Coloured words

During my tutorial with Angela we spoke about my colour palettes and what I was going to do with them.

I showed her some old design books I had which show you different colour combinations together – therefore how they affect one another – and she said it would be interesting to define say 3/9 colours in a palette as a word. An emotive word, but not an emotional one – such as ‘curiosity’.

I have been reading Rudolf Stein’s book of translated colour essays where he speaks about colour having its own dimensions and and characteristics in a physical way. For example he suggests that yellow wishes to blend into nothing – it’s natural state is to blend away and spread into nothingness; blue, he suggests, needs a physical edge, it needs a barrier to push against and red is neither of the above, but is still and constant – it spreads consistently and without boundary.
This is a very interesting concept around colour and translates equally well when thinking about words and colour: the word defines what colours it suggests and the colours bring their own physical properties to dictate the form and interaction.

This is something that also translates well from my working day: the words I am laying out suggest the colours and format the page should take. This is not (at least to me) a synaesthetic response to the word – although perhaps in some way it is – as I am not responding to the sounds of the word, but more to the emotion and meaning of the word.

Some words (thinking of the obvious ones like angry, calm and envy) do convey a colour when you think of them – red, blue and green respectively – but I have avoided choosing such obvious words and am looking to deepen the idea by looking at words that suggest a mix of colour to create their meaning in colour and marks.

I have gone through my entire thesaurus (admittedly it is a small one!) and picked out words I think might be suitable or worth investigating. Some had colours spring to mind (a predominant one) as soon as I saw them, so I have noted these too. I am storing them all alphabetically in the back of my colour journal.


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