When Pantone releases their Color of the Year, both the fashion industry and industrial and graphic designers take note. 2019’s color, Living Coral, is described by the design giant as warm, vibrant, comforting, and nourishing. As attractive a new color is as a design element, should workplaces try to update their spaces with new color? How can color be used as a design element without breaking the bank?
Color Design and Our Brains
Some early science suggests that light and color in certain combinations can impact biomarkers in the brain related to alertness and calm. This research is in the early stages, and design professionals understand that a productive office environment is a much more complex system than a single color can impact. Color can communicate, but our brains also know how to tune out parts of the environment. But both light and color can work with other design elements to produce a pleasant and productive workspace
Boosting Productivity with Nature
For creativity, happiness, and productivity, natural light and outdoor or naturescapes are hands down the most effective colors to bring into the workplace. Greens and blues, such as we would see if we worked in a forest or near the ocean with a big picture window, are always good choices in an office. For pops of color, such as those found in a company logo or brand, small accent pieces such as pillows or wall art can be added without a significant cost.
Neutrals in both wall and furniture design are enduring and popular because the space can be updated with small accents of color, and neutral landscapes are not as stressful as those awash with saturated color. Custom furniture designed in brand colors can be expensive and difficult to maintain, if the colors are bold. A natural, neutral color with an accent of a bright brand color might be a better option.
Strong contrasts between colors, especially light and dark contrasts, can be used to delineate spaces. Many find that strongly contrasting light and dark together is initially energizing, but quickly can become stressful. Different colors can mix together with greater ease if they have the same degree of lightness and dark.
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