The Book of Color

Working with and thinking about color is often a 2 dimensional on-screen exercise. When Colour Studio is working to design color for an architectural elevation or  on a floor plan our  creative staff has spent hours staring at sliders and numbers  tweaking and adjusting. Color starts out looking like this:

But artist Tauba Auerbach has inflated that flat field in to the RGB Colorspace Atlas.The atlas is several 8 in cube hard bound books which, when the pages are turned, fades through each color axis. The atlas contains every printable color.

The RGB Colorspace Atlas | Image by Brittany Schall

The Atlas makes tangible and manually accessible something we usually only experience with our eyes and the intermediary of color theory. These objects transform color in to a physical presence in space. Replacing the obsession with indexical color numbers like the hex code fdfcf3  the atlas relies on an older slower form of discovery: browsing.   Designboom describes the details of the collaboration:

“American artist Tauba Auerbach presents the 8 x 8 x 8-inch hard-back cubes illustrating the RGB color scheme in a page-by-page medium. A digital offset print on paper with airbrushed cloth cover and book edges create a colorful reference volume of all the colors in existence. the special binding was co-designed by the artist herself in collaboration with Daniel E. Kelm, and were printed at Wide Awake Garage, an independent bookbinder.”

RGB COLORSPACE ATLAS – Blue Axis from Jonathan Turner on Vimeo.
This is a simulation of one volume in a set of three books by Tauba Auerbach.
each volume / 3632 pages
Animation by Jonathan Turner

– Emily Eifler, Writer, Colour Studio
– Jill Pilaroscia, Principal, Colour Studio

Pink and Blue

South Korean Artist JeongMee Yoon’s The Pink and Blue Projects

One day last week, when brainstorming ideas about gender and color, the question arose : “Why pink and blue?” We have heard the saying so many times it becomes ingrained. Pink is for girls and blue is for boys. But where did that idea come from and when?

 According to Smithsonian Magazines Jeanne Maglaty, “Pink and blue arrived, along with other pastels, as colors for babies in the mid-19th century, yet the two colors were not promoted as gender signifiers until just before World War I—and even then, it took time for popular culture to sort things out.” Because “pink was once a color associated with masculinity, considered to be a watered down red and held the power associated with that color”.  When gendered color for babies started,  the roles were switched. . The Mary Sue, a blog on girl geek culture, found this gem that appeared in the June 1918 issue of Earnshaw’s Infants’ Department, a trade publication:

“The generally accepted rule is pink for the boys, and blue for the girls. The reason is that pink, being a more decided and stronger color, is more suitable for the boy, while blue, which is more delicate and dainty, is prettier for the girl.”

Today’s pink/blue assignments were not solidified until the 1940s when , and it could easily have gone the other way. Childerns clothes started out far more gender and color neutral. Jo B. Paoletti, a historian at the University of Maryland and author of Pink and Blue: Telling the Girls From the Boys in America has studied the history of childern’s clothing for 30 years.

“It’s really a story of what happened to neutral clothing. For centuries… children wore dainty white dresses up to age 6. [It was] a matter of practicality—you dress your baby in white dresses and diapers; white cotton can be bleached”

Color Prefrances via KISSmetrics

But perhaps ironically when asked women almost never chose pink as their favorite color. This graphic was made using data from a study done in 2003. It compared the color preferences for various demographic using 232 people from 22 countries. The graphs are strikingly similar with one exception: 23% of women chose purple as their favorite color. If instead of using the tired pink and blue distinction we went with each genders color preferences boys would still be wearing blue and girls would be wearing blue with purple socks.

– Emily Eifler, Writer, Colour Studio
– Jill Pilaroscia, Principal, Colour Studio