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Color today is a visual communication tool. It helps us to describe what an object or even a concept is like. Today the development of the use of color is very advanced and we have even studied its effects on the physical and psychological world of people, it has also an important place in the world of Marketing, we live in a world that is aware of color. After recognizing different work art, it can be observed, that color has evolve in different ways depending on the historic and cultural context.
Through this essay, the color will be analyzed in different chapters; the colors in the actual world, and what the evoke, the color in different cultures, and finally the color on traditional Islamic architecture and color in traditional catholic architecture from the Renaissance.
Color is one of the first things we use to describe and object, still we are not fully conscious of what is it. Common meaning in people’s mind is that color is a property of material or light. Through our history we have been trying to describe this phenomenon with psychological, physical and artistic answers, to the question of color meaning, but color has been defined by scientists as the result of a series of events that lead the brain to the recognition and interpretation of light signals. This signals are perceived by different characteristics that interfere into color interpretation; hue, saturation and brightness.
In the eye the process for color perception starts when the light reaches the eye and enters through the aqueous humor, then pupil, crystalline lens and vitreous humor until it’s absorbed by the retina, which is full of brain cells divided in two types, rods which perceive the light and dark, that work as receptors and send information to the brain.
Color phenomenon has been studied for years by scientists, artists, musicians, and even writers, looking for a better understanding and classification of each of them. Goethe did color circles with 6 colors to explain the physiological complementary colors, he even produced a book of color and produced some poetry compositions base on it. Chevreul did a book that talked about the harmony and contrasts of colors, where he developed and idea of simultaneous contrasts. Munsell as a teacher in an art school, found a method for color teaching, with the right hue, value and chroma perceptions.
Today color has gained a complex definition and understanding, day by day there are more theories and the impact that new developments in science and technology and art development has given color a fuller attention. Also in the part of commerce has evolved into being very specific, to use the right colors to communicate some messages and to sell. As conclusion; color and color matches nowadays are very important to specific uses.
Color today has been studied in human behavior and also in animal behavior, some colors improve our blood pressure, and have some effects on our bodies, but as this part the psychological is also important. We begin a relationship with colors since very young ages. Rose H. Alschuler and Berta investigated and analyzed the drawings of children that blue represents self-control of emotions, red represents expression, and yellow, the dependence.
But what is the influence of color on behavior within different branches such as marketing, psychology, sociology?
It’s true that colors can be interpreted and that’s why a part of psychology is dedicated exclusively to studying color, analyzing how we perceive and how we behave in different colors, observing the variation of interpretations that are behind each culture and society. The same psychology of color has given way to new applications of color in everyday use, from marketing to art therapy, where the person associates emotions with different colors. It is proven that under warm colors such as red, orange and yellow positive reactions can relate to warmth and negative reactions to hostility or anger. On the contrary of the cold colors like green and blue that usually cause sensations of calm or sadness. The sociology of color focuses on studying colors in society and how they influence the perception of one person in relation to another.
Marketing is the set of techniques and studies to improve the sale of a product or service.
Within the techniques you can find the use of color, through the 5 senses. The color how sales technique is applied in emails, brochures, cards and even points of sale, can represent the personality of the brand or can influence the person to feel one way or another, change their mood and all this depending the context, culture and previous experiences.
It’s proven that color directly affects the customer experience; A study by The Seoul International Color Expo revealed that 92% of people consider color the most important when they buy a product, while 5% consider touch and 1% smell.
Another study, conducted by XEROX concluded that 92% of people believe that the presence of a color determines the image to impress, and 90% think that color can attract new customers.
In the world of marketing the most used and studied colors are white, black, red, blue, green, pink, orange and yellow. The emotions and sensations that they transmit are the following:
As mentioned above, color is applied in different ways according to the cultural contexts of each place, it is not the same to speak of red in Japan or red in an African country. For that a brief comparison of the color is made in some of the main cultures of the world.
American/western culture is the more influential culture in the world, so as we are living under this culture, we are very familiarized with the meanings of these colors and how we relate to them. In general, red usually represents in American culture anger, courage, danger, desire, energy, erotic, excitement, heat, love, passion and radicalism, so all that concepts are concepts that have a lot of energy, red is related to things that are very strong. Orange then goes for “friendly”, yellow is more into strong emotions but related more to happiness, or even money, in this culture yellow stands for cowardice, energy, fun, happiness, money, peace, and repels evil. Green is for good luck (clover related), to growth and to nature, just as blue is related to the cold, the freedom, intelligence but also loyalty, rational, and unhappiness. While white makes reference to heaven, luxury, marriage, purity, truce. And black to the death, authority, evil and mourning, but as well as the style and eternity.
Japanese culture is today the result of an historic process that begin with Asian immigration on the 19th century. Is known for the honor. In color representation red symbolizes for this culture the anger, danger, desire, excitement, love, passion, repels evil and the strength. The orange represents the warmth, balance, energy and flamboyance. The yellow stands for the courage, the cowardice, deceit, heaven, illness, and joy, but also religion, this last because their religion is Buddhism and yellow is the color of the cloths monks use. Green is for good luck, and nature, and blue is for cold, life, loyalty, money, peace and rational. White symbolize the illness, purity, respect and truce, and black represents the bad luck, evil, style and unhappiness.
