Try staring at a red screen for as long as you can without blinking. Now, quickly switch to a white screen. Do you see a flash of blue?

Staring at a red screen causes the photoreceptor cells that perceive the color red to become overworked and weak. Once you switch to a white screen, you are left seeing its complement (blue) because the cells that detect red are still recovering. This is called cone fatigue.

There's a lot more to color than what meets the eye, as illustrated by this activity. The ability to see various shades of light has influenced the way we live in so many ways. Throughout the centuries, color has shaped cultural norms, societal structure and even served as emblems for ideological movements.

Color is more than a can of paint or a tiny pixel on a laptop screen. Choosing the right hue can liven the ambiance of a dinner party or convince someone to hire you. These easy to follow guidelines can help paint a vivid picture of what you want your life to be.
Wearing multiple shades of the same color creates an elegant and understated look. A monochromatic color scheme is very fitting in a work or business setting. This color harmony minimizes distractions and lets your personality and eloquence shine through. The popular technique garners compliments by simulating an aura of professionalism. It makes any outfit or decor look like it's been put together by a stylist or designer. In reality, anyone can do it. Just pick one color, then build the look by adding different shades and textures with the same undertone. This works with makeup, interior design and fashion.  

Incorporating small amounts of a color creates an area of focus to direct the eye to. Adding a vibrant accent chair can make a living room look striking. Picking up a neutral-colored purse can add a touch of sophistication to an outfit. This strategic use of color is very effective in highlighting a particular feature. The crimson red chair placed in a pre-dominantly beige room shown above, behaves much like a red lip does on face sporting an all-natural makeup look. It draws you in, like an arrow pointing towards a specific location. Whether you want your lips or your lounge chair to be the star of the show, color can easily make it happen.

Choose colors based on their psychological effects. Blues are very calming, especially for young boys. Food companies use shades of yellow and red to rev up consumers' appetite. Purple and gray are the colors of nobility and sophistication. They add opulence to a color combination. Amber evokes nostalgia while green is deemed the most intuitive color. In multiple cultures, red is strongly associated with love and passion. Red roses sell like pancakes on Valentine's Day because they are an expression of love. Color is the nonverbal language that instantaneously eases our anxieties, tugs at our heartstrings and influences our actions. It some instances, color speaks more eloquently and loudly than words. 

Numerous books explore color theory in further detail. Color specialist Leatrice Eiseman writes a plethora of books on color. She discusses techniques on how to communicate with color and their effect on audiences. Her books are a great resource for designers and novices alike. Eiseman previously ran a company called Pantone, that publishes a yearly color forecast. It cites prevalent colors in the upcoming season as influenced by fashion, the economy and current events.

Seeing beyond the surface of what a color reflects back can bring awareness to its many untapped uses. Beyond the sheen and pearlescent finish is a language that man has played an integral role in defining and speaking.

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