Lavender – love it or hate it?

Lavender is a phenomenonLavender is a flower, a scent, a color and a taste. With so many attributes you might call lavender a phenomena more than a thing, a color, a taste or a scent. It gives us sensual experiences.

The smell is calming as the sight of the flower that brings us closer to nature. It is a strong and fierce plant that will survive the most. The taste is subtle and a little sensually perfumed. The color is a mix of blue and red and a little perplexing.

Lavender is a color we often either love or hate. There is no in-between, or the in-between might feel indifferent to lavender or to any other color for that matter.

Some might say they like lavender in nature but not on walls or in the clothes they wear. The same often goes for yellow or orange as well. Why is that?

Color attention

There might be several reasons for that. We do have preferences in color that might regard temperature, past experience, context, combination or even personality. Some colors demand attention and if you don’t like attention, you are likely to dislike wearing such colors in your outfit. You might love the color in another context.

Color experience

The past experience has impact on our color preferences and our sensing of the color to some extend. There is little research in the field, but my conversations regarding color with others show that ‘dislikes’ and ‘likes’ of specific colors might have to do with past experience. Often also with intense experiences that might have involved other senses such as smell or taste.

Color attributes

Yellow and orange are often strong and vivid colors used to create attention. They are noticeable colors to be seen and stand out – also in nature where flowers attract attention to make sure the bees will find them and find them attractive and sweet.

Lavender is much more subtle, pale and a bit cold compared to the warmer tones like orange and red. The warm colors seems to be at a closer distance and the cold colors seems to be at a more distant distance. Also the warm colors tend to make us feel warmer and the colder colors tend to make us feel like the temperature is a little more cold.

Color mapping

Some years ago a color consultant visited my apartment and suggested that I should paint my walls lavender. I did not agree. The colors I had chosen for my walls were my picks from a creative angle but she made me curious as to why she suggested lavender. She answered that according to her chart of the apartment, the color should be lavender. The idea puzzled me, because I would not approach color in such a way. The very idea of mapping color into a chart is a great idea, but does it invite color dynamics? I have my doubts.

However I like the idea of having some guidelines for the use of color to control creativity. Choosing colors randomly and without some sort of control, charts or knowledge, is not the way to go about color. I painted my wall magenta and it did not work out for me at all. In the end I chose a much more earthy color and made some strong accents on the surroundings.

Color context

If we map the colors into rooms, directions and levels in a very strict chart, I would fear that the most important issue regarding color is left out; that is context. Exactly the context is a main part of color consulting, as I learned at the ‘Color/design class’ in Los Angeles held by Leatrice Eisemann. We might have knowledge about colors and their effect on us but have to remember that the context might make us choose other colors. We have to at least be open to change and also be open to the wonders of color. Color might still puzzle you and show sides and effects you never knew they had. According to temperature, geography, culture and lighting the colors context might change.
This is why colors are so interesting.

Color sense

Where does color sense come from if not charts and maps? Does color sense sometimes involve the color synesthesia phenomena?

Emotional colors

Have you ever considered that the colors you dislike just might be colors you associate with an experience that made you feel unpleasant at some point?

Those are questions I am considering at the moment.



Color block challenge – expand your colors

Color blocking signs

If you are working with color, you have to evoke dynamics into your color preferences. Color dynamics involves changes in your color likes and dislikes. Especially with a color dislike, you are more likely to deselect the color in your designs. You are likely to block them out. Why not challenge your color block-outs?

Traditional color-blocking

The term color block or color-blocking describes a way of coordinating colors in an often simple color palette containing 2-4 colors. Color-blocking offers a way of styling your outfit into a strong personal expression that empowers you. More so it is a statement of your creative and innovative design skills.

I have gathered a pinboard on Pinterest with some great examples of fashion color-blocking:


Color dislikes

Working in any line of business that involves graphic design, fashion, beauty, decorating, interior design, photography or trendforecasting your color palette is more likely to be very dynamic. The preferences change and colors become a daily part of your life to discuss, involve, love and maybe dislike.

Likes and dislikes are often categorized into several other groups for example your dislikes may be categorized in: colors you may use in your work or in your interior design but you would never wear them as part of your outfit. And then there is the colors you only dislike if combined with certain other colors.

Color block challenge

A perfect way to create dynamics and motion into your color life is to challenge your color dislikes.

  1. Find 2 colors you dislike when combined.
    Consider why you dislike theese two colors? Go down memory lane and question if there was a time when you liked the colors? Maybe you like the colors alone but not together – why is that so?
  2. Create an outfit or a moodboard that combines the two colors.
    By being surrounded by the colors you might begin to understand the colors. Why do you dislike them? What are their assets and meanings? How do you make benefits from these assets and meanings? It may be difficult to understand the colors – not even the scientists know why or how we react to most colors. By working with the colors you will get to know them and understand them.

Color block sportswear

We are used to seeing the color-blocking trend in the line of fashionable sportswear. Sneakers, t-shirts, tops, gym and yoga outfits, caps etc. have used the color-blocking energy in many years. An energy that is dynamic, vibrant and perfect to use to create motion and a sense of speed according to the design the colors are implemented into.

