Be Our Valentine! Share the Color Love…

Be Our Valentine! Share the Color Love…

COLOURlovers is a welcoming, creative and supportive community and we want to hear you shout your love from the mountain tops for color. We want you to stand outside the tree in the front yard, late at night in the rain until color opens the bedroom window and tells you it loves you too. (Please don't actually wait outside our bedrooms...)

Did you know that two lovers of color met on this site a couple years ago and are now happily married? It has helped artists find ideas for their work... It has brought family members closer together and given friends and lovers something to share from thousands of miles away.
Flowers for love soft valentine

Profess Your Color Love...

Colors, Palettes and Patterns all tell stories and we want to hear what they are... How did you come to find COLOURlovers? How do you love thee? Why do you love Color so? Why can't you live without color?

Comment below with a palette, color or pattern badge and a short story as to how you love Color, or a fellow lover... or whatever you feel inspired to share.

Happy Valentines Day

According to the Greeting Card Association, 25 percent of all seasonal cards sent each year are valentines, making Valentine’s Day the second most popular card-sending occasion in the Unites States. Approximately 190 million Valentine’s Day cards are exchanged annually, not including classroom valentines sent between children at school.

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Navigating by Color in Maps

Navigating by Color in Maps

The basic functionality of a map is based exclusively on the ability of the map to be correctly interpreted by, well, everyone, including people who might be from out of town, who don't speak the native language, and have, in fact, never actually been to a city before. It is also important that the map be clear, concise and properly relate to the geography of the area. And since it is easier to tell if something is red or blue, rather than a U or a V, using many pretty colors will make it much easier to use, and, well, pretty.

So where did all the color come from?

imgby KICK Map

The current color system depicted on official subway maps (for New York City) was proposed by R. Raleigh D'Adamo, a lawyer who entered a contest sponsored by the Transit Authority in 1964. D'Adamo proposed replacing a map that used only three colors (representing the three operating entities of the subway network) with a map that used a different color for each line.

"Fundamental to my idea," Mr. D'Adamo said,"was the extensive use of color coding to indicate the various subway lines, and abandoning the old tradition of using only three colors, one for each of the original three companies."

Hagstrom had made his first map of the New York subway in 1936 with the IND in red, IRT in blue, and the BMT lines in yellow (later changed to green).

At the time, the London Underground used eight colors to represent eight subway lines. Paris employed eight colors for fifteen lines. New York used only three colors for 34 lines.The inescapable conclusion, Mr. D'Adamo argued in his winning entry, was that "maps of New York subways are trying to make too few colors do too much work."
- How the Subway Map Got its Color

Latest MTA Redesign

imgby KICK Map Lower Manhatten

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The Colors Inside the Human Body

The Colors Inside the Human Body

We might have a grasp of the colors that make up our skin, hair, eyes, and blood, but what about the rest of our internal systems?

The recent exhibitions of preserved human bodies has opened our eyes to color inspirations from within ourselves, literally. While the context of the colors can often leave us less inspired and, well, more nauseous, by viewing these colors in a new perspective we can gain an appreciation for the colors found in an, usually, unseen place.

According to the exhibit OUR BODY The Universe Within,

The process leaves even the finest, most delicate tissue structures virtually intact, down to the microscopic level, making the process invaluable for medical study. The organs are actually IDENTICAL to their pre-preservation state.
- From the Exhibit's Website


Color preserving embalming solutions where developed to preserve lifelike color and flexibility to aid in the study of the body
- From Wikipedia

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The Meanings of Flower Colors

The Meanings of Flower Colors

Ever find it challenging to put into words a wish, a desire or particularly a feeling? If so, perhaps color and flowers are the solution to help articulate the emotions we occasionally struggle to verbalize.

Color, of course, is not the only way to communicate with flowers. The “silent language” made popular and finessed by women during the reign of Queen Victoria (1837 - 1901) included color as well as quantity; the type of flower; placement and arrangement. This language was quite sophisticated and nuanced. So much so a slew of books were published to help guide and explain Floriography: the language of flowers.