The culture in India is formed by their religion, food, traditions, languages and artistic expressions that show their values.
They are used to dress in a lot of colors and color is an important element in their food, festivals, and traditions. The red symbolizes the energy, erotic, cruelty, marriage, and passion, this is why is a common color for a wedding dress. The orange the courage and desire, the yellow stands for the fun, god, illness, joy, personal power, their god and the joy is related by this color. Then the green stands for compassion, happiness, insight, religion, life and love, similar to other cultures in nature (life) but different because of the meaning of happiness that is often attached to a yellowish color in the last that were analyzed before.
The blue stands for art, creativity and gods, white is related to death, intelligence and peace. And black to evil, penance and anger.
Chinese culture is the culture that takes the place in a big asian piece it’s known for their variety of traditions between their villages, provinces and cities. Their culture is formed of their mythology, philosophy, music and art. In Chinese culture we see the use of red when they want to communicate success, but this color also represents the ood luck, happiness, marriage and fertility, while the orange symbolize life and family, the yellow the respect, royalty and heatlhy, and the green stands for growth, life and repels evil. The White means dead, mourning, purity and truce.
The african culture really is very mixed with many traditions from many countries and tribes. But still, their culture is represented by arts, crafts, dances, music, kitchen, clothing and religion. The more common colors they use is red, green and blue. The red means anger and good luck, the green stands for life, success and represents religión, and blue is use to communicate peace and love messages.
This brief analysis offers us interesting proposals about color in each culture, among the conclusions, we can emphasize that red isn’t perceived the same but still means powerful things in China to what is perceived in America and Japan, which is more related to energy, anger, danger, and passion while in China it is grouped with fertility, good luck and happiness. On the other hand, the white color is one of the most opposed, being in the American culture something related to the sky and the lust, unlike the Japanese culture that makes more reference to the disease and respect, the Hindu to the death and intelligence and China to death. In addition, green is collectively related to life or nature.
Islamic art has been studied for many decades. There are entire books studying the spiritual meaning through their works of art. That is why it is important to understand the relationship between Islamic art and Islamic spirituality. Islamic art is directly related to Islam because it’s precisely born as an objective of communication of Islam and representation of Islamic revelation. Islamic art is represented in plastic arts, calligraphy and architecture. There are many elements used in his art such as the use of water, the influence of religion on architecture, symmetry in decoration, use of plants, calligraphic and geometric motifs.
“The earth was placed for me as a mosque and purifier” “A person of faith in a mosque is like the sun reflecting in the water” That was what Prophet Muhammad. The sacred architecture of Islam is the mosque, is designed to represent the harmony and peace in the place where God chose Muslims to worship.
The mosques are decorated with mosaics and calligraphies full of crystals and reflections that reflect the light of the sky and communicate sensations through color. The colors in Islam and their application within mosques can behave like symbols full of meaning. For example, green is the most widespread and used as the symbol of Islam because Muhammad wore a green mantle. This color for them represents hope and peace, that is why it’s very common for mosques to have this color, which is also very found in the interiors of Muslim homes. Red represents life, fascination, fire and blood. That is why carpets often have this color as a base, although the weavers add black motifs. The black in that case symbolizes sadness and pain, although within the culture it also represents the color of the devil and morbidity. The white symbolizes beauty and the feminine, besides the angels are white and also the cloth that surrounds the deceased. Yellow represents sadness, envy and death. Turquoise also symbolizes the magical and the depths of the universe. Those colors are often used on the decoration in their mosques.
The color is used in Catholicism since the fourth cycle, began to be used to differentiate liturgical seasons. Until then the use of 5 colors was systematized: purple, white, red, black and green. In the Catholic church, the purple represents the color of the sovereignty of Jesus and also the sin, because it is a color of lust. In white and gold, the light of day, the black, the mourning. The red color of the blood and suffering of Christ on the cross, as well as the holy spirit. Green the color of growth and blue honors the Virgin Mary.
The colors most commonly used in Christianity is blue, which represents the Virgin Mary, however, why is she representing Mary if it is likely that at that time her clothing was likely cream due to the wool material? The color blue has a very strong meaning in the beginnings of the old testament in the bible. For the people of Israel, blue meant the commandments of God. In addition, we find more references like: ‘spread over [the Ark of the Covenant] to cloth all of blue’ (4: 6), ‘And over the table of the bread of the Presence they shall spread to cloth of blue’ (4 : 7). In Eastern cultures, blue symbolized immortality, and was used for purposes of harmony as well. However, in addition to the bible the blue color has a different meaning in the Byzantine era, it represents the mystery and divinity as well as the sky, where the heaven is found. Jesus used blue to demonstrate his divinity, that is why blue is used in Christianity, to represent the sanctity of Mary and her important role.
Christian architecture is really varied, shapes, colors, etc. In the Bible there is no indication of the form that the temples of this religion should have nor the elements that they must contain. This is why religion has transformed the age of its temples depending on the time, the country, and the artistic influence (or the way in which the church influenced the art) in those times. However, blue, that symbolizes heaven is one of the most used colors on the church, but in the other hand the liturgical times have influenced the colors that we see for some times in some churches of the religion, besides we have seen symbolized the colors that were mentioned previously in the paintings, sculptures and decorations that accompany the constructions where Christians are going to worship.
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