Let’s clean our glasses… it’s a beautiful world

in Color

Aesthetics are like paradigms, they are evident from the moment we are born, in the things we see, the emotions we feel, the colors we taste, the smell we hear. Aesthetics constantly goes through changes and adapts itself to the environment and to the society.

The less you know about design, the more your individual aesthetics sense comes in to play. A couple of years ago while designing a poster for a spa, the client was quite adamant to use the color red on his poster. It seemed to clash with my tinted sense of aesthetics - databases of knowledge on color theory, using peaceful and soothing blue to denote peace, calmness; lighter shade of blue would also reflect pureness, lightness and tranquility. But how was I to convince this client?

He wanted to use the color red because he felt the color red ‘stands out.’  Every person in the design industry must have heard this one, ‘RED stands out.’ It could probably be the fact that after the color red, the human eye cannot recognize any higher band of colours (infrared) in the spectrum.

So what’s really wrong if the client wants a red poster for his spa? Can we force him to alter his views and perception which saw red as the standing out color to somebody else’s perception that black is the standing out color? Red might be the client’s individual taste of color, but how do we communicate this to a society with norms and regulations? Isn’t that why we created global standards? Everything has a standard to live up to nowadays; it’s easier to work with standards too. Buttons remain the same in 80% of the websites - glossy, double shaded ‘web 2.0’.

It wouldn’t do us any harm to say that ‘web 2.0’ is a paradigm too. When a designer comes up with a better button design for the web page, not necessarily glossy or double shaded, it usually gets rejected. We generally don’t like changes because it takes a really long time to adapt. We prefer this factory prepared ‘one-size-fits-all’ design ideas, and the client buys it because it is on par with the benchmark website.

It’s easier said than done to create your own benchmarks, but we need to see a brand as an individual and not succumb to the client’s personal aesthetic sensibilities. As a designer, I feel it’s our responsibility to come up with good functional designs and educate clients about designs, about the need to use a particular color, font, image etc.

Getting back to aesthetic sensibilities, as designers we should feed our brain with a wide range of imagery to constantly change our glasses of perception. One’s foundation of design sensibilities should not be trends and fads – it should be balance, rhythm, harmony and functionality.

Finally, let’s sum up with this – “lizard brain is what black is to fashion like blue is to corporates. But we aren’t all wearing black right now, are we? Check just in case!

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Nisha Verma has 8 articles online and 2 fans

I am working in a digital agency that provides digital strategy, user experience, interface design, application development and brand activation.

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Let’s clean our glasses… it’s a beautiful world

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This article was published on 2011/08/31