“It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, Ev’rywhere you go”. This first and repeating line often sung this season teaches us a lot about how tints and hues can ‘colour’ our communication effectiveness. The tune hummed along with me today on Vancouver’s heavy, yet, not quite official winter rain.
You can choose, for various reasons, to sit out Christmas the religious holiday, the commercial event some say it has become, or you can embrace it as a festive, well lit and social respite in an otherwise cold and dark time of the year. Its omnipresent and potent colour wash makes its message and presence hard to escape.
The colours that cue the ‘Christmas Culture” in which native and immigrant Canadians live is seen everywhere in the shop windows, advertisements and decor of our streets, workplaces and leisure spots.
The colours trigger instant understanding and very identifiable images and expectations. They can repel those for whom the holiday may be an affront at worst and at best, their perception of it as a commercial cash grab for retailers. Its presence, however, is all pervasive in traditional reds, greens and glistening silver, gold and pewter. It’s message sparkles in the multi coloured lights festooning wreathes, lamp posts and trees and throughout the landscape of our contemporary Canadian culture with all its cultural and linguistic additions. Colour cues appear on our toys, foods, clothing and gift wrap choices.
They signify both similar and wildly diverse meanings to the Asian, African, South Asian, Polynesian and South American, as well as European citizens acculturating to our expanding seasonal influence. They permeate our daily work, social. commercial and where applicable religious roles in society.
Visual communication is instant. It is effective. It is memorable and deep.
How are you affected by colour?
Does colour transport you to special memories connected to family, to foods, to holiday rituals, to vacation settings?
Does a colour or a combination inspire loyalty, instigate action, energize you, stimulate desires, appetites or aspirations?
“See” the colour in your world and notice what it says to you and what it compels you to buy or do. What is your own reflection in the shop window expressing to the world around you?