After flipping through (ahem, studying deeply) the Principles of Design book, I was taken back to the days of my youth in undergrad taking all manner of psychology classes. In particular, I remembered a class I took in semiotics, after which I regarded pretty much everything with a jaded and critical eye, trying to figure out the meaning.
Just like then, I am suddenly seeing these principles of design everywhere. One that is really standing out is the red effect. I read about it and it made me cross – women are viewed as more sexually attractive when wearing red and men are seen as more powerful. I get it, I get the reasoning behind it (even though it dates back to WHEN WE WERE MONKEYS, CAN WE GET OVER THAT ALREADY?) but I don’t care for it.
Because I see red as powerful, period. For either gender. Red is a statement, and while it can often be about sex it shouldn’t be limited to sex. And of course through serendipity came this gem about wearing red lipstick: http://thehairpin.com/2015/05/kiss-me-with-those-red-lips/
Which hearkened back to a previous Hairpin article where one of the editors asked contributors to comment on what makes you feel powerful. One of the contributors said that wearing red lipstick makes her feel powerful, and I agree. I’m a lipstick fiend and at least four of them are fairly bold reds, and I wear them when I need a boost, either at work or at play.
This then made me think of a line in one of my favourite books, Deathless by Catherynne Valente. One character is counselling another on the proper use of makeup: pink insists, coral coaxes, red compels.
Which brought me back to my semiotics class – what are we saying with red? Statements about power. Which brings me back to design – how are we using red? As a power colour.