Responsible Color Harmony

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Responsible Color Harmony

Color Design

Color enhances our living spaces, workspaces and environment. It has the ability to attract, reassure, and increase well being or motivation simply by the visual pleasure provided by color harmony.

Color and function

Color schemes must be chosen while keeping in mind the function of the space. Color has to complement the room purpose. Color associations can create a positive work environment or a relaxing atmosphere. In order to obtain this emotional and psychological effect choosing the right colors is fundamental. Choosing color in a healthcare facility becomes even more important because of specific use of each and what is at stake (for example not to use yellow shades in an area where the skin tone of new-borns is checked for jaundice)

Responsible colors

An increasingly important issue when creating color schemes for commercial projects or public buildings is the consideration of how easily and safely partially sighted people can navigate their space. For obvious reasons this is of paramount importance in the healthcare sector. When navigating an unfamiliar area the vast majority of partially sighted people will stop and take visual clues from the space around them. When used correctly, color and color differentiation can produce huge benefit.

A FEW TIPS

Visual guidance

A healthcare facility is often a very large structure and all floors and wings look alike, using specific color coding for the various departments can assist people to navigate and easily find their way around such a facility.

Use contrasting colors

It is vital that color not only complement each other but also provide a good level of contrast. Imagine if a bright red and bright blue are photocopied in black and white, there will be very little visual difference between the two. The same photocopy of a dark blue and a light blue would provide a significant difference. Contrasting colors will guide partially sighted.

Limit the color palette

When choosing internal finish materials, using a lot of differing colors may lead to an environment which is too visually busy, leading to confusion and unease. It may also cause maintenance and storage problems of materials for repair.

Choose the right finish

As well as considering colors, the choice of paint finish has an important role to play. High gloss surfaces can glare and cause confusion for visually impaired people. Matt or semi-gloss finishes will maximize the color contrast. Designs should be kept simple and the use of mixed, confusing patterns or stripes should be avoided.

Identify key features

If corridor walls are painted with a pale shade, the door and door frames within the corridor should be painted with a contrasting color. Vertical edges of doors should also contrast in color from the rest of the door as open doors can be very hazardous for the visually impaired. The door handle should also contrast with the color of the door. This will help to easily identify exits even for partially sighted people or in case of panic. If floors and walls are of similar color or tone think of using contrasting colors on the skirting (baseboard) to visually mark the depth of a room or corridor. The color of furniture and accessories should also contrast with the color of environment in order to make them appear and avoid accidents. It is possible to signal the end of a long corridor by using a contrasting color on the facing wall. It has been observed that color coding a corridor can drastically reduce the damage on walls caused by trolleys and beds while circulating. Visually mark changes in floor gradients or slopes with color and contrast to alert people.