The Lure of Blue

Variations of blue

by Rebecca Cochran

What is it about blue? I’ve been aware for quite some time that I naturally gravitate to the color blue. According to an article* I read late last year, half of the people on earth list blue as their favorite color. Granted, much has been written about color theory.

When I was at the North Carolina Museum of Art again over the weekend, I made an intentional visit to Ellsworth Kelly’s Blue Panel. Each time I visit that painting, I try to view it from a new perspective. The work, a purely abstract blue panel, dramatically captured my attention during my first visit to the Museum’s new West Building in 2010.

As I continued my museum visit this time, I challenged myself to become hyper aware of what initially draws me to a work of visual art. Usually, it is color that catches my eye first – and oftentimes, the color is blue. Blue Dancer, sculpted of bronze with a blue patina by the Ukrainian-born avant-garde artist, Alexander Archipenko, is another of my favorites.

Wending my way through all the galleries, I notice that blue regularly lures me into a painting. The incredible blue sky above Georgia O’Keeffe’s Cebolla Church draws me in every time. I notice the sky first. Then, I am drawn in further to her unusual rendering of the church itself.

The cool, dappled, blue light is what first lures me into Renoir’s double portrait, The Daughters of Durand-Ruel (on temporary loan here from the Chrysler Museum of Art). I recently enjoyed the biopic, Renoir, so this work has a current appeal for me. Blue was its initial draw, however.

The same thing happens when I shop for clothing or home goods. Blue draws me to an item first. Then, I notice shape and texture.

As a designer, rather than simply using blue to be agreeable (blue is everybody’s favorite color, after all), I’m going to consciously work to use blue to lure others in. Blue can be a conscious element of a call to action in advertising. A blue button can be used to lure people to purchase online. (Blue links are blue for a reason, after all.) And, I think I’ll make certain to wear blue whenever I have an important presentation to make.

What are your thoughts? What are some other ways we can capitalize on the lure of blue?

*Read the New York Times article here.

2 thoughts on “The Lure of Blue

  1. Pingback: What’s Your Favorite Word? | Cochran Creative Group

  2. Pingback: Is Gray a Color? | Cochran Creative Group

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