Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Painted Doors

What does your front door say about you?
Creative? Elegant? Exuberant? Colorful?
Or boring?
Now that temperatures are finally warming up, it's time to paint away the gloomy winter. Why not use your exterior entry to say something about your interior? Dispense with same-old, same-old brown, black, gray or dingy white and cover your doors in gleaming cherry red, "Dr. Who" blue, grass green, daffodil yellow and every color in between.
So how about it, Pittsburgh? Dubliners have done it for centuries. Our weather is just as gloomy as Ireland's and we all could use a lift.
When I recently moved into a 1906 half-duplex -- charming and full of light on the inside, gloomy mustard brown brick on the outside -- I remembered the doors I'd seen in Ireland. There's actually a poster, "The Doors of Dublin," a vivid collage of that city's crayon-box-colored doors that first appeared in 1970, around St. Patrick's Day, in the window of the Irish tourism offices on Fifth Avenue in New York City. It became a potent tourism marketing tool. Demand for copies of the poster was immediate, and it's still on sale today, while Dublin's doors play a starring role in tours of the city.
While I don't live in an 18th-century Georgian mansion on Merrion Square, I realized I could do something more cheerful with my front door than what was already there -- an iron gray that perfectly matched the December sky above. So I went to Home Depot, looked around, and saw THE color: "Retro Avocado." Over the course of two weekends, I painted my own front door.
I am not sure what all my neighbors think, but I received compliments from two of them, including the nice woman who lives directly across the street and has to look at my door every day.

But for those with doors already painted some subdued color, couldn't we please get a little more adventurous?
"In Europe, in general, they have a lot more courage than we do in the States," said John Lahey, president of Fine Paints of Europe, which makes high-quality Dutch paint, known for its depth and high gloss. It also sells a special kit just for painting doors.
He has noticed an uptick in demand here for colorful doors "because people go over to Europe and see what's been done and want the same for their homes."
Researchers at PPG Pittsburgh Paints did a study on the colors used for exteriors of houses in Holland between 1600 and 1900, said Dee Rice Schlotter, PPG's national color brand manager. Much to their surprise, they discovered that colors in the old days were much brighter than they are now, and varied according to the type of house, from provincial farmhouse to stately Amsterdam canal house. Those historical Dutch colors, she said, were known as ultramarine blue, or Ultramarijn; canal green, or grachtengroen; Bentheimer yellow, or Bentheimergeel; Zaans green or Zaansgroen; and ox blood red or Ossebloedrood.
The old, brighter paint formulas were made of resin, egg yolk, water, pigment, linseed oil and turpentine. Today, they're synthetic -- acrylic resins -- and not as vivid, she said.
According to PPG's data, the most popular colors for doors in the United States are "Wet Coral," a red/orange; "Phantom Mist," a dark gray; "Purple Basil," an eggplant; "Cavalry," a dark blue; and "Lichen," a fresh spring green. PPG has more than 60 independent dealers throughout Western Pennsylvania, and they make Olympic Paints, which are sold at Lowe's.
The move to green and red/orange, a shift from the traditional, patriotic red, "gives you more of a modern look," Ms. Schlotter said. "People should absolutely paint their front doors a different but coordinating color than their shutters. It's the perfect way to welcome friends and create a true center of interest for your home."

. In Pittsburgh, some colors work better than others; some soft pastels that pop in tropical climates can look dingy in our northern light.

Monday, May 27, 2013


I will never forget touring Neuswanstein Castle in Germany. A cave on the grounds had been transformed into a stage for Wagner's operas. A swam boat was still intact. What a marvelous setting for his stirring music. Below, see the lyrics of one of his passionate works, translated into music. Also included is the link to a chorus performing this work. Wagner found his passion, may we all be so fortunate. 

