Thursday, November 19, 2009

Blue Period

It has recently struck me that most of the stuff I wear is blue.

I'm not sure why, really. It's possible that I've come up with a surplus of blue clothing in the last few years. It's also possible that blue happens to be one of the more neutral colors to wear to one's office, where I spend most of my waking life nowadays. Whatever the case, I seem to have more than my fair share of blue polo shirts, blue t-shirts, and even blue underwear.

Now, I have to admit that blue is my favorite color. In fact, I tend to pinpoint a specific shade of blue — some sort of darkish navy blue that I can somehow identify only on sight — although not an inch of it is ever reflected in my wardrobe. What's weird is that I remember liking red a lot as a ten-year-old kid, which automatically raised the question in my mind: How do we choose certain colors to be our favorites, anyway?

I remember that my brother likes yellow, for example. My sister has long staked out a claim on blue. My friends and associates, moreover, have chosen an eclectic bunch of shades over the years: purple, gray, maroon, white, tweed... and at the moment, it's making me wonder if there was any rhyme or reason to the choice. Heck, I'm particularly curious about tweed. Who chooses tweed as a favorite color, for goodness' sakes?

Having dipped certain fingers into the design industry, I'm fully aware that certain colors produce certain subtle impressions, and have certain associations. Red, for example, is an "attention" color — it implies passion and anxiety, and is used to get us to focus on a specific item. It's why stop signs are red, it's why fire engines are red, and it's why most lipsticks are red.

If I remember correctly, blue is a "serene" color. It's used to denote a sense of coolness and relaxation, and usually gets associated with the elements of air and water. Blue just puts us at ease, more often than not. I obviously agree with this sentiment, although I still wonder if this connotation explains my attraction to blue, or if I'm only holding onto this as a convenient excuse.

That said, there's still the matter of different shades for a single color. Red and pink lie around the same area of the spectrum, for example, but modern society has ascribed different roles to those two. I would imagine that dark blue and light blue are distinct enough from each other to have different connotations as well, although that's where my knowledge runs out.

The jury, however, remains undecided on the difference in impression between, say, Navy Blue and Prussian Blue. The question of significance between, say, Scarlet, Vermilion, Rose, Blood Red and Fuchsia is probably enough to drive graphic artists to madness. And that doesn't even cover the debate between Ebony, Midnight, Raven Black, Mummy Black, and Soot.

Then again, my tendency could simply mean that I just happen to like blue. Whether or not that denotes serenity in some way is probably outside the bounds of opinion — maybe I just like the way it looks.

Besides, my closet doors are painted blue as well. For that matter, so are my venetian blinds, my wallpaper, my bedsheets... heck, something's got to match my underwear, after all.

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