Color block combinations

Often a colorblocking outfit involves at least one strong, vivid color that may be combined with another strong and vivid color to create more drama and a look that will catch the eye of the beholder.

A more subtle combination is to choose a neutral color to go with a strong color to make the look more highclass and sophisticated. Depending on what you are aiming for, which context and mood you want to surround yourself with, you may have outfits that covers several personal styles.

Color block examples

An example of colors to combine in a colorblocking outfit is Imperial Blue and Turquoise in a strong and refreshing combination of colors.

Or how about the nice combination of nude – neutral – and honeysuckle like the bag and skinny jeans here:

And here is another very empowering combination of color blocking. Notice how these examples are very feminine and empowering.


It is often not a great idea to involve a lot of graphic prints in your garments, because that will make your colorblocking outfit too complex. You are looking for simplicity and color more than texture, print and complexity.

Color blocking classics

The classic combinations of color blocking are the combinations of black and white – grey, black and white – black and gold or black and silver.

Quick color blocking

An easy and quick way to combine a color block outfit is to use white or black as one of the colors in combination with some of your more creative or empowering accessories. A neutral color as your starting point is always a good way to go: a black dress combined with blue shoes (or stockings), a blue belt and a blue watch and/or necklace.

If you have black shoes and honeysuckle jeans but lack a black top, you might combine the outfit with a simple grey top to finish the outfit. The color block may be a combination of several colors. If you want summer look you might choose a yellow top to go with the honeysuckle jeans and maybe white or nude shoes. You might combine this with a mint green cardigan to complete your color blocking style of multiple colors.

Have a colorful day.


Just call me a color hippie

Blue color is cool, calming and distant

When we create graphic designs we are used to work with color, select, consider and analyze color. But have you ever considered how color works with you? Or works on you?

I sense colors

Color matters in a far greater scale than we are aware of because often we don’t even realize the impact or influence a color has to our actions and interactions. It is in the dark for most of us. I sense colors just like everybody else and today I take colors more serious than I did yesterday:

Blue is supposed to be less invasive than some of the warm and passionate colors. Right now I find it rather intrusive though.

Blue color and meanings

The symbolism of blue

When it comes to color psychology and meanings, blue is a cool, calm and conservative color. Blue shades seem a little distant and tend to have a calming effect on the surroundings and on people in generel. It seems cold or cooler compaired to the warm and more red/orange shades.

Blue items in shop display

As a graphic designer, color enthusiast and photographer I am used to having a dynamic sense of color. I drift in and out of color phases loving and using specific shades in one project and then altering my preferences in the next project. Every now and then I might even adapt my home surroundings to colors that tend to grow on me through my work. Probably you feel the same way.

Blue shopping display

Color enthusiasm

A few weeks ago I had coffee with a freelance friend of mine who told me, that she had come to like a specific, light green color. This was the first time she ever felt such a strong desire or need for a specific color. She showed me different items she had bought, bowls, a vase, candles and some garments, in the green shade. Her appetite for the color was so big she just HAD to have it around her.

Going through some color psychology websites, she had found the meanings of the color to represent: a new start, life, growth and so on. She felt it absolutely described the situation in her life. I was happy to hear that she also had taken such a passionate approach to colors and given it extra thought..

After a while I asked her, what she does with the colors she dislikes. ’I avoid them’, she said.

Well, I have to confess to that very same approach towards not so favourable colors, but sometimes I actually use the colors I dislike, in order to get some answers: why don’t I like the colors? What is the color symbolizing for me? I tend to reach a point that allows me to interpret/translate the color into a feeling, an asset or an action I am not integrating in my life. The reasons may be various. I use this information to challenge myself in trying to adapt the specific area in my life.

Walk the talk ….. of color?

And you know how sometimes you have to walk the talk, right? The next morning when I left my house, I was saddened by the fact that some vandal had sprayed a really poorly designed graffiti tag all over my front door and my business sign. It made me sad and angry at the same time. Why would anybody do that?

Graffiti tagged door

Blue for strategy?

On my walk downtown that morning it struck me, that for quite a while I had been noticing blue shades whenever I walked around for inspiration on blogs or photos. As if my visual sense had started spotting blue more than it usually would. Unfortunately blue seems to me like quite a dull color and I don’t have a lot of interest in it. I tend to ignore it a little. I had been ignoring the presence of blue for weeks.

Graffiti tagged signAnd here it was on my door and my business sign. For a few minutes I invited myself to not hating it on my door but actually trying to interpret it (a bit color hippie -ish I guess). While washing off the tag from my business sign I realized that the color symbolize an asset I thought I was great at. Suddenly it was crystal clear to me, that I am not great with this specific asset at all. I’ve deceived myself that I was great at: Strategy!

Now I know and then I can start taking care of it. Today I came across a book in the library and it turns out to be touching the very subject. The author recommends an 18 month startegy and a 4 year strategy. My strategic focus is now in progress.