International Colour Day 2018

Posted by iscd@admin on March 21

Happy International Colour Day!

“Colour is believed to be the most important visual experience to human beings” – Francis M. Adams and Charles E. Osgood (A Cross-Cultural Study of the Affective Meanings of Colour)

The 21st March was adopted as the “International Colour Day” since around the equinox (aequi-equi+nox-night) the sun shines directly on the equator, and consequently, day and night have an approximate length all over the Earth.

International Colour Day promotes colour awareness in many world locations on the same day.  This year marks the 9th year that the 21st March has been acknowledged as a day to celebrate colour internationally – and what a colourful day it is!

iscd specialise in colour and pride ourselves in being the leaders in colour education so it is no surprise we are keen to join in the celebrations of International Colour Day (ICD)!

To celebrate the 9th year of ICD, we have chosen 9 different thought provoking uses of colour to inspire and intrigue you.


  1. 1.Cool Colour Tricks….What do you see?

Do you remember the dress? Did you see Blue + black or Gold + white? Propelled by celebrities, YouTubers and kids the challenge went viral taking colour conversations across the internet and into many household conversations.

What we learnt? Colour and our brain have an ongoing relationship and it is not always straightforward as it may appear.

Take this illustration by Paul Nesca that shows us contrasting colours creating the illusion of motion.

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Or this optical illusion by Randall Munroe of Xkcd where the cartoon in the dress appears to wear different coloured blue dresses because of the background despite them being the same blue dress!

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  1. 2.Colour psychology and learning through colour?

Memory is an essential part of our brains where information is stored. It has been proven that colour plays a significant role in our learning and memory development. Every day we use colours which help us associate things to those memories.

Memories and emotions can be triggered by particular colours and colour combinations. As an example: Yellow is a stimulating colour, which increases brain wave activity. The use of the colour yellow can positively impact thoughts and day to day life. If we pair yellow with black…..what does this combination remind you of?

From an early age colour plays a huge part in education and how we develop and learn. Teachers, worldwide use the colours of the rainbow rhyme to help children remember primary and secondary colours.

Children, as well as adults, are often attracted to objects and items firstly because of the colour. Bold primary colours are often seen in children’s play area, as they stimulates play! High chroma colour can be great to stimulate our senses however too much of this can also exhaust our eyes after a period of time.

Colour has also been known to improve learning and performance of people that have learning difficulties such as dyslexia. Colour overlay can be beneficial for people that suffer from dyslexia. Standard white paper or a screen, can make letters blurry or jump out of the page. Reducing the brightness of the background with a colour overlay helps to slow down the nerve cells in the eyes and improve the blurring or moving of text.

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  1. 3.The latest colour experiences

Wouldn’t it be cool if you could immerse yourself in a colour experience….if you are planning a trip to San Francisco book into Color Factory, a new Pop-Up colour experience that launched last August! 

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  1. 4.Branded colour

Brand is a living breathing concept which is made to engage with a consumer on an emotional level. The idea behind a brand is to make you remember, trust and want to join their tribe.

So how can a brand begin to ‘own’ a colour?

International brands like Coca Cola, McDonalds, Apple and Cadburys all have instantly recognisable elements to their logos. The red italic swirls, the golden yellow arches, the crisp silver apple and that velvet purple. World famous jewelers, Tiffany’s, have their shade of Tiffany blue. When seen, the shade of aqua blue is immediately recognisable to that brand and all the emotional values it stands for. In 2001 Tiffany’s approached Pantone to standardise their colour shade. Creating the colour name ‘1837 Blue’ which is the year Tiffany’s was founded. When a brand is recognised for its colour alone and without any logo or wording to accompany it, it is pretty safe to say that brand ‘own’ that colour’!

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5.Colour boundaries in fashion?

Put simply there are none when it comes to fashion couture. Designers display amazing ideas through fashion on runways around the world every year pushing the boundaries of what we think and what we wear. The reality however, is colour plays a very big part in the fashion industry and fashion leads the way in determining colour trends. Here are some latest fashion colour executions from the Paris Spring 2018 Couture Fashion week, could you see yourself in these?

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6.The conservative corporate colour revolution!

When you think of the corporate world the first thing that comes to mind is certainly not colour. And when we do think of a colour, it is inevitably the corporate blue tied to so many brands. This is because blue quite often represents calmness and relates to trust, reliability and loyalty – all positive factors for a business that will ultimately attract customers or clients. Examples include ANZ, LinkedIn, Nokia, Ford, Vaseline, Facebook, Twitter and Volkswagon to name a few.

But there is a new generation of corporate colours emerging as the marketplace is being disrupted with advances in technology. Audible, Perioscope, Instagram, Canva, Blinkist, Adzuna, and Seek are just a few new kids on the block pushing new boundaries in corporate colour use.

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7.Brave new world of colour for interiors

After the craziness of the 70s and 80s, the last thirty years of interiors have been dominated by more neutral palettes and tones. But there is a real trend pushing us to be brave again and to use more colour in our homes. There has been a big push of amazing colours and designs coming out of hospitality and a demand for people wanting to bring this into their home. Take a look at these designers, Therefore Studio and Huelle & Fuelle, that are using colour throughout interiors!

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  1. 8.Bold colour in photography and art

Colour is of course, a huge element of photography or art. An artists mission is usually to create an image that will bring about certain emotions or feelings associated with an idea the picture is centered around. Here are some bold new artists inviting us to bring their use of colour to our walls.

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Artist Ellen Levine Dodd Image from

Artist Meaghan Potter Image from


9.Fabulous fact on colour

In 1856, Sir William Henry Perkin, through trying to find a cure for Malaria and working on an experiment to synthesise quinine to aid the treatment of Malaria, learned that alcohol could be used to extract an intense purple colour from aniline. Lasting longer than plant based dyes he named it Mauveine – which we know as mauve today.

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9 places from around the world that use colour brilliantly and beautifully…


Lisboa, Portugal

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Campeche City, Mexico

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Villa Bologna, Attard, Malta

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Havana, ‘The colour capital of Cuba’

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Norðurgarði Lghthouse, Reykjavik, Iceland

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Buenos Aires, Argentina

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Amsterdam, Netherlands

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Juzca, Spain

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Melbourne, Australia

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These are just 9 topics of how colour touches our lives… there are plenty more to explore!

What has been made clear is that there is a direct relationship between colour and emotion. We as human beings rely hugely on our senses. Colour, whether bright and bold or dark and greyed, can trigger different emotional reactions. These emotional reactions are what people focus on when using colour in everyday life. photographers, educators, fashion designers, marketing professionals, interior designers, nurses and doctors….and the list goes on!

Want to learn more about colour? Come join the iscd tribe! With short courses to industry recognised diplomas in Colour both on campus and online there are lots of ways you can start to learn more about the inspiring world of colour.

Find out more here




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