Hmm, intriguing! So I had to check it out to see if there was anything behind this ambitious goal...
Color is the ultimate tool a designer has at his or her disposal to communicate feeling and mood. Cymbolism is a new website that attempts to quantify the association between colors and words, making it simple for designers to choose the best colors for the desired emotional effect.
It's still in baby-phase at this point (launched in July '08), but the nice thing about the site is that anyone can vote on what color they associate with a particular word, thereby adding his or her own impressions. In techie terminology, it's called a "crowd sourcing application".
Future versions promise to track user demographics for each vote, as well. That would be really interesting to see- how does someone in Africa perceive the word/color pairing for "authority" versus someone in Italy, for instance?
They've got a long way to go, as their dictionary is still quite sparse, but you can submit word suggestions for voting in the future.
And view previous voting history for a particular word, tracking the changes over time.
My main concern is consistency- everyone's monitor is calibrated differently, and so there is no way to be certain we're all looking at the same colors. What appears neon green to me may seem like a forest green to someone else. As the site so astutely states in a blog post, "the hue, the saturation, and the brightness of the color all have to be evaluated when it comes to what kind of effect color has on mood." So at least they are aware of the complexity involved in tagging a color with words. I guess the compromise is that people must look at the color in its most general term.
Check it out; I'm curious to hear your reactions. As designers, would you find this site useful? What would you add to it to make it better?