This song stirs my heart this Memorial Day. Remembering those who served, and gave their lives, our pilgrims. BBL

Pilgrim's Chorus
Once more with joy O my home I may meet
Once more ye fair, flowr'y meadows I greet
My Pilgrim's staff henceforth may rest
Since Heaven's sweet peace is within my breast.
The sinner's 'plaint on high was heard
On high was heard and answered by the Lord
The tears I laid before His shrine
Are turned to hope and joy divine.
O Lord eternal praise be Thine!
The blessed source of Thy mercy overflowing
On souls repentant seek Ye, all-knowing
Of hell and death, I have no fear
For thou my Lord are ever near
Alleluia! For evermore

Here is a video from Youtube of this glorious celebration. 
Tannhauser: Pilgrim's Chorus Lyrics by Richard Wagner

My Choice - Wagner: Pilgrims' Chorus (Peace, Volcanos & Fireworks)
 (Peace, colorful Volcanoes & Fireworks)

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Can Animals See Color?

My opinion is that cats can see colors well. We had a tabby cat named Flower who could spot the bright blue Purina cat food bag the moment I unloaded it from my car. He would run toward the bag as I placed it into our pantry. Once, he strayed into the pantry without my realizing it as I shut the door. When I opened it later, Flower had gnawed a hole in the bag at his head height while he enjoyed his feast. I wrote a letter to the Purina Cat Food Co. describing his act. A few weeks later, I received a letter from the cat food manufacturer which stated that they appreciated my story, but that they frequently heard from customers who reported that their cats, too, gnawed through the bags after the food. I continue to believe Flower spotted the color of his favorite food bag.

I hope you will share the following article re animals and color by Higgs, the Science Cat with your children or grandchildren.-BBL
Two weeks before my last birthday, I discovered the perfect present. (We call it my birthday, but it’s really the anniversary of my human finding me.) One of my social networking friends is a neurobiologist named Mark Changizi, and in February he posted a notice that he’d invented glasses that could help correct color blindness. I was so excited some of my fur stood up.
Cats and dogs are commonly considered color blind. People have done experiments showing that we can distinguish yellow and blue, but we can’t tell yellow from red from green–which is somewhat the same situation faced by humans with the most common form of color blindness, affecting about 8% of human males.
The glasses go for $300, which is a bit pricey, but my human companion is very fond of me, so I didn’t think it was out of the question. We both decided to do a little research on color vision first, during which I learned that I am not really color blind.
We cats see some colors, and you humans may see more, but other animals see colors you can’t imagine. It’s easy to think that colors are intrinsic aspects of the outside world, but in fact there are infinitely many ways that living things can sample reality.
The world isn’t really colored–it’s made up of surfaces that absorb and reflect light at different wavelengths. Cat eyes have retinas with two kinds of cells called cones, and these cones sense two different wavelengths. Our brains interpret them as blue and yellow. The cones do some tricks so that we also see a whole range of shades in between blue and yellow.
Humans get a third cone that senses another wavelength, which allows you to see shades from green to red–an entire dimension of color I can’t see.
A number of reptiles, amphibians, fish, birds, and insects have four cones, so they must see colors that you humans can’t conceive of. An animal called a mantis shrimp has 12 cones, which must make its universe colorful beyond our wildest imaginations–though they may be using their color sensing cells in ways we mammals can’t understand.
My human has learned a lot about color vision from her friend Dr. Jay Neitz, who is a professor at the University of Washington. He explained that cone cells use molecules called pigments to distinguish different wavelengths of light, and the pigments we mammals use originated in bacteria, long before eyes ever evolved.
Bacteria that use the sun for photosynthesis can benefit from sensing when the sun is at a safe, low angle, and when it’s high noon. They need some sun, but too much can kill them. If they live in the water they can move deeper when the sun might fry them, and return to the surface when they sense the gentler, more orange light of late afternoon.
So color sensing is very ancient. And a three-cone system seems to have appeared early in the evolution of animals, since many fish, reptiles, amphibians, and birds use at least three cones. But alas, it appears that somewhere along the line we mammals lost our third cone. The vast majority of mammals see the way I do.
My eyes have the same color-sensing cells as dogs, and scientists can do experiments on dogs to understand what colors they can and can’t see. Dr. Neitz designed a set-up in which he shows a dog three shapes, two of the same color and one different one. The dogs get a treat if they press their noses on the shape with the different color.
That test showed dogs can tell blue from yellow from white from grey, and they will diligently press the right shape because dogs will do almost anything for a treat. So when dogs failed to pick yellow from green or red, the scientists concluded that it was not from lack of effort. (Some cats will participate in the same experiment, but we’re more difficult subjects because in general we’re a lot picker about treats.)
Which leads back to the question of why humans have three cones when cats, dogs, mice, rabbits, horses, cows, and most other mammals do fine with two? Apparently a mutation arose in an ancient primate–a common ancestor to humans and other apes as well as some monkeys. Why did they get so lucky and not cats? One very interesting theory comes from Dr. Changizi–the scientist who invented my birthday-wish glasses.
I’ll tell you all about his theory and his glasses in the next installment of Higgs the Science Cat. Stay tuned. Bye for now.
Read more by Higgs the Science Cat.
 Armchair scientist fascinated by astronomy, physics, evolution, and human behavior, Higgs also enjoys scratching the arms of the couch. You can keep up with him on Twitter here. His caretaker and agent, Faye Flam, has written about science for The EconomistThe Washington PostScience, and more; read more of her writing here

