In 2006 while I was still working at Benjamin Moore, I took a Colour Training seminar put on by the Natural Color Institute from Stockholm, Sweden. We learned about a Natural Color System which builds on how the human sees color. Color is a subjective visual sensation and to characterize it, you have to describe what you see. You cannot just identify it with pigments, or wavelengths of light. When you think about it like that, it is much more complex than just what we see and what we like!
Another part of the course, was arranging little tiny chips of colour in an arrangement of lightness and darkness, or according to hue and many other criteria. This sounds a lot easier than it is when you have a gazillion little chips in front of you and they are just slightly different from one another. However, it quickly becomes apparant when you are doing the exercises, how you see colour and how you are trained to see it. So it certainly gave me an appreciation for the people that cannot make colour decisions when it comes to picking colours from the enormous wall of paint chips at their local paint store.
During casual conversation at this course, we learned about SYNESTHESIA. Funny enough, I learned that I am afflicted with it (but it is not a negative thing)! As the definition states, this is “a condition in which one type of sensory stimulation creates perception in another sense.” In layman’s terms, this is when you may picture something like numbers in colour, or in my case, the days of the week and months of the year in colour. I thought that everyone must picture things that way, but in our group of approximately 15 people, only two of us had it. So for instance, if you ask me any day of the week, I ‘see’ that day in colour. Tuesday: yellow. Thursday: maroon. Sunday: navy blue. And so on! I guess I never really thought about it, but it didn’t ever occur to me that not everyone saw things this way. I cannot say whether or not it has really helped me in my colour career, but it sure makes for an interesting conversation topic!Do you see the days of the week in colour?