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Color Theory

Roberta Hughes April 2006 issue of Skin Inc. magazine

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Have you ever noticed how some colors excite, rejuvenate and energize, while others relax, calm and comfort? Or have you wondered why certain ones look better together than others? Adding a hint of color can help to construct a unique brand for a spa, produce a wonderful experience for clients and team members, add interest and personality to a space, and even establish an appealing and attractive appearance.

The language of the rainbow

Color is the most powerful, complex and stimulating element of design. It is the first to be noticed and often the last to be forgotten. In spas, it has a way of uniquely establishing a brand—consider the facility’s walls, flooring, artwork and even team members’ uniforms. Each element can work in harmony to add beauty to a space while creating a memorable experience for clients.

Color engages the senses and evokes highly physical and emotional responses. For instance, the saying “I feel blue” connotes a sad mood. When tones are too bright or strong, they often are referred to as loud. An appearance can be chic and stylish or drab and boring—all by the choice of color. Certain shades stimulate and excite, while others feel oppressive or weak. And color can be used in place of words to command action. For example, a green traffic light indicates go, yellow conveys caution and red means stop. Messages are communicated and value placed depending on color—a white dove signifies purity, and a yellow rose expresses friendship. Green is soothing and recalls memories of summer grass and trees, while blue symbolizes water and the sky. The warmth of the sun is reflected in yellow and orange, while shades of violet resemble the distant mountains against an evening sky.

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Five Color Guidelines

When selecting color, follow these rules of thumb.

1. The eye is drawn to contrast. For best results, combine a balanced variety of warm and cool hues, light and dark values, and bright and dull intensities. Large areas of color are more pleasing if balanced in combination with proportionally small areas of another color.

2. Create one dominant focal point with color. Studies show that people feel more at ease and relaxed when one color is dominant and another is subordinate. Combining too many variations can evoke a feeling of chaos or be disturbing.

3. Create balance and harmony by selecting colors that are both warm and cool to complement the personal coloring found in both women and men.

4. Evaluate the lighting source—such as windows, lamps and light fixtures—as part of your color-selection process to ensure that it creates the desired results.

5. Consider the context in which a color will be used, where it will be seen, and the type of mood and feeling you want to create.

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