Friday, May 24, 2013

Use Color to Help with Memory



It's a tall order to take physical notes on actual paper with a real pen. Most people I know don't do it, despite the clear benefits. It's more stuff to lug around, while your ever-ready phone offers literally hundreds of apps for speaking, writing, drawing, and syncing notes. So considering the use of multiple pen colors for your notes can seem a bit like lugging a Victrola around for a morning jog.
But there are real, tested benefits to using multiple colors to stretch out your thoughts, take notes on meetings, and do your research on deeper topics. Color improves recall time for graphs and charts, and can be a "a very effective performance factor", if not overdone. Just ask a mind mapping expert, an Air Force veteran now working at Oracle, or surprisingly attentive Cornell students.
Map Your Mind, or Just Save Your Future Self from Boredom
Draw out your loose ideas floating around a topic or project on a whiteboard or large paper canvas, and you will almost certainly not feel it was a waste of time. As we've written before on the practice of mind mapping, the unstructured nature of mind mapping lets you make connections and see big pictures you might miss in structured lists or mental pondering.
But having a few color markers or pens is a small bit of structure you should pick up. Michael Tipper, an experienced speaker and consultant on mind mapping and organization software, writes on his blog about why colors matter in mind mapping. To summarize: Separating "branches" of your map by color stimulates the creative side of your brain, helps you visually separate and recall distinct themes of the stuff you're working through, and encourages you to map through even boring topics that seem cut-and-dry.
That last bit applies to standard line-by-line note-taking, too, Tipper told Fast Company. "Take any typical student's notes and they will usually be written in one color," Tipper writes. "That means pages and pages of similar-looking notes. Add a dash of color ... and all of a sudden the notes come alive. They are unique, they are unusual, they are memorable and they are more interesting." That means those notes will stick in your brain more, and be far more easier to find in your notebook and review later on.
Remember Who Said What, and Why
Messy notebooks with monotone text make it hard to recall the key points and who-said-what of meetings and project updates. Get the he-said-she-said covered, and cover your butt later, with colored notes.
Chris Smith, a senior systems engineer at Oracle and former target intelligence analyst for the U.S. Air Force, uses four colors when taking notes. Black is for the general stuff. Blue is for clients' notes and comments. Red is action items for his team, and green is action items clients need to take on. The system comes from the Air Force, where notes are often needed to be taken quickly, but sources of intelligence still noted in an inline fashion.
Pick your own colors, though--whatever resonates with your memories, or whatever lines up on the opposite sides of a color wheel.
Combine Colors with Cornell
The Cornell R-6 Method is a tested means of summarizing reams of reading into smart categories boxed out on a page (although there are much simpler explanations of it, too). Like coloring, it breaks up the monotony of line after line of text on a page. Unlike coloring, it has no color, but you can change that. A few things you can block out include names, actions, questions, and take-away thoughts. Beyond that, try out a few schemes and see what works.
Don't Overdo It
When I started asking friends about color-coded notes, almost every lawyer I knew responded. Lawyers learn how to color-code early on in law school, using red highlighters for the holdings of a case, green for general law, yellow for facts, and other colors to fill out the IRAC/CRAC system. By coloring cases this way, lawyers see the physical and relational ways that cases are structured, and can easily recall those elements in later studies or classes.
But if you color in too much, as attorney Jennifer Phillips told me, it backfires. "A friend of mine's (civil procedure) book looked like she squashed a clown to death between its pages: Everything was highlighted, thereby actually emphasizing nothing," Phillips said. Phillips knows she tends to over-color her notes, as her physical act of highlighting helps her focus. But restraint is still difficult; Phillips' court calendar often has so many colors that none of them take priority, so she ends up reading the entire thing, multiple times.
So allow yourself a slight return to grade school and invest in some good colored pens. It's worth the occasional purple splash on your fingers.

