Pink Life

I have always found colour swatches and their titles fascinating. Who is it that fixes a title to each shade? And how do they settle on the one name? Do the titles influence the reading of the paint swatch? Is the optimism of My Wish more agreeable than the connotations of Pink Life?

The Stroop Effect, named after scientist J. Ridley Stroop, describes a phenomenon that demonstrates the cognitive processes involved in interpreting written language and colour. In the timed experiment, a participant is instructed to name the colours of words that describe a certain hue. However, the text is written in a colour contrary to what the words describe. So for example: if the word blue is printed in red, then the participant should say red.

Results from Stroop's experiments indicated that written text has a stronger influence on human cognition than colour, with participants reading the text aloud much more often than specifying the colour of the text. The cause of this cognitive interference between the differing information has been narrowed down to a few likely causes: processing speed, selective attention, automaticity and parallel distributed processing.

Usually, the titles bestowed to paint hues under a particular brand are written in black. But if words are encoded more quickly than colour, what effect do these titles have on the reading of a swatch? What happens in the gap between word-recognition and colour comprehension? Do the titles influence not just colour cognition but the efficacy of the wind drawings too?

Megan Kennedy