I’ve been thinking a lot about rainbows and why I am so attracted to them (and the way they represent the color spectrum as a whole) and why they sooth me so.
As a designer (and artist-type), it’s safe to say that I have always been attracted to color. The right color or combination of colors can make or break a design, a room, a meal - hell, my day. In the dead of winter (like today) with a gray, overcast sky and a vast dead brown dirty landscape, I find myself depressed in the absence of color.
I understand the psychology of color and that certain colors can elicit certain emotional responses (see some links below). For me, it’s my fascination with the entire spectrum together and in ROY G. BIV order and, more specifically - why does it make me so happy and self soothed. I love nothing better than creating a color wheel out of - well anything (as seen by the rainbow pancakes I made last week). I have the ideas swirling about other food color wheels, a color wheel based Easter egg tree…and on and on. One of my most cherished possessions is my large set of Pantone swatch books (and thankfully, as a designer, they were tax deductible - those suckers are stupid expensive).
It saddens me that the rainbow color spectrum is so easily associated with certain movements and social icons because (in my opinion) it triggers an immediate response for people. Don’t get me wrong, I am *wholeheartedly* pro gay pride and yes, I myself also loved unicorns and Rainbow Bright as a young girl…but the emotional responses I have are not based on my social/political beliefs or childhood nostalgia.
Here is where I think I might get a little goofy for some. I believe it has to do with the fact that a “rainbow” (or visual spectrum) is how the human visibly responds to wavelengths (energy) - only a small portion of the electromagnetic spectrum as a whole. We all know that a specific color is perceived when the light is reflected (or absorbed) at a specific wavelength (probably the only thing I actually remember from Mr. Hansel’s 8th grade science class). There are waves above and below the visible spectrum - radio, microwave, infrared, ultraviolet, x-rays and gamma.
So in essence, color is simply energy that we, as humans, can perceive. The power of the waves outside of the visual spectrum (mentioned above) are numerous and powerful. They cook our food, kill cancerous cells, give us the ability to communicate, etc. - it stands to reason, that the power that the visible spectrum holds (right in the middle of those other waves) should be just as powerful.
I don’t know if that makes any sense, but for me, it makes me feel connected. Maybe that’s why I love the rainbow - it gives me a sense of connectivity to all thing surrounding me. Makes me feel a little more whole? More human? Less insignificant?
There is no denying, that for me, the mere thought of color on a dreary or challenging day can pull me out of a funk. Does it have to do with energy? I don’t know…but, I like to think that by admiring and basking in the colors that make up my world - I am a little bit more connected to what makes us tick.
Links on Color Theory:
http://www.fi.edu/color/color.html & http://www.fi.edu/color/rainbow.html
http://ascension-stgermain.com/rainbow-rays-article.html « a little too out there for me, but I like the idea
Other random color resources for designers:
http://www.pantone.com/pages/pantone/index.aspx « duh