Reading time: 2:20min | Why the Cognitive Colour Theory unleashes creativity and allows us more freedom.
Is the Cognitive Colour Theory a (small) revolution in its field, and is it revolutionising the discussion about colours? I want to argue that it is revolutionary because it gives people back their freedom of colour perception. With the Cognitive Colour Theory, we reject strict sorting constraints. We take our inner self, our identity, as the yardstick for our relationship to colour and not the opinion of traditional authorities. We place our perception at the centre of observation and find that there are colours to which we involuntarily pay a great deal of attention (signal colours) and there are colours that we perceive without additional, considerable attention (consumption colours). Cognitive colour theory is an offer to approach the world of colours in an uncomplicated and emotional way. It gives instructions on how to approach them so that one’s perception remains the boss in the ring. That is why Cognitive Colour Theory is authority-agnostic and free from any community thought.
We additionally free ourselves from the corset of the vocabulary of colour contrasts. We do not allow ourselves to be manipulated by authoritatively argued colour contexts such as complementary or simultaneous contrast. We also follow our personal feeling and synaesthetic talent. An example could be the warm-cold contrast or the light-dark contrast, which we experience unnoticed millions of times a day in our everyday life.
We know that it is a question of context and cultural context which colours we perceive in which way, whether they are signal or consumer colours or are somewhere in between. And even if the individual perception is in the foreground, cognitive colour theory is not arbitrary, like exuberant tolerance that, in the end, turns out to be disinterest or even ignorance.
Because in Cognitive Colour Theory we have to choose one of the two colour categories or at least discuss them, we are forced to deal with the colour design of a picture, a garden, our wardrobe, the furnishings of our home, etc. All of a sudden, nothing is arbitrary anymore. Tolerance has to be practised, just as the position has to be taken.
With Cognitive Colour Theory, we have a guide at hand in art lessons, which can lead our thinking through the jungle of art history and image interpretation without having to deal with fact-clouding and discussion-complicating schools of thoughts. Because our perception is in focus, our stance to colour is the framework of the discussion. With a little practice, we can develop opinions quickly and easily and have a common denominator as a basis for discussion with others. In the end, we arrive at an accepted truth, which, in an open society, is the starting point for further reflections.
And finally: Cognitive Colour Theory promotes the freedom of one’s own opinion, which always entails responsibility. With Cognitive Colour Theory, it is not possible to rely on authority. You bear full responsibility for your design decisions—the price of freedom that is. Because not everyone is willing to pay the full fee, Cognitive Colour Theory naturally allows weighted choices. Why not follow the opinion of the peers to a large extent and still understand what happens with colour employing the concept of consumer and signal colour and let these insights flow into your own decision? Radicalism rarely makes one happy. Freedom also allows this.