Who doesn’t enjoy a colourful experience? We’ve been experimenting here at Kit and Caboodle, researching into different ways people interact and engage in colour as part of their everyday existence.
What greater proof of our need for colour do we need to look for beyond the windows displaying the hand-coloured rainbows, crayoned by schoolchildren on lockdown as a result of the Corona Virus quarantine?
As a team, we are learning more about the principles behind colour theory and convention.
But can colour actually affect a person’s mood or wellbeing?
Papyrus scrolls dating back to 1550BC suggest that the ancient Egyptians used colour to cure ailments. Ancient Chinese texts also record colour therapies.
Looking into it, we discovered that colour therapy became more popular during the 20th century, when Swiss psychologist Dr Max Lüscher developed the Lüscher-Colour-Diagnostic test. An individual places eight coloured bottles in order of preference and apparently this not only reveals worries but even offers solutions.
It’s also called chromotherapy. We soon found out that it has passionate advocates as well as detractors who brush it aside as a “pseudo-science” and say there is no scientific evidence or research to validate the belief that the certain colours have “vibrational qualities” which can support wellbeing and generate positive moods. This is distinct from the use of light frequencies in certain medical procedures such as neonatal jaundice treatment – a scientifically accepted medical treatment, for example.
Supporters believe that by immersing an individual in one of the seven colours of the spectrum that particularly resonates with themn, it creates a moment of relaxation, reflection and rejuvenation. They believe that each of the seven colours - red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet- each relates to one of the seven chakras or energetic centres of the human body, first mentioned in early Hindu traditions.
Accompany a colour specific environment with sounds, tastes and aromas to engage the five senses in a complementary way, and it’s claimed that people will leave a treatment or even immersion in a “colour-based” experiential event feeling more balanced, rejuvenated and harmonious.
Benefits of colour immersion are claimed to be:
Help with insomnia
Counteract the effects of jetlag
Increase energy levels
Wanting to learn more to appreciate the importance and effect of colour in life, we worked on the concept of bringing the power of colour energy into events with Valerie and Dominique of Co-nekt Colour Experts. They have a background that combines art, interior design and fashion.
Their own passion for colour really ignited when they initiated PANTONE UNIVERSE brand, a world-renowned authority on colour and colour systems using leading technology at the time.
From PANTONE, they moved to Brazil to incubate sustainable creative projects with women in education. Noticing how people there maintain a balanced and harmonious life by reconnecting with nature, they wanted to explore combining the beauty of colour with the healing power of nature but in an urban setting. “When you are connected with nature, you are at one, you are at peace, it heals you on an emotional, psychological and spiritual level,” they say.
There is anecdotal evidence that colour affects our mood and general wellbeing. In 1958, US scientist Robert Gerard conducted a study that claimed red stimulates and makes us anxious, while blue promotes calm. He also demonstrated how colour could affect appetite, blood pressure and aggression.
Prisons in Texas have begun to dress inmates in pink, partly to humiliate them, and partly because pink is said to reduce aggression, according to The Observer newspaper in 2008.
As event designers, planners and producers – we are aware of the importance of colour in developing an experience. This informs and inspires our work, whether sticking to brand guidelines for a clients BVI or Pantone when creating promotional collateral for a launch, or immersing ourselves in the cultural conventions of a particular time or place that has inspired a contemporary event, such as the award-winning Chowpatty Beach experience we designed and installed for the cutting-edge Indian restaurant chain, Dishoom.
As befits a creative team, we enjoy bringing colour into our office life and since working remotely, it’s been fun to see who takes a sense of colour into their home life – in the form of their favourite coffee mug or an eye-catching print on the wall behind them. Some might stick to serious black or grey – preferring to bring neutrality to the creative process to allow the colour to emerge from the process itself. Others will dress up for the Google hang-out morning team meeting, wearing a bright hairband or even a tie, to add a cheerful touch to their on-screen persona.
Let’s face it … we’re living life in full colour, each in our own way. Oh yes - and we are barmy. It’s official. So if you’d like us to develop a colourful installation for you this summer, once everything’s back to some kind of normal – give us a call.
“It was brilliant working with Creative Director, Tanya Clark and team. They took our (slightly barmy) thoughts, and came up with equally barmy, but coherent and wonderfully creative concepts. They then took these concepts and turned them into amazing designs and finally brought this all to life with resourcefulness and discipline. The pop-up on the South Bank was a crazy, colourful, beautiful summer-long party, and re-defined pop-up’s. Would be delighted to work with them again.