Sunday, December 7, 2014
Where have all the colors gone?
Here we are at the winter of my discontent. Actually, I am discontented all winters, but only now beginning to understand the role that color plays in my unhappiness. Each fall New England explodes in its best show of the year. Vibrant greens gently transform into a gorgeous display featuring brilliant oranges, golds and reds. People travel to our region to see the seasonal spectacle and then quickly disappear to more temperate parts of the world as they know what happens next. Winter. The season that robs our landscape of all life-affirming hues. Just as the autumn leaves start to deepen into a second act, winter cruelly blows them away, leaving behind the dismal world of grays.
In graphic design there are many occasions where a designer may need to soften the intensity of an image so they can place type or other images on top. The easiest way to do this is to convert an image from full color to grayscale. Photoshop has a clever option that will do the dirty work in one heartless step called "desaturate". With a simple mouse click the photo or illustration has millions of colors sucked out and then replaced by 256 of shades of gray.
And so it is with winter. Sure, we may see some dusty mauves, smoky greens and dreary shades of brown and gray. On lucky days we might even be blessed with a cobalt blue sky or virginal snow gently hinting of lilac. For the next few months we will dwell in this world desaturated, but eventually spring arrive and debut the pure, verdant greens that signal have made it to the other side. And no one will be happier than me.