While flowers have historically been used to express feelings of amore; the meaning of flowers – like any language – is living and ever-evolving. Flowers can communicate the wonderful kaleidoscope of emotions. If accuracy matters or rather, the fear of a blunder, remember: even experts disagree on the one true meaning of flowers.

Most important of all, loose interpretation is highly encouraged. Have fun, experiment and fear not the flower; the sentiment is what truly counts.

Red Flowers

img from top left to bottom right: Lida Rose, tanakawho, gailf548, Pétur Gauti.


The traditional color of love, Red excites. Red flowers are classic and can be a potent stimulant for a romantic liaison.
Symbolism: Passion, deep love, desire, beauty, respect, confidence, longing, courage, aristocratic, constancy.
Romantic message: I love you; I desire you, always.
Flower options: Long-stem Roses for the classic message. Anemones, Orchids, Zinnia, Dahlias, Amaryllis.

Pink Flowers

img from top left to bottom right: Tim Parkin, Essjay NZ, Muffet, Eric in SF.


Feeling frisky? Cotton candy or pale blush, pink is feminine fun, fun, fun. Pink flowers are a sweet reminder of childhood days.
Symbolism: Sweetness, playfulness, grace, admiration, gratitude.
Romantic message: Life with you is fun. I admire you and I’m thankful for you in my life.
Flower options: Peonies, hydrangeas, Stargazer lilies, Ranunculus, Roses, Tulips, Freesia, Zinnia, Camellias.

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Evoke by Usman Haque

Evoke by Usman Haque

Commissioned by Illuminating York 2007, Usman Haque created this imaginative interactive light projection installation that creates a surreal wrapping of color around the facade of York Minster. The colored light patterns start at the base of the building and move upward at a rate and pattern unique to the corresponding frequencies and rhythms of sound created by the people in the immediate surrounding area.

About the Project

A specially commissioned project for Illuminating York 2007 in northern England, Evoke is a massive animated projection that lights up the facade of York Minster in response to the public, who use their own voices to "evoke" colourful light patterns that emerge at the building's foundations and soar up towards the sky, giving the surface a magical feeling as it melts with colour.

The cathedral, built to link conceptually earth to the heavens, has been a site for the conveyance of words, dreams and aspirations for hundreds of years. The facade is designed to orient the gazes of passers-by upwards. As an attempt to continue this tradition, the patterns of Evoke are generated in realtime by the words, sounds, music and noises produced collectively by the public, determined by their particular voice characteristics. The colours will skim the surface of the Minster, pour round its features and crevasses, emerging finally near the top of the facade where they will sparkle high overhead.

People with voices of different frequencies, rhythms or cadences will be able to evoke quite different magical patterns upon the surface of the building - a staccato chirping will result in a completely different set of visual effects to a long howl for example, blending old and new to continue animating the facade of the Minster.
- Evoke by Haque Design + Research

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Colorful Allusions vol. 5

Colorful Allusions vol. 5

Though printed in black and white, great literature is bursting with vibrant colour. In this rebus-style puzzle, color words and parts of words have been replaced with colored boxes. Try to guess the exact hue of each. Roll your mouse over the colored boxes to reveal the missing words. Click the colored boxes to learn more about each hue. Special thanks to Paul Dean for his colorful research.img

imgimg by bleu celt

Some blues / Are sad / But some blues are glad / Dark and sad or bright and glad / We’re all blues / All shades / All hues / We’re all blues—"All Blues," music by Miles Davis, lyrics by Oscar Brown Junior. Originally released (without the lyrics) on the album Kind of Blue, 1959.img

imgimg by Orbital Joe

The sky was a miracle of purity, a miracle of azure. The sea was polished, was blue, was pellucid, was sparkling like a precious stone, extending on all sides, all round to the horizon as if the whole terrestrial globe had been one jewel, one colossal sapphire, a single gem fashioned into > a planet.—Joseph Conrad (1857-1924), Youth.img

