sparkling spring sky!
from: Red Sings from Treetops
written by Joyce Sidman
illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski
Houghton Mifflin BFC, 2009
In case you missed it, Pantone Color Institute announced the 2020 color of the year, Classic Blue 19-4052, (pantone.com) and said this: “Instilling calm, confidence, and connection, this enduring blue hue highlights our desire for a dependable and stable foundation on which to build as we cross the threshold into a new era.”
Pantone Color Institute is an influential marketing and publicity firm that boasts thousands of clients the world over. So I wondered, is color psychology really a “thing?”
The preference of one color over another is highly individualized, and may even change over time, but some colors do have universal meaning. Pantone’s choice for 2020 “is a boundless blue, evocative of the vast and infinite sky at dusk. Classic Blue is a solid and dependable blue hue we can always rely on in these times that require trust and faith.”
Multiple award-winner and partner of the Cleveland Clinic, VeryWellMind https://www.verywellmind.com/color-psychology-2795824 assures us that color can indeed influence people. Warm colors: yellows; reds; and oranges evoke emotions ranging from warmth and comfort to anger and hostility. Cool colors: blues; purples; and greens, on the other side of the color spectrum, often are described as calm, but can also elicit feelings of sadness or indifference.
When I think of colors, I think of that big box of Crayola crayons with the built-in sharpener on the back.
The standard sized box of Crayolas holds 24, but the box of 120 will deliver all the colors Crayola currently manufactures. In 2017, after being produced for 27 years, Dandelion was replaced with a new shade of blue in the box of 24. The vibrant hue was discovered by scientists at Oregon State University as they searched for new materials that could be used in the electronics field. YInMn, a name made from the combination of its elements: yttrium; indium; manganese; and oxygen is much less controversial than the fan-selected winning name Crayola announced: Bluetiful. By the way, this is NOT the same blue as Classic Blue 19-4052 chosen by Pantone.
Bluetiful, the name, created controversy right away. Did Crayola give legitimacy to a non-word or did they help children learn to sound out nonsense syllables on their way to becoming proficient readers?
Plenty of people have weighed in on both sides. Personally, I learned how to read big words like Periwinkle, Magenta, and Raw Sienna by dipping into the box.
Is there a reason that Crayola makes 23 shades of red, 19 different blues (including Bluetiful), but only 8 yellows? Probably not, but color-coding is a handy way to organize any type of complicated project.
Our politics is color coded, but it wasn’t always that way. Individual networks and print sources decided how to identify the parties. And they weren’t consistent. Yellow was excluded, I imagine, because it doesn’t show up very well.
At one time, red (the color) reminded people of the Communist Threat. Neither party wanted to be associated with that color so blue and red sometimes identified opposite parties on different networks during the same election coverage. And the next time they might change.
In 1976, a gigantic map was built to show in vivid lights, which states supported the Republican incumbant, Gerald Ford, and which ones identified the backers of the Democratic challenger, Jimmy Carter. The map was sturdily built on a wooden frame. Thousands and thousands of red, white, and blue light bulbs were in place. They created so much heat, though, when lit, that the plastic faces of the states began to melt. Interior air conditioning was ramped up and fans were brought in.
That did the trick. “Tuesday night, Nov. 2, Studio 8-H at 30 Rockefeller Center lit up. Light bulbs on each state changed from undecided white to Republican blue and Democratic red. NBC declared Carter the winner at 3:30 a.m. EST, when Mississippi turned red.”
Yep, Republican Blue and Democratic Red. It wasn’t until 2000, that blue and red became stuck to a particular political party. That year, we experienced an election complete with hanging chads, undecided representatives and senators, and a controversial Supreme Court ruling. And we came up with a political shorthand.
In 2000, most newspapers were black and white, but both the USAToday and the New York Times printed maps in color, county by county, and used the same color scheme as NBC News: now, Republican Red and Democratic Blue.
Why this scheme? Just ask Archie Tse, senior graphics editor for the Times. “I just decided red begins with ‘r,’ Republican begins with ‘r.’ It was a more natural association. There wasn’t much discussion about it.” (This quote and the following one are from the same Smithsonian magazine article as above.)
Paul Overberg, USAToday’s map designer said he was following the trend. “The reason I did it was because everybody was already doing it that way at that point.”
So it appears that the communist threat is over. Not to say Russia is a good neighbor to the rest of the world, but the color red somehow just doesn’t feel as dangerous as it used to.
Could the universe be trying to tell us something when in 2017 Crayola replaced a bright, hot yellow with a calm, cool blue and a couple of years later Pantone enlisted Classic Blue as the color of the year to represent calm strength in unsettling times?
-—stay curious! (and colorful)