21st March 2013 is International Colour Day!

Did you know it is International Colour Day this Thursday 21st March?

Logo designed by Hosanna Yau

Logo designed by Hosanna Yau

President of the Association International de la Coleur (AIC), Berit Bergström explains very well in this extract why we should celebrate this day.

An international colour day has been considered as appropriate since colour is, thanks to sight, one of the most influential phenomena in people’s lives and also one of the channels that most greatly contributes to the perception of reality. All around the world memorable colour activities are developed during the same day.
The proposal to establish this international colour day is spread throughout our international network and has been supported by its members. AIC is today represented by 38 different nations and I hope that you all will start your preparations for celebrating March 21st 2013!
The adoption of an international day of colour and light was proposed in 2008 by Maria Joao Durao, the Portuguese Association. Light and colour are inseparable. Colour is always connected with light, without light no colour therefore an international colour day will also celebrate the light.
Few things affect us as much as colour. It plays a vital part in our surroundings, whether at work, in public spaces or in our homes. Colour and light seem to interest everybody and are such a common component of our existence that we don’t give it a thought, in spite of all vision. All surfaces are coloured.  Colour has an outstanding role in our society and tells us much about different cultures as a crucial aspect in defining our identity.
March 21st, every year the “equinox” – aequus (equal) and nox (night).
Around the equinox, the night and day are approximately equally long, symbolically relating to the complementary nature of light and darkness, light and shadow expressed in all human cultures.
Many different colour activities can be arranged worldwide in such a day. Here are some of the activities and events that could be unfolded on the International Colour Day:
•       Arts exhibitions, architectural projects, design, decoration, fashion….
•       Meetings, debates, scientific events…..
•       Workshops on the use of colour and light for both adults and children.
•       Contests on colour and light design.
•       Decide your identity colour, and wear it and use it during this day!
•       Start discussions…..
I realise it will be difficult to think more than usual about colour on Thursday because I   analyse colour and colour combinations all the time, every single day. I find it impossible to go anywhere without giving the colours around me a lot of thought. It’s a habit that can on occasion be quite tiring because I find it almost impossible to stop analysing and have a clear or empty head. I was attempting to explain this to a friend last week to find out if she did this too. I have come to the conclusion that we all look for different things despite looking at exactly the same view. I tend to immediately get rid of the detail and pull the view into simplistic flat blocks of colour. I didn’t think it was an odd habit until I started talking about it! I expect some people will be more interested in intricate details and be inspired by ornamentation or light and shadow. I think perhaps it is because I get confused when I am surrounded by too much detail and I therefore automatically start simplifying my surroundings.
How do you look at things?
I have tried to demonstrate in the photos below what I tend to do, let me know if you do this too!
Primary blocks
Teal, white grey
Red, white and blue
pink roses, deep door
On  Colour Day this year, I have decided to do a quick tally on what colour interior magazines are using on their front cover titles – should be a fun task and interesting to see what they think we are currently responding too.
How will you celebrate it?

16 thoughts on “21st March 2013 is International Colour Day!

  1. I think to a degree I simplify things when I look at them, but maybe not as much about the color. Maybe just as much about the light and dark, or something – it’s hard to figure. I like your examples. They’d be great for an art class, don’t you think? As for celebrating – I’ll have to see if I remember! Actually for a long time I steered clear of color, doing drawings, conceptual art, may a little sculpture. It took years before I could “get” color, and I love it, but somehow I think when I was younger it was all I could do visually to track the shapes of things, without the color – or at least that was what interested me. Clothing, too – I was very safe with color but I might be more experimental with shape, texture, etc. Color was challenging. Sometimes I think that relates to be emotionally less comfortable back then, color being related to feeling, and expressing feeling being pretty intimidating when I as younger.


    • That is so interesting and I think a lot of people play safe when wearing colour – I do too, I always wear broken hues although I do like to wear a lot of pure white in the summer, perhaps a time when I feel more reckless!

      As for staying clear of colour in your art for a long time, I think a lot of artists do that as line is often more crucial than colour to begin with – it makes me cringe though to read the nineteenth century French art critic Charles Blanc dismissing colour altogether and ‘delegating’ it to females! I quote from Blanc, ‘painting courts its own destructions and will be corrupted by colour as humanity was corrupted by Eve’ !!!

      Thank for your interesting comment, I must pop over to visit your site to see what you are up too.

      Be in touch.


  2. OMG, that’s quite a quote! But the world is full of thoughts like that; we can usually ignore them. What do you mean by “broken hues”? Different hues of the same color? Living in NYC for a long time, it became easy to wear black – and I’m sure it plays a role in keeping people from being overstimulated – there’s just too much going on, something has to recede. And don’t forget color field painters – for them, line wasn’t the thing at all. Going back to your post, I also think I tend to zero in on one detail in a scene. So my versions of your second images might be a detail within the overall image.


    • I know some quotes, especially from a bygone era, are quite shocking.

      Well a broken hue is a colour that is a combination in unequal proportions of all the primaries (I wrote a post about them a couple of years ago https://unifiedspace.wordpress.com/2011/03/22/broken-hues-and-tonal-balance/ and I really like the earthy natural looking colours they form.

      Very good point about NYC and wearing of black! Actually if you think of very empty desolate places in the world often people wear quite bright colours so I think you have come up with a great theory there!

      Ah, yes, that’s a good technique to zero in on a small part of an image, I will try doing that when I am out tomorrow, it will be interesting for me as I usually try to take on the ‘whole’ which as I have said bamboozles me at times.

      Thank you so much for your comments as they have really made me think.


  3. International colour day sounds fun, I didn’t know anything about it. I am looking forward to seeing the results of your magazine front covers, I quite like the idea of choosing an identity colour and using it throughout the day.


    • Yes, I do too actually Sandra. I remember seeing a massive wall of coloured badges with words on each of the colours that suggested a mood ie blue badge may have said ‘pensive’ and it was displayed in a busy rail station and folk were encouraged to pick a badge/colour that reflected their mood on that day and wear it, brilliant!


  4. Pingback: Splashing out with colour | SA Décor & Design Blog

  5. Pingback: 21 MAR INTERNATIONAL COLOUR DAY | his1blog

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