A Certain Lack of Focus

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Color Craze

I've been playing around with color on this blog for the last couple days. I'm not sure I really like this but I suppose it doesn't matter since I'm going to redesign in the end anyway. I do like the layout up top and I'll probably keep something similar when I change everything else around.

Colors are important, they can completely alter the mood of any piece, whether it's the frame color of a watercolor or a room, or a website. On the blog I discovered that a color I really liked, an energetic blueish, hurt to look at for too long which is obviously a bad idea. Another color, a sort of tangerine, was easier to look at although it was just as bright. I didn't like the overall effect however: it was too much like a party style which isn't exactly my style. Eventually I realized I needed something dark to sort of calm down the design. A dark purple looked nice with the other colors but the result was a bit too girly. It ruined the clean technical feel that drew me to this template in the first place. A dark orange is really just a brown, it might have looked ok but I didn't even try it: The limited template of cool colors (no blues mind you) is pleasing here, a balanced color palette is both unnecessary and undesirable.

I played around with all sorts of background colors for my portfolio site. Since the subject matter tends to be a bit dark, eventually I'll probably return to a dark color or a dark grey, but for now I've settled on just white in the background. This leaves it feeling clean and free of distraction, allowing the focus to settle on the artwork. Of course that's all destroyed by the fact that I have no logo, so instead the top of my website just says: "logologologologoHADESARROWlogologologlogologo." I've found it's more amusing if you imagine saying the logologos to the tune of "BADGER BADGER BADGER BADGER" and the hadesarrow can be the "MUSHROOM MUSHROOM!" Someday I'll make myself a real logo, but even when I do I think I'll leave that text as the scrollover because it makes me laugh.

For this blog I settled on a background color of dark grey. I tend to like greys. Most people think of greys as boring, too neutral and symbolically dull. I guess I like neutral colors, and grey in particular I've found has a lot of potential for background space. The walls in the studio/computer room are painted a pale grey/brown color, a color that looked much warmer on the sample, but on the walls seems an almost icy smoothness. I love the color, it's the perfect tone for a workspace: not so glaring and blank as a white wall, not so energetic as a bright color, to make me restless or agitated. Instead it's cool and awake. I won't go so far as to say it makes me want to work, but it doesn't give me an extra excuse not to work either.

Our bedroom is also painted grey, dark dark grey, I am constantly greeted with skeptical faces when I describe it. Believe me it's lovely, someday I'll post pictures. I can't remember what the color is called, I think it's the color of thunderstorms. There's an ugly aqua carpet on the floor that I can't afford to replace, and next to it the dark grey walls look like the same color purple that I rejected as too pretty for my blog. For a bedroom it's perfect, the comforter and curtains are deep red and there are several lights in the room to fight the darkness. At some point I'll have to put up crown molding, just to finish the effect, dark and light. The wood of my bed is stained a dark red, adding warm and cool to dark and light. The rest of the furniture is either dark stain or raw and unstained, and somehow they all blend together just right. Matt's red-brown leather recliner sits in one corner as a reading spot, the whole effect is calm and luxurious, just like a bedroom ought to be.

In other living areas grey would surely be boring, ugly, pathetic, but in areas where the walls should not invade, grey works quite well. I've found the same is true when matting drawings, sometimes white is just too boring, too like everything else. Black on the other hand can be too dramatic, overcoming the drawing in the center which is delicate and small. Grey again, strikes the perfect chord.

A little while ago, some scientists did a study showing that children prefer food in McDonalds cartons to food in unmarked, brown packaging. They used this study to prove that children are easily targeted by marketing, but I think it proves something else entirely, that we probably already knew. Kids like bright colors. In fact people like bright colors, and marketers have been taking advantage of this for ages. We are bombarded with color, screaming buy me, have me, you need me today! In a world where everything is bright and fast and exciting, I think that when I'm home, it's nice to just surround myself with grey.

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