imgimg by swanksalot

The white glaze carried a faint suggestion of red. As one looked at it, the red seemed to float up from deep within the white. The rim was faintly brown. In one place the brown was deeper. It was there that one drank? The rim might have been stained by tea, and it might have been stained by lips. Kikuji looked at the faint brown, and felt that there was a touch of red in it. Where her mother’s lipstick had sunk in? There was a red- black in the crackle too. The color of faded lipstick, the color of a wilted red rose, the color of old, dry blood. . . .”—Yasunari Kawabata, Thousand Cranes, translated from the Japanese by Edward G. Seidensticker, 1959.img

imgimg by aussie_patches

Ida Red, Ida green, prettiest girl I ever seen / Ida Red, Ida blue, I got stuck on Ida too / Ida Red, Ida white, love her true? I think I might / Ida Red, Ida pink, saw her in town, gave me a wink.—Ida Red, traditional, additions by Uncle Earl, 2005.img

Craig ConleyAbout the Guest Author, Craig ConleyWebsite: http://www.OneLetterWords.comCraig is an independent scholar and author of dozens of strange and unusual books, including a unicorn
field guide and a dictionary of magic words. He also loves color: Prof. Oddfellow
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The Pink and Blue Project by Jeongmee Yoon

The Pink and Blue Project by Jeongmee Yoon

How the color identities 'pink for girls and blue for boys' ever really got started; who knows, or, who really cares, but the fact is, these assignments do exist, and they are based solely on gender, making it nearly impossible for me to wear anything warmer than scarlet without affecting my internalized 'blue' masculinity and being called 'Strawberry Shortcake.'

While this question has been taken up by COLOURlovers before; and this person said this, and that person said that. It seems though, that these gender identity colors appeared after WWII, which also happens to coincide with the United States' greatest consumer expansion and the development of marketing, advertising and public relations, not that I'm inferring a correlation, but Barbie should be held accountable for at least some of it.

Jeongmee Yoon's 'The Pink and Blue Project' was inspired by this very observation of gender and color, and offers a visualization of this divided world of pink and blue.

About the Project

"The Pink and Blue Project" was at first motivated by my daughter. At five years old, she loves pink so much that she wants to wear only pink clothes and use only pink toys or objects.

I found that she is not unusual and most other little girls in the U.S. and South Korea love pink clothing, accessories and toys. This phenomenon seems widespread among various ethnic groups regardless of their cultural background. It could be the result of an influence of customs or the power of pervasive commercial advertisements for merchandise such as Barbie and Hello Kitty.

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Colors of a Well Aged Scotch

Colors of a Well Aged Scotch

Leafy. Floral. Nutty. Fruity. Smooth, Smokey. Buttery. Vanilla. Woody...Mmm...

These are just some of the adjectives used to describe the wide, wondrous range of Scotch whisky and on the surface it seems tasting whisky is similar to tasting wine.

Just as there are wine experts, there are whisky experts and within that title is a plethora of even more specific expertise claims; most of which becomes a dizzying array of advice and rules. I claim to be none of the previous. I simply like to enjoy a glass of Scotch whisky every now and then especially during the cool winter months of the calendar year.

It’s purely an emotional thing to prefer Scotch whisky during the winter. And the preference has everything to do with the colors.

Johnny Walker Scotch whisky image by rubicon
img by rubicon

Shades of Scotch

Contrary to what some may believe, the colors of Scotch whisky generally do not give an indication of quality, but may help narrow down personal preference after having tasted a few samples.

Photo by Markus Wichmann

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An Interview with Blue Iris, Pantone’s Color of the Year

An Interview with Blue Iris, Pantone’s Color of the Year

On December 10, 2007, Pantone, Inc. announced Blue Iris #18-3943 as the Pantone Color of the Year. Chosen to spend 2008 leading thousands of colors available in the Pantone universe, Blue Iris #18-3943 takes the honor is stride. Here are some highlights from a recent telephone interview:

When did you hear that you were chosen as the Pantone Color of the Year?

We don’t know until the public knows. I knew I was a finalist because execs at Pantone had been staring at my swatches, but I tried not to think about it until the announcement was made.

Were you surprised?

According to my agent. I had to be told twice, so yeah, I was surprised. At first I thought I was the Pantone color of the day, which is also a considerable honor.

