Blog/How do we experience colour and light?
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How do we experience colour and light?

Colour is a natural phenomenon. It is the product of the refraction, reflection and absorption of light. But colour is even more: It is a genetic factor in the origin and diversification of life on earth. Colours are an important means of orientation for innumerable forms of life. They are a means of communication, reflect social needs and are even a part of our socio-cultural communication. In pre-modern times, the social order was communicated not only in the materials, which were used in architecture, but also by the colours inside and outside of the buildings. For Le Corbusier, colours had the same importance as a layout plan. Today, more and more architects use colours in their work. Architects, artists and designers rely on colours as an important part of their creativity. But they also use them to create rooms, where people can feel comfortable or work more creatively or productively – thus also fostering innovation.

Colours influence how we feel
But how do we define colour? The Swiss artist and art theoretician Johannes Itten hat contributed a lot to our understanding the colour theory – and arranged the colours in the form of a circle. Inside this ring, we find the primary colours red, yellow and blue. In a second ring, he places the secondary colours orange, green and violet. Finally, on the outer ring, we find the tertiary colours – those colours which are the result of mixing a primary and a secondary colour. If you add the effect of warm and cold colours to this, we can clearly recognize how colours influence our feelings. Cold colours such as blue or green let us feel the temperature colder than it is. In addition, they slow down the circulation of our blood. This is why we feel more comfortable in red, orange or brown rooms than in green, blue or grey ones.

Why don’t you grab some coloured pencils and get back to the days of childhood to experiment a bit with the colours. Try out, which colours suit your current mood best – and what happens if you deliberately choose another colour. If you want to learn more about colour theory, please read our Whitepaper.


Johannes Itten