Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Studying Geography Through Paint Color and Vice Versa

An old geography article and a trip to the fort's hardware shop has got Catholicgauze thinking. Many of the paint samples have place names. The naming is not random but instead is meant to enhance the "feel" of the color.

For instance
  • The Western Mediterranean region is depicted with earthy tones such as Basque Brown, Pompeii Orange, and Mediterranean Sun.
  • The Roman Empire's classical look is embodied with Roman Marble.
  • San Juan Sand gives a hot and pale look for Caribbean.
  • The Orient is exotic and bold colors like Bangkok Rust.
  • Even general geographical features like glaciers are envisioned by a very pale blue, sea breezes are shown by a bluish green.
The colors may seem obvious but studying why is a good geography project for students. Obviously "green equals Ireland because Ireland is green" is well established but there is more. Colors make one "feel" a certain way. The color association can reveal the culture's thoughts. A golden color is entitled Gypsy Gold. Old stereotypes of Gypsy's wearing gold are alive and well in the target culture.

Try an experiments with yourself, others, or a class. Hold up colors and ask people what geographical feature or place they think of and then ask why. The answers help understand one's geographical bias just as mental maps do.


Deaner said...

Red of course is associated with communism and is often used as the color of choice on older maps of the U.S.S.R. and China.

The Geography Lady said...

I will definitely use this next year in class!