Pantone calls you a “multifaceted hue reflecting the complexity of the world that surrounds us.” What does it feel like to hear comments like this?

I’m not allowed to blush because that would change my color, but if I was allowed I probably would.

Do you see the world as particularly complex?

I see the world as complex, but I also see this complexity as a result of how light manipulates cone cells in the retina. The world is a billion different things, yes, but if I ever get overwhelmed I just stop and think about how everything is just a variation of red, green, and blue.

Pantone says that emotionally you are “anchoring and meditative with a touch of magic.” Is this a fair representation of how you see yourself?

I can see how I may be perceived this way, but some of the colors I’ve dated might feel otherwise.

Are you dating anyone now?

I’m sorry I brought that up. I’d rather keep my personal life private.

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Is Visual Taste Perception Coloring Your Appetite?

Is Visual Taste Perception Coloring Your Appetite?

Is yellow sweet like a banana or sour like a lemon? From casual observations of our own eating we know that the visual 'taste' of food can be just as important as the ingredients in a dish. But how much does your internalized color and food associations - the ones we started developing from the very first time we saw our mothers' arm reach across and place before us a dark green round leafy Brussels sprout - impact what you are tasting now, and how are food producers exploiting this information to influence consumers?

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Some recent research might make you think twice about what you are tasting, and whether or not you might just be seeing a difference.

Food Color Research


A study published in the Journal of Consumer Research entitled, Taste Perception: More than Meets the Tongue:

The researchers manipulated orange juice by changing color (with food coloring), sweetness (with sugar), or by labeling the cups with brand and quality information. They found that though brand name influenced people's preferences for one cup of juice over another, labeling one cup a premium brand and the other an inexpensive store brand had no effect on perceptions of taste.

In contrast, the tint of the orange juice had a huge effect on the taster's perceptions of taste. As the authors put it: "Color dominated taste."

Given two cups of the same Tropicana orange juice, with one cup darkened with food coloring, the members of the researcher's sample group perceived differences in taste that did not exist. However, when given two cups of orange juice that were the same color, with one cup sweetened with sugar, the same people failed to perceive taste differences.

"It seems unlikely that our consumers deliberately eschewed taste for color as a basis for discrimination," write the authors. "Moreover, our consumers succumbed to the influence of color but were less influenced by the powerful lure of brand and price information."

- ScienceDaily: More Than Meets The Tongue: Color Of A Drink Can Fool The Taste Buds Into Thinking It Is Sweeter

Meaning, people thought the orange juice tasted different when there was no actual taste difference just because it was a slightly different color, but when the color remained the same, and the actual taste was changed, people didn't taste a difference.

More Food Color Research


During one experiment in the early 1970s people were served an oddly tinted meal of steak and french fries that appeared normal beneath colored lights. Everyone thought the meal tasted fine until the lighting was changed. Once it became apparent that the steak was actually blue and the fries were green, some people became ill.

Studies have found that the color of a food can greatly affect how its taste is perceived. Brightly colored foods frequently seem to taste better than bland-looking foods, even when the flavor compounds are identical. Foods that somehow look off-color often seem to have off tastes. For thousands of years human beings have relied on visual cues to help determine what is edible. The color of fruit suggests whether it is ripe, the color of meat whether it is rancid. Flavor researchers sometimes use colored lights to modify the influence of visual cues during taste tests.
-Excerpt taken from Erice Schlosser's book Fast Food Nation


Examples of Food That Probably Shouldn't Be the Color It Is

Crystal Pepsi
I think my first experience with Crystal Pepsi went something like this: "Alright Pepsi has a new lemon lime soda! Oh, wait! Why does it taste like cola!? Weird."

The last time I saw a cow produce bright yellow milk was when I wondered off from Woodstock into a neighboring farm. There I met a sociable hen named Margery who introduced me to that magical and mysterious milk cow.

And any other highly processed food targeted towards the most rational of consumers, children. But the bright colors do make it more exciting.
- Check out these previous food color posts:
Color Guide to Staying Healthy and Eating Right
Wonders of the Food Coloring World

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