Sunday, July 4, 2010

What color is your rainbow?

Color can set mood, denote emotion, incite action, or non-action. 
   This week,  two movies have set my mind whirling about the importance of color.
I went to see Eclipse, as did numerous others.  I was struck by the simplistic color scheme.  Brown and grey were the predominant hues throughout the movie, with the exception being Victoria's red hair (no spoilers).  Although the season is spring, the cinematographer did  a wonderful job of presenting a quilt of scenes that are just a touch off black and white...thereby giving the audience that sense that there is a hint more to good vs. evil in this tale.  

   Having contemplated this, I sat down and watched The Village this weekend, as well.  M. Night Shyamalan is a genius for his ability to take something simple and turn it into something unsettling, or horrifying, depending on your perspective.  In The Village, the predominant colors are gold (all things bright and beautiful), and red (all things alarming and dangerous).  While the sets, costumes, and lighting are neutral, these two colors which he brandishes like flags set us on edge, pulling us into the emotional turmoil, into the panic.  

   Many years ago, a book hit the racks with a white cover.  Ghost Story was a hit, and part of that might have been the strategy of the cover.  Few books at that time had such a stark cover, but for this one, the color caught the reader off guard. Ghostly figures and white just seemed to go together.  It worked.  Sales hit a high; ultimately the story headed to Hollywood and became a feature film.

   When my daughter was young, I discovered that she responded negatively to red. It was just too bold for her, and her perpetually calm sense of self would suddenly react fretfully to the brightness of the color when she found herself in a room or store where red was the main color.  Likewise, when I did work for the public affairs department of a hospital, we helped develop a color scheme that emphasized neutral shades of mauve, spruce, blue, grey, purely for their calming effect.

   I've read that some studies show that men respond favorably to the color red.  I know someone who gets headaches from the color orange.   Some people look better in pastel colors, others in gemstone or dark colors.  Some choose earthtones for their statement.   Marketing personnel know how important color is to packaging. Color affects sales.  
   What colors inspire you to buy? What colors turn you pensive?  What hues brighten your day? Give you a headache? Make you want to get up and dance?  Go look at your living room, your closet, your car, your favorite sweater.  Then tell me, what color is your rainbow?