A Guide To Finding Your Inner Color Personality

A few weeks ago, a friend and fellow color nut mailed me a well-thumbed
copy of The Lüscher
Color Test
, knowing I’d relish the
daffy whiff of palmistry tied to color. But the book isn’t a
tongue-in-cheek
Teutonic spoof like Pentagram’s What Type Are You? book. The Lüscher Color
Test
was designed to help
psychoanalysts speed up the introductory conversation with their
patients, and the book came emblazoned with poker-faced warnings
demanding
seriousness: the system is
“NOT a parlor game,” as the back cover sternly notes, and “most emphatically it is not a weapon to be used
in a general contest of ‘one-upmanship.’” Naturally, I summoned all my
respect for the Ouija-Spooks or whatever and recklessly got down to the
middle-school business of Getting to Know the Real Me.

  
Here’s how it works: you lay out the Lüscher cards, shading your
most to least favorite colors from left to right. You do this twice for
good measure, then employ a number-to-color-coding system to check how
various number-combos respectively reveal your “existing situation,”
“stress sources,” “restrained characteristics,” “desired objective,” and
“actual problem” (presumably your reason for seeking a therapist in the
first place). The big surprise here was a reading that was more accurate (and less universally flattering)
than I cared to admit. 

 
Sample cards from the Lüscher test.

But Dr. Lüscher is far from cornering
the market on color personality tests. At the nuttier end of this
continuum is Mary Weddell’s Creative Color: An Analysis and Synthesis of Useful Color Knowledge, a guide to nudging along one’s aura by
meditating on color. Especially felicitous is the Quick Color Remedies
section: you can cool a fever with ice blue, alternating with dusty
rose, or fix a sewing mistake with lemon yellow. A poisonous snake bite
calls for “silvery ice blue, blue lavender and get medical attention
fast. Do not use green for it will increase the pain.”
 
The Manchester Color Wheel, via Colourlovers.com. Image by Peter Whorwell and Helen Carruthers.

Not all intersections between color and self are quite as superstitious.
Business books like The Leap use color to clue into your
work personality, a more literal use of color than in
the classic career-guide title, What Color is Your Parachute? In
the harder-hitting arenas of science, researchers at the University of
Manchester have just released the Color Wheel, which is used to
diagnose anxiety or depression in patients. It’s not clear how
culturally diverse the patient-pool was who helped set the color
taxonomy—a Chinese patient choosing red isn’t signaling their anger
so much as a strong sense of well-being. Still, even as a limited
concept the Color Wheel is an intriguing advance

 
Colorstrology.com, created by Michele Bernhardt and sponsored by PANTONE, Inc.

Design
has its own color-prognosticators. Pantone’s Colorstrology tool pairs
users with a personality-profile and color-swatch based on your
birthday (complete with Pantone number, of course). 
 

Color in Motion, by Claudia Cortes

For
sheer inventiveness and cheek, you have to enjoy Claudia Cortes’ site
Color in Motion. Each color is embodied as a knobbly-kneed paper doll,
the potential “star” of a movie of your devising. You can watch
pre-made movies exploring the individual character of each color; make
your own movie pulling together actors and props (I put Orange-Man into
an existential farce involving a tiara, a frog and Windex); or make
your own animated kaleidoscope of color. Spend your next coffee break
with this one; it’s refreshing and well worth it.

 
 
Color palette generator from Hunch.com

When
coffee-break’s over, online color quizzes can help you perfect your
next project’s color palette, too. Hunch offers an ultra-simple
one: answer a few questions about the personality to be colored (your
brand or yourself), and you’ll get a surprisingly spot-on
recommendation that, if not totally perfect, will at least get your
creative motor running. (Hunch doesn’t limit its color quizzes to
palettes, either. Find the ideal color for your car, hair, nails,
clothes, or wedding—and, of course, your overall color personality.)

Color-palette
generators are a capacious category worth exploring in their own post.
Once you’ve decided if you’re a winter or summer complexion and mapped
yourself to a specific hex code, watch this space for a guide to the
hands-down best color sites for designers.
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Color & Design, Featured, Imprint: Print Magazine's Design Blog

About Jude Stewart

Jude Stewart is a PRINT contributing editor. She has written on design and culture for Slate, Fast Company, The Believer, I.D., Metropolis, and Design Observer, among many others. Her first book ROY G. BIV: An Exceedingly Surprising Book About Color is available for pre-order from Bloomsbury. Follow her tweets on color at twitter.com/joodstew.

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