As human beings we are born with an “instinctive use of colour”, according to colour psychologist Angela Wright. It’s also said that we are naturally drawn to the stuff, therefore both our conscious and sub-conscious minds respond to colour constantly.
As creatives, we are surrounded by and make decisions on colours everyday, but these choices are usually affected by clients, projects, cultures and market needs. Whether you are an interior designer, graphic artist, photographer or fashion designer, there is very rarely a case where you have complete personal preference when it comes to colour choice.
“What’s your favourite colour?”
As a kid, it’s a question we are asked all the time by teachers, friends, parents and even TV programmes. Most kids will have an instantaneous answer for you and probably a reason for it, even if that reason is “I like pink because I’m a princess”, but it’s a reason none less. Ask the same question to an adult and the question becomes a lot harder to answer. Is it because we try to take everything we’ve learnt about colour perception into account before we answer? “Don’t say red, it means danger!” Are we as adults just overly aware of being judged for our personal preferences? Or is it simply a question we left behind at childhood and just haven’t thought about for decades?
GFSmith has decided to get us thinking again with ‘The World’s Favourite Colour Project’, created in collaboration with Hull 2017 – this year’s city of culture. Running until July 2017, you can select and submit your favourite colour through their simple, yet weirdly addictive website. The winner will be selected and have their colour made into a beautiful new paper by GFSmith that’s named after them, receive a personalised set of stationery, and enjoy a trip to see the paper being made – my dream! I have definitely already entered, and you can too here – but think it through, as in the words of Eminem, “you only get one shot!”
Screen shot of a selection of the latest 1,000 submissions from http://worldsfavouritecolour.com/
This amazing prize aside, the purpose of the project is to get us all excited and weak at the knees about colour again. As Sam McKnight points out in GFSmiths’ “A Question of Colour” (the film created to promote the project),”There was a period in the 80s where everything was black – and now I’d say we’re in a moment where everything is colour – clashing colours and unexpected colours – which is great.”
The world of design has done the whole ‘black is the new black’ thing for a long time now, and contrary to many fashionista’s declaring they wear black because they are just so cool (myself included – I think I wear black more than any other colour), these all-knowing colour therapists have outed us all with the declaration that we wear black as a security blanket as opposed to the stereotypical cool and confident choice that the fashion world has lead us to believe it is. Either way, apparently we don’t necessarily wear or surround ourselves with our favourite colour anyway, which seems weird… But in retrospect, I guess I don’t do it either. In fact, I’m quite selective when it comes to choosing what I own in my favourite colour. I want those objects to really compliment my chosen colour, so I almost curate my colour choices to elevate my favourite, as opposed to having it everywhere.
I love finding out what people’s favourite colours are. Sometimes it’s obvious – they are the type of person to have literally every possession in that one colour. Yet, other times it comes as more of a surprise. Either way, GFSmiths’ new project is encouraging us to take the time to think about our favourite colour, which in an age where monochrome is everywhere, is not a bad thing!