This isn’t my first time around the color block where magenta is concerned, but I just learned something interesting about the way magenta- and all color- is processed in the brain. We actually invent magenta in our minds. Some view magenta as a blend of multiple wavelengths quite unlike any other color, or perhaps its a compromise in our minds between red and violet “color waves”. Its meanings, its effects on us…It mesmerizes me!
Magenta doesn’t have a single wavelength of its own, like other colors in the rainbow do. Considering hows it’s halfway between red and violet, we should technically see it as green…but instead we come up with magenta in our brain. Actually, in experiments, when the color green out of a rainbow spectrum of light one can see magenta as a result. This puzzling “multi-spectrum” color is fascinating because we “invent” it. In a magical way it makes me wonder if we all see color even remotely the “same” and of course, when you think about it, of course we don’t…which makes color all the more fascinating.
According to the Crayola website, ” Magenta is a very deep pink color and was developed in 1859 as one of the first artificial dyes. It was very popular with Victorians who wore the color in velvets, satin, and other fabrics.” It has personality traits, per the crayon masters, of “personality, charm & soft.” The Harvard Crimson newspaper was originally called “The Magenta.” This odd, captivating color definitely has a historical air of elegant refinement, if not individuality and expression.
Color psychology identifies magenta with lots of traits of violet: a color of the non-conformist, the spiritually minded and the desire for an enlightened life. It has the energy of red in that it encourages strength and the fortitude to turn dreams into action. I wonder if its because of the mental gymnastics that we do to see magenta that some experience it as exhausting and find that it encourages arrogance at times.
Magenta, you continue to fascinate me! What does magenta color “say” or “do” to you? Let me know! We can revise color theory in 2013!!! xoxo Dana
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