Red in Relationships

The color red and your relationship: Studies show how it can help or hurt

New research on the effects of the color red could provide valuable clues to the link between winning athletes and the color red, according to articles published May 17 by the Daily Mail andScience World Report. 

Two studies conducted by the University of Rochester in New York on how men and women react to the color red show that red is a very powerful color which can subconsciously affect human behavior in unexpected ways.
However the most interesting research on the color red was done by the University of Rochester on how red subconsciously affects male and female relationships.
Both men and women found themselves to be more attracted to members of the opposite sex who were wearing, or surrounded by the color red.
Individuals, both males and females who were wearing the color red themselves found that they tended to attract more attention from the opposite sex.
Researchers found that when a man was wearing red (a shirt, sweater, jacket or even a red tie) women found him more sexually desirable and attractive.
Women wearing red tops (dresses, sweaters, blouses, jackets, scarves) were considered to be much more sexually appealing by men than when they were wearing colors other than red.
Regardless of what the red item of clothing was, the reaction was the same.
The Power of Red to Attract or Influence the Opposite Sex
In addition to enhancing romantic feelings in men, researchers found that men were prompted to sit closer, and ask more intimate questions, when the woman was wearing red. They also perceived the woman in red to be sexier, or more likely to be interested in sex.
Men were found to be more willing to approach a woman wearing red, because they felt less likely to be rejected, and interpreted red clothing as an indication that the woman was more open to, or would respond more positively to their sexual advances.
If the woman was wearing red, the men were even willing to spend more money on her on a date.
The sexual attraction generated by the color red was found to be a two-way street.
When a man was wearing the color red - whether it was a shirt, jacket, sweater, or tie – women perceived him to be more sexually desirable, more powerful and more physically attractive. The same held true if the man was surrounded by or framed by red.
Other studies on the color red found that people were more likely to become sexually aroused when they were in a room with red walls, or in a room decorated primarily in red.
The most interesting about these findings is that both males and females were completely unaware of the impact the color red had on their perceptions of others, or how it influenced their behavior toward, members of the opposite sex.
What the Findings about the Color Red Mean to Your Relationship
The color red could influence your spouse or significant other to cheat on you -- regardless of whether he or she in a room decorated in red, in the presence of someone of the opposite sex who is wearing red, or whether he or she wearing the color red.
Keep in mind that the color red works subconsciously. Your spouse or significant other may not even be aware of its effect.
Other studies on the color red found that people are more likely to become sexually aroused when they were in a room with red walls, or in a room decorated primarily in red.
The Bottom Line on the Color Red
Remember, red is a very powerful color which has an effect on both men and women that’s hard to resist.

Remember to use a red background if you are selling items on eBay and other sites. BBL

Wednesday, May 22, 2013


Icon on the Savior, 1658

Painted Icons
Victoria Finlay, in her introductory chapter of Color: A Natural History of the Palette, states: “One of the most extraordinary moments in the history of paint happened in eighth-century Byzantium. Painted icons had all but been destroyed after senior church members argued it was against God’s teaching to make images.”
After much debate, it was resolved that the icons were celebrations of the natural gifts of God, not only in their depictions, but also in their materials. By using plants and rocks and insects and eggs, God was glorified through the body of the artwork. Even today Orthodox icon painters choose pigments that are as natural as possible.
The former Brother Aidan had been an Orthodox monk for sixteen years before leaving his order to marry. Aiden Hart is today a New Zealand icon painter. He has found that natural colors fit with his sense of aesthetics as well as his theology.
He demonstrates the subtle difference in paint by pouring a little French ultramarine powder, invented in the nineteenth century, onto his palm. “All these crystals are the same size, and they reflect the light too evenly. It makes the paint less interesting than if you use real ultramarine ground from stones. The natural paints are not perfect. Humanity, like all Creation, was created pure but not perfect, and the purpose of being born is to reach your true potential. Grinding a piece of natural rock so that it becomes the blush on a saint’s cheek can be seen as a parallel transformation.”
The Orthodox tradition emphasizes the light inside every human being. Icon paintings begin with light, which seems to shine through the pigments and also through the gold laid on top. Hart explains: “The intention is to introduce you to reality, not to imitate nature. It is to show you not what you see, but what is real.”

