Colour Inspiration

December 03, 2013
Colour Inspiration

If ever I won the lotto I would indulge in having a weekly vase of freshly cut flowers in every room of the house and build a room where I could have a wall to ceiling library of all my favourite design magazines and books.

So, as you’ve probably guessed, I love colour and to indulge in coffee table books full of amazing architecture, design and culture.

My latest edition to the ever growing library is the first book by Jude Stewart, who lives in Chicago and has a talent for words, especially about visual culture and design.

Jude Stewart

ROY G. BIV – An Exceedingly Surprising Book about Color – takes its title from the mnemonic acronym for the seven colours of the rainbow (Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo and Violet).

Colour Inspiration Book

I first heard about this book after listening to an interview with Jude on 774 ABC. I flicked the radio on to a conversation about what colour the universe is.

Yellow Inspiration

Apparently, in 2002 the John Hopkins University (Baltimore, USA) declared the colour as somewhere between pale turquoise and aquamarine. The colour was stated after analysis of data from over 200,000 galaxies within two billion light years of earth. However, it turns out that there was an error in the perception of this data and in fact, after some embarrassment, they now believe the colour of the universe to be more like beige.

Purple Inspiration

Interesting anecdotes similar to this are scattered through this little gem of a resource and inspiration book.

What I really like about ROY G. BIV is that you can pick it up, flick to the colour that is resonating with you at the time or start at the beginning and literally uncover all curious facts about every colour of the rainbow.

Perfect for dinner party conversations such as “did you know that green wallpaper may (or may not) have killed Napolean?”

Green Inspiration

Did you know that in World War II, the British painted a whole flotilla of warships pinkish-purple so they'd blend in with the sky at dusk and confuse the Germans. Pink!

Interestingly, Jude lives with synthesia, or what she describes as “a harmless brain quirk in which you associate some stimulus with colour”.

As such, Jude has the ability to literally make us look at colour in a whole different light.

Jude also talks about the universal relationship between colour and language which again, unveils further interesting facts such as a study in 1969 by two linguists, Brent Berlin and Paul Kay.

Berlin and Kay studied 20 different languages that were completely unrelated to each other."They found that as languages develop differing names for colors, those names always enter the language in the same order. So that order is black, white, red, green and yellow, blue, and then brown. So, if they're going to have only three words for colors, those words will almost always be black, white and red.”

I’m still making my way through this terrific book but one things for sure is that it will leave you tickled pink with inspiration!

Rainbow Inspiration

Book Reviews

“A whole spectrum of mythbusting and knowledge around color comes to light in the new book ROY G. BIV by Jude Stewart” – Fast Company

“In an artfully designed work, factoids and myths about color are brightly packaged in an format with eye-catching typographics. [Stewart's] research into the associations and meanings of color is extensive.” – Kirkus Reviews

“Stewart's well-designed book is visually stimulating and surprising, reminding readers that colors are sill as fascinating and fun as they were in grade school.” – Publishers Weekly

“Stewart is a color expert without a hint of elitism (we are all color experts). What makes her an appealing guide is that she is having fun; she drifts from words like "felicity" and "literaria" to endearing quotes from, of all people, Eminem.” – Smartplanet

ROY G. BIV Inspired Products We Love

Following is the Editor's Picks of favourite products, from retailers all across Australia, that are inspired by the colours of the rainbow.


Red Splashback

Visual Resource, VR Art Glass® Decorative Splashback, From $1,950.00


Orange Pendant Light

Liquid Lighting & Design, Lucretia Lighting Replica Foscarini Chouchin 1 Large


Yellow Wallpaper

Wallpaper Brockers, Sanderson Wallpaper Dauphine Yellow


Green AGA Oven

AGA, Falcon Classic 90cm Dual Fuel Green


Blue wave room wallpaper

Pickawall, Blue Wave Wallpaper


Indigo Carpet

Reliance Carpet Co Pty Ltd, Brintons Plain "Bell Twist" Windermere Lake


Violet Chanderlier

Chandelierium, Venetian Glass Carnivale Amethyst