Color Associations - Make One and Pass It On

Today's guest post comes from a woman I greatly admire. Lori Sawaya is the first to stand up and debunk color myths, firm in her resolution that there is more to color design than just recipes and misconceptions. She really knows her stuff. And she's super funny to boot!
Here's a little more about our guest blogger:

Lori is a recognized authority on color specializing in applied color psychology, color symbolism, and the integral relationship of light and color, Her perspective is unique as it has been cultivated over 20 years of hands-on experience working with print, paint, and color. Color Strategies is a color consulting service with a focus on Architectural Color and is a trusted and established resource that provides innovative solutions to industry, homeowners, and design professionals. In addition to consulting, Lori produces and presents educational and engaging color seminars and training programs.

Color Associations - Make One and Pass It On
by Lori Sawaya

I’m going to share something rather personal with you. It’s slightly gross, so read on at your own risk.
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Do you remember jars of school paste? The brush or spatula attached to the lid was the best part. It was my favorite school supply. I loved how it smelled too. And, yeah, the paste-eating jokes are duly noted. Swear I didn't eat mine. I just wanted to use that neat-o spatula to move the paste around in the jar.

Alas, the first day of school would come and go and classroom work would begin. "Take one and pass it on.” You remember that, don’t you? Inevitably, I would have to cut out words from the bottom of the worksheets and crack open my favorite school supply to paste them in the blanks above.
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The worksheets that came off the ditto machine were purple-blue and ditto ink bled. Worksheets out of workbooks were the worst because some of them would smear terribly when the black ink co-mingled with the bright white paste.

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On the days we had to paste up worksheets out of the books that smeared, it was easy to identify the kids in the classroom who picked their noses. Think about it.

I sat at a table with a kid named Melvin and by the end of language arts worksheet time, his face would be smeared black, white, and various shades of gray. I hated the worksheets-from-the-books days because my paste would get all mucked up and Melvin would be a mess from ear to ear (as he was also a sleeve-wiper).

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Melvin would clutch his cuff with his pinky and ring finger so the sleeve stayed sturdy for a solid wipe all the way up to his elbow. Even though it grossed me out, I still watched him do it – and he did it a lot.

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By the time it was warm enough for a short-sleeves reprieve, the school year was almost over.

So what does Melvin and paste have to do with you or color? Simple. Personal color associations. This whole color story leapt from my past and into my now when I saw a color palette on another popular blog.

Has anything similar ever happened to you?

The pictures of this house instantly transported me back to my jar of paste. The colors in these pictures are identical to the grays, browned grays, and charcoal colors that would dry up the sides of the jar and crust over because of the worksheet’s black ink.

Of course, there’s also the memory of Melvin's nose issues which is all over my color association with that palette and that memory is as dense as Melvin’s boogers were all over his sleeve.
After a spin in the time machine courtesy of my instant color association, I decided that this was not a color palette I could personally live with. In a way you could say I've been there and done that color story. It’s a gorgeous home and in that house the colors work.

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The pictures of that lovely home inspired a new Aha! color moment that is this: Color associations can stick with you a long time and they can be mighty powerful and choc-full of vivid memories and meanings.

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What are some of your most vivid color memories and associations?