The Saviour.Icon of the Savior by Aiden Hart.

Red, White & Hue

"Everything changed when we stood up," says winemaker Kale Anderson about the primacy of sight among our five senses. "When our faces were near the ground, we pretty much smelled or tasted our way around. But as soon as we stood up on our hind legs, we began to emphasize our vision." (Shall we assume the author is referring to eons ago when our ancestors might have been on all fours?-BBL)
And so, as Anderson goes about making wine for Pahlmeyer Vineyards in Napa Valley, he attends to his wines' colors.
"One of the first impressions of wine is sight," he says. "It sets our expectations. And in the psychology of wine, that expectation can make how we appreciate the wine or not."
Anderson is talking about how deep, dark hues in a red wine can raise expectations of tasting deliciousness; how a glint of green in a white wine can indicate its youthful freshness; how an edge of brown in the color of any wine signifies age or senescence.
While the color of a wine may indicate certain things about it, we nonetheless still give primacy to its aromas and flavors. We keep our faces close to the ground, as it were, when appreciating wine. That is, we stick our noses and mouths into the bowl of the glass with nary a glance at it.
So let's take a look at wine.
Most of the color in any wine — white, pink or red, but especially the latter two — comes from the skins of the grapes that make it. "The pigments of wine are in the grapes," says Chris Howell, winemaker at Cain Vineyard and Winery, also in Napa Valley. "It's completely natural, just like color in berries or cherries, or green or black tea, or the color of leaves on trees."
We steep tea in very hot water to extract its color (and aromas and tannins); we do the same with grapes into wine. "It's very important," adds Howell, "to recognize that near or in the skins of the grapes are also the perfumes (of the wine)."
Different grapes at their maximum ripeness give different hues to their wines. Thick-skinned red (sometimes called "black") grapes such as syrah or malbec make for heavily pigmented wines. Not so with thinner-skinned red grapes such as pinot noir or nebbiolo. (The pulp and juice of all but a handful of the thousands of wine grapes is virtually colorless.)
That is why you should expect a malbec to be nearly opaque, as well as be wary of a pinot noir that looks like a syrah. That pinot probably was overextracted, hence less what it ought to be, less "pinot-y."
Likewise, if a dry riesling appears as gold as a chardonnay, that ain't right either (or vice versa, if a chardonnay is as light and ephemeral as a riesling, more bad news).
How to read the color in wine
The best way to see the various hues in a glass of wine is to hold the partially filled glass by the stem with the rim facing away from you, against a white surface, at a 45-degree angle, in natural or incandescent (non-neon) light, looking down through the bowl of the glass.
Don't do what is instinctive and hold the glass of wine up to the light. "Oh, it's a wonderful thing to do," says winemaker Chris Howell, "but it should be just for toasting the gods or the sun; it's not the best way to see color."
It's important, of course, to use a clear, smooth- and thin-walled glass, not one that is colored or etched. You can see color in various places, but three views are most important:
At the front edge, toward the lip of the glass, you'll see the least intense color, but also where the light indicates the purest hue.
In the thickest place, the center or the "heart," you'll see how opaque the wine is, giving you a sense of how dense the wine will be to your palate.
3 And at the edges, a set of two "parentheses," you can see glints of other colors such as green (in white wines) or blue (in young red wines).
  • The hues at the far edge will also indicate age (or, worse, spoilage). Over time, red wines tend to age from purple- or blue-tinged red, to garnet or ruby, to brick red, to finally a tawny or oranged brown. White wines go from hay- or light yellow-colored, to golden and, finally, to something like the same in red wines, a tawny brown. At either far end, a red or white wine is probably no longer enjoyable.
  • Some red wines such as barbera or zinfandel remain purple-red for much of their lives; others such as nebbiolo begin and remain "middle-aged" in color — garnet or red-brick; still others such as pinot noir ought never be intensely dark.
Bill St John has been writing and teaching about wine for more than 40 years.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Music & Color Connection

