Roy G. Biv Will Change the Way You Think About Color

Chicago writer Jude Stewart’s look at the cultural, philosophical, and scientific role of color takes tints beyond whether they work in your dining room or not.

In the decorating world, we throw colors around like they’re going out of style, which, at any moment, they just might be. The trend forecasting gods are constantly in our faces, making their incessant declarations: It’s all about canary yellow. No, actually, it’s emerald green! Wait, stop what you’re doing, and buy something indigo right now!

Not that there’s anything wrong with this, says the guilty-as-charged home design editor. Playing with color is, after all, the easiest—and cheapest—way to change up your home. 

But sometimes it’s nice to stop and see the colors. To consider them. That’s what author Jude Stewart asks us to do in her new book, Roy G. Biv.

Stewart, who writes about design for Fast Company, I.D., Print, and other publications, has written a small but ambitious treatise on tints, exploring them from every angle: philisophical (is the red I see the same as the red you see?), cultural (why are prisoners’ outfits orange?) and color-theory-based (where does brown fit in the rainbow?).

The book includes a general primer on pigments and a chapter devoted to each of the colors in the ‘bow (the title refers to a mnemonic device that rainbow enthusiasts often use to remember the order of the hues in their beloved arch). Colors that have, in Stewart’s words, “rich cultural significance,” such as pink, brown, and white, also get their due.

Don’t worry—this volume is not academic. All the information is divided into cocktail-party-ready morsels. Which is why Roy G. Biv belongs in every design junkies’ home.

Right next to the most current West Elm catalog.

Purchase a copy here.

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