Colour Blocking: Disregarding Traditional Artistic Colour Harmonies or Promoting Post-Modernist Expressionism?

  • EH Andrew
Keywords: Colour Blocking, Colour Harmonies, Post-Modernism, Expressionism


A development in the world of design – costume, fashion, graphics, architecture and general decor whereby traditional colour harmonies are reengineered to suite the taste of the time engages the attention of the paper. The trending phenomenon popularly referred to as ‘colour blocking’ involves the use of bright ‘expressive’ colours for finishing in the decorative and utilitarian arts. In this practice, complimentary and contrasting colours are liberally used in the visual field to engage the attention of the viewer. This paper seeks, in the first instance to understand this trend and the
alternative interpretations of the concept. A review is made of traditional theories of colour usage and templates of appreciation of the arts, weighing them against current innovations in colour blocking. The paper attempts to theorize the phenomenon from the perspective of  post-modernist expressionism, which encompasses the arts and to a large extent shapes production and consumption patterns. In conclusion, the paper submits that colour usage like other design trends is evolutionary and in some cases cyclic. But nevertheless, messages can still be  transmitted despite the revolving trends and the influences of time.

Keywords: Colour Blocking, Colour Harmonies, Post-Modernism, Expressionism


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eISSN: 1813-2227