Bach to the blues, our emotions match music to colors

Published: Friday, May 17, 2013 - 10:40 in Psychology & Sociology
Whether we're listening to Bach or the blues, our brains are wired to make music-color connections depending on how the melodies make us feel, according to new research from the University of California, Berkeley. For instance, Mozart's jaunty Flute Concerto No. 1 in G major is most often associated with bright yellow and orange, whereas his dour Requiem in D minor is more likely to be linked to dark, bluish gray. Moreover, people in both the United States and Mexico linked the same pieces of classical orchestral music with the same colors. This suggests that humans share a common emotional palette -- when it comes to music and color -- that appears to be intuitive and can cross cultural barriers, UC Berkeley researchers said.
"The results were remarkably strong and consistent across individuals and cultures and clearly pointed to the powerful role that emotions play in how the human brain maps from hearing music to seeing colors," said UC Berkeley vision scientist Stephen Palmer, lead author of a paper published this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Using a 37-color palette, the UC Berkeley study found that people tend to pair faster-paced music in a major key with lighter, more vivid, yellow colors, whereas slower-paced music in a minor key is more likely to be teamed up with darker, grayer, bluer colors.
"Surprisingly, we can predict with 95 percent accuracy how happy or sad the colors people pick will be based on how happy or sad the music is that they are listening to," said Palmer, who will present these and related findings at the International Association of Colour conference at the University of Newcastle in the U.K. on July 8. At the conference, a color light show will accompany a performance by the Northern Sinfonia orchestra to demonstrate "the patterns aroused by music and color converging on the neural circuits that register emotion," he said.
The findings may have implications for creative therapies, advertising and even music player gadgetry. For example, they could be used to create more emotionally engaging electronic music visualizers, computer software that generates animated imagery synchronized to the music being played. Right now, the colors and patterns appear to be randomly generated and do not take emotion into account, researchers said.
They may also provide insight into synesthesia, a neurological condition in which the stimulation of one perceptual pathway, such as hearing music, leads to automatic, involuntary experiences in a different perceptual pathway, such as seeing colors. An example of sound-to-color synesthesia was portrayed in the 2009 movie The Soloist when cellist Nathaniel Ayers experiences a mesmerizing interplay of swirling colors while listening to the Los Angeles symphony. Artists such as Wassily Kandinksky and Paul Klee may have used music-to-color synesthesia in their creative endeavors.
In the first experiment, participants were asked to pick five of the 37 colors that best matched the music to which they were listening. The palette consisted of vivid, light, medium, and dark shades of red, orange, yellow, green, yellow-green, green, blue-green, blue, and purple.
Participants consistently picked bright, vivid, warm colors to go with upbeat music and dark, dull, cool colors to match the more tearful or somber pieces. Separately, they rated each piece of music on a scale of happy to sad, strong to weak, lively to dreary and angry to calm.
Two subsequent experiments studying music-to-face and face-to-color associations supported the researchers' hypothesis that "common emotions are responsible for music-to-color associations," said Karen Schloss, a postdoctoral researchers at UC Berkeley and co-author of the paper.
For example, the same pattern occurred when participants chose the facial expressions that "went best" with the music selections, Schloss said. Upbeat music in major keys was consistently paired with happy-looking faces while subdued music in minor keys was paired with sad-looking faces. Similarly, happy faces were paired with yellow and other bright colors and angry faces with dark red hues.
Next, Palmer and his research team plan to study participants in Turkey where traditional music employs a wider range of scales than just major and minor. "We know that in Mexico and the U.S. the responses are very similar," he said. "But we don't yet know about China or Turkey."
Other co-authors of the study are Zoe Xu of UC Berkeley and Lilia Prado-Leon of the University of Guadalajara, Mexico.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Color Impacts Purchasing

