22.12.2011 § 1 Comment
I have not paid any attention in English literature, but I surely know a few Chinese novelists who described colors with inspiring insight. The words and objects they use to describe (and mentally simulate) colors create aesthetic tension. For instance, Eileen Chang, one of the greatest modern short novelists in Chinese literature, depicted a metal window frame color in an old Hong Kong mansion as “chicken fat yellow.” I assume it is a rich cream color. The fact that she used an unorthodox way to describe a color left a deep impression on me.
Orange and tangerine are fruits and are also used as colors. Compared with chicken fat yellow, orange is a mundane but safe way to describe a color. Using a fruit name is a convenient way to direct one’s mind to a certain feeling. People will connect the visual feeling of orange with the emotions they have experienced through taste, and since orange is a common fruit, there are less likely to be too many or far divergent reactions when the word “orange” is mentioned. It is definitely true that our minds echo with our own past experiences, as everyone has their own reactions when viewing the same color. However, the color orange tends to connect with a brilliant, clear and pleasant feeling.
We can also understand colors and color names further by comparison. For instance, the color orange would be a bit less crystal and crispy than lemon. To me, lemon yellow is almost aerial and ephemeral while orange is more prudent, more down to earth, and more intensely happy.
Orange is a popular color right now. We’re expecting to see more saturated oranges like the tangerine we forecasted for 2012 and Tangerine Tango, the Pantone 2012 Color of the Year. I believe color trends are a function of impermanence. Trends help to complement people’s mental states both temporally and emotionally. What I mean is that it is not possible for humans to live without change; if nature does not create change, humans will within their own means. That is how color or fashion trends are set into motion. This year, it is tangerine’s turn.