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The color of experience

Grant, Roderick and Rushton, Keith The color of experience. OCAD University. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

As a design principle and element, color often suffers from brief pedagogies in most first year design experiences. An approach anchored in serial exercises and the acquisition of an invariable lexicon often leaves the spirit of color undiscovered in terms of the dynamic experience it brings to surfaces, materials, objects, environments and human engagements. A recently redesigned First Year Program at the Ontario College of Art & Design (OCAD University), places color in the context of culture, environment, and dimension. While color terminology remains intact, it is the introduction of sensory exposures to color in context that will begin to shift color studies away from existing, conventional curriculum to a more engaged and critically aware investigation of this crucial design element.
In an introductory color studio, an attempt to address six distinct programs (Industrial Design, Environmental Design, Graphic Design, Advertising, Illustration and Material Design) may seem daunting as a pedagogical stance, but it is one that deserves attention as color serves as a mediating common ground amongst design disciplines. While it is not the place of any one studio to replace and integrate disciplinary specificity, the proposed course Color in Context seeks to afford students an experience of color that crosses dimensions, manifestations, and cultures.
The inclusion of a bias system – cultural, dimensional, and environmental – in a studio framework is pedagogically significant as each bias has haptic dimensions that shape the human experience of color. Climate, geography, light, and topography serve as initial perspectives to situate color in relation to the specificities of different contexts. Yet, the very phenomena we experience as color is both physiological and psychological – it is of the body and the brain. The relationship between the external and internal realities of color is hindered by a static lexicon, and necessitates a shift to a new territory of experiential learning. The integration of a bias system into a more holistic pedagogy of color provides a more relevant experience of color for emerging designers. Beyond the existing lexicon of color terms, the flatness of color wheels, swatches and rubrics of color interaction, is a new approach that is rooted in context. An approach that investigates how our bias to color influences how we interpret, use, and come to understand why our color choices are appropriate, effective and meaningful.
Color in Context challenges students to look beyond the lexicon of color theory and serial exercises to discover the effects of the external world. The construction of a broader, more inclusive point of view, in tandem with an investigation of our internal reality as sensory beings, forms a rich base for the initial and continuing education in color. Using context as the primary filter, a discussion of newly designed projects will interrogate an experiential pedagogy of color that will demonstrate how interdisciplinary links between practices and intrinsic biases foster deeper, more meaningful and relevant practices of color to design outcomes.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Graphic Design, Design pedagogy, Colour and Light
Divisions: Faculty of Design
Faculty of Design > Graphic Design
Date Deposited: 15 Jun 2016 14:11
Last Modified: 04 Feb 2017 07:15
URI: http://openresearch.ocadu.ca/id/eprint/925

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