Color has as much of an impact on our purchasing power as almost anything else. But where does color psychology come into play when brands go against the grain?
For example, green packaging is for cheese and onion crisps (or chips for our American cousins). Simple, right? Not so fast. Walkers, the UK’s leading crisp manufacturer, uses blue for its cheese & onion, but did it do Walkers any harm? Far from causing confusion, the difference in colour has seen Walkers chart an inexorable march to the top of the UK crisp market.”
Burger King, McDonald’s and KFC all prominently feature red on their signs. Red has been shown to stimulate the appetite, so it should give them a competitive edge over those food outlets that don’t adopt the colour in their branding. And, indeed, the majority of fast-food restaurants feature red prominently in their colour schemes. What do we expect the primary colours of the number one fast food chain in the U.S. to be? Certainly not pink and purple as is the case for Taco Bell.
So, is it better to stand out from the crowd or go with similar branding so that it leads to a universal standard? Perhaps turning left when all others turn right is the way to go. When Apple launched its iMac G3, instead of using beige or grey as was de rigueur for its contemporaries, Apple decided to offer a variety of bright colours. From that moment, Apple began the rise from also-ran to market leader.
Our brains register colour, shape and then text when it comes to a seeing a brand. And of course brands (at least the big ones) conduct extensive research when it comes to choosing colours for their products, depending on the target audience. Want to make something exclusive? Black is likely to be the predominant colour (think American Express’s most exclusive card).
While colour is far from the primary reason why any of these brands has reached the top, it is an example of the kind of mould-breaking thinking that takes them there. In the end, the true color of success can very well be a mark of familiarity or individuality.
Richard Musgrave is a financial assistant at gyro London.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Feng Shui Color Recommendations

Earth colors, from pale yellow all the way to ochre, help ground and anchor us, according to feng shui.( / May 14, 2013)

Color plays a pivotal role in feng shui, sometimes called the Chinese art of placement. A key concept in feng shui is that each hue has an influence over aspects of our lives, ranging from our health and wealth to our success and ability to find business opportunities. In fact, all feng shui is related to wealth -- the "wealth" of good health, the "wealth" of opportunity, the "wealth" of love and happy relationships.

You can use these guidelines when doing something as simple as selecting a comforter color so it has exactly the kind of feng shui "wealth" you seek.

When it comes to key influences in our lives, few are important as the bedroom in feng shui, and in particular, sleep. The time we spend sleeping is so central and important to our lives that the colors we surround ourselves with have a profound influence over us. By selecting a comforter color based on its specific inspiration, we'll have more impact on this particular area of our lives.


In feng shui, the color green is related to business opportunity and earned income. Often green is preferred over the second income color of blue, but these two shades represent different aspects of wealth: generating and accumulated money. Starting with pale blue and ranging all the way to black, these colors represent generating income and business opportunities. If this is what you'd like more of in your life, blues or black comforter colors are the best for your bedroom.

When your finances are on the slim side, colors that represent accumulated wealth are what you want. Those hues range from mint to deep forest green, with a medium green shade as the prime color of amassed money. Target's Room Essentials green Tulip comforter set is a great example of the type of a green comforter that represents accumulated wealth.


There's another indirect route to wealth through your social status, family name, or high profile. In feng shui, this is represented by the color red. Shades can run the range from shell pink to deep orchid. Still another way to success is through networking connections, travel and international contacts. In feng shui, these areas are represented by metallic shades, such as white, gold, gray and silver. Bed, Bath and Beyond's Camille and J. Queen Contessa comforter sets feature the satiny silver and luminous gold shades associated with world travel and networking prowess (


Even those who seem to have it all might be missing some of the most fulfilling aspects of life: love and happiness. When relationships are difficult and love is absent, the element of earth helps to ground and anchor us, according to feng shui. Shades of yellow, from buttercup to ochre, are the shades to choose. A stylish choice is the Trina Turk Ikat comforter set ( These shades also represent spirituality, education and making good decisions. For happy family relationships and good health, rich brown and cocoas create growth and harmony.