…the emotional intelligibility and function of colour will rise from the natural order of establishing the colour imagery of the work, coinciding with the process of shaping the living movement of the whole work.”

    Does Amarati concede this too?
    “Throughout the ages color has had many meanings…” I think one has to be very careful in any discussion about what colour means.

  2. Thanks for making this interesting comment. I agree with much you write. Certainly, colour meaning (if it exists at all) is complex and colour can have different meanings depending on the context. So I agree that we have to be very careful in any discussion about what colour means.

    I am disappointed in many cases with the over-simplistic views of colour meaning that one can find in many textbooks and on many webpages. In my paper on colour harmony – – I wrote, “It seems likely therefore that there are no universal laws of colour harmony; rather, ideas about colour harmony shift over time and between cultures and are application-specific.” By application-specific I was thinking of the use of colour in a particular piece of art or in a particular design. I could very easily take a similar view about colour meaning – that what colours mean varies with so many things, including culture, time, and their use in any particular instance.

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