3 Color Study Exercises

Good morning! Today I'd like to inspire you through color because it's a nice way to begin a new week. In this post, I'll outline three color exercises that you can try at home, but first let's talk about color and the pretty palettes you're subconsciously gathering in your daily life (shopping, snapping photos, planning your outfit, etc.). Blog Boss

I bet you can relate to a little something I've noticed about myself from my Pinterest account: recurring color themes! My pins always share a common color palette but I'm not consciously aware of this until after pinning and look back. My color choices are completely random and seldom predictable. I considered if this happens in other areas of my daily life and yup, it always has. I can trace it back to being a child and shopping for Japanese paper products at my local Sanrio shop (I proudly laid everything out mood board style after each visit on Fridays after school).

Color Exercise

If you stop and consider the palettes that you are collecting, from identifying the colors to determining how they make you feel, you can learn quite a bit about yourself and your personal style.


I also notice color palettes appearing after I've gone shopping (never during) and return home to lay out my loot. I may aimlessly wonder from shop to shop over the course of a day without a clue of what to buy or why (retail therapy) yet when I return home and group my finds I always spot a definite color palette. There are usually about 3-5 core colors (always various tints and tones of 2-3 single hues) that I return with that repeat in nearly everything I've purchased from a pack of sugar-free gum to a bottle of juice, a meter of fabric, buttons, a book cover and a blouse. I find this fascinating.

Color Exercise

Over the past week I noticed how these themes surface in other ways at home. A collage that I made on my wall, a gift I'd wrapped for a friend, Spring shoes purchased over the past few weeks - when grouped together all share a similar palette and mood - fresh greens and mints, yellow, shots of neon pink, flecks of gold and a smattering of black.

Color Exercise

Here are three exercises that you can try for a little color fun:

1) Spot Themes: Next time you are pinning, blogging, shopping, snapping photos, etc. try to examine your colors at the end of the day. Any specific themes? If so, you have something to share on your blog or in your journal. Log your color inspirations somewhere. After a couple of months of keeping track, you may find a recurring color in each palette (or several) which can lead you to discovering a great new dining room wall paint, the colors for your next party, etc.

2) Work with colors that you don't like: This is a great learning exercise if you find yourself consistently "against" a specific color. Remember, Red (for example) isn't just the red you think of when you envision Christmas or Valentine's Day. Red can also be the color of an Autumn leaf, glass of Merlot or a candy apple from the circus. Don't think in terms of pure hues - red in its primary state may not be your thing but if more white or black is added, the tints and tones of red may be just perfect. Also, it may be the OTHER colors that you generally associate paired with red - like Christmas - Red and Evergreen. Or a Circus - Red and White stripes. Perhaps if you paired red with sky blue, you would fall in love. In this exercise, take the color that you DO NOT like and find ways in which the color DOES appeal to you. Maybe a different shade, paired with different colors, etc. You can try this exercise on Pinterest (create a pinboard for this exercise if you wish) or in a journal, on a wall, mood board, on your tabletop - it doesn't matter how you collect - just collect! What did your study reveal?

3) Work with a favorite color: This is fun if you are in a color rut! Perhaps people associate you with yellow, or pink or black/white. Unless you are trying to brand yourself, you may simply be stuck in a color rut! This exercise is great because you can start with a color that you LOVE (which is easy, right?). Take a day to go out and find your color in the world around you. Street art, a bow tie in a store, book jacket, shop sign, piece of candy, your lunch... Snap photos and collect your color. Then try it digitally on another day - look for this color in 10-15 images (or more) online and collect them in a single place (maybe Pinterest, WishPot or a folder on your desktop). Examine how the color is used and in what dose - a lot, a little, in between? What other colors it is paired with? Which combinations do you tend to like the most? Which tend to not evoke an emotional response? You can find a beautiful palette that you never thought about before and the funny thing is, you may find ANOTHER color that you didn't consider before. For instance, maybe your color study revealed that although you LOVE sunshine yellow, perhaps seeing it around lots of fresh green made you equally cheerful - and this may have given you a hint that green could be a new color to introduce to your evolving collection of favorite colors.


Have fun thinking about color today! I'll be back with my color palette for the week based on the first exercise above and then Leslie will be here with her monthly installment of Color Me Pretty!

(images: Holly Becker)