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Searching for the Rainbow

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Part of a wider investigation in to the relationship between colour and language, produced for my MA Graphic Design Major Project. This presentation documents a collection of image search results for basic colour terms produced using Google Image Search.

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Searching for the Rainbow

  1. 1. Colourful Language MA Graphic Design Major project Visual Research Eleanor Maclure 2012
  2. 2. A visual interpretation of basic colour terms through the use of Google Image Search Searching for the Rainbow
  3. 3. Searching for the Rainbow Visual Research Presentation Introduction The philosopher Wittgenstein famously asked ‘How do I know that this color is red? —It would be an answer to say: I have learnt English.’ But how do we know what is red? In today’s digital age perhaps a more pertinent response would be: ‘Google it’.
  4. 4. Searching for the Rainbow Visual Research Presentation For many the internet has become our primary source of information and knowledge. Inclusive and participatory, as an entity it represents the culmination of everything that has been posted and uploaded, with each new contribution slightly altering the shape of the whole. But how does Google know what is red? Tags, Search Engine Optimisation and complex algorithms now set the precedence for the information we receive when we search for something. Search engines are able to dictate the type of information we consume, influencing our perceptions of what is important with the ranking of their search results. Introduction
  5. 5. Searching for the Rainbow Visual Research Presentation Process The use of Google image search as a tool to provide a visual interpretation of colour terms began as no more than an exercise in understanding, to enable me to progress with other research, it was a means to an end. However, repetition of the process began to reveal both the changing nature of the internet and the similarities and differences between the colours in the images retrieved by each search. Although translated through Google’s algorithms, collectively, the images represent the level of understanding of colour and colour terms by those posting them, tagging them or writing the accompanying text.
  6. 6. Searching for the Rainbow Visual Research Presentation The methodology for this exercise involved inputting each of the eleven basic colour terms, defined by Berlin & Kay, into Google Image Search with the addition of the word ‘colour’. This concession was an undesirable but necessary consequence of the number of high profile celebrities with colour terms in their names. I then took (without exception) the first thirty images from the search results, as a foundation to work with and analyse using image manipulation processes. The images were indexed using Colourphon, resulting in a 9 x 9 grid of colour. They were blurred with a specific and constant amount of Gaussian blur in Photoshop and finally, also using Photoshop, the RGB values for the pixels in each image were averaged to give a solid block of colour. Process
  7. 7. Searching for the Rainbow Visual Research Presentation As a body of work, the project presents a visual representation of each colour term, mediated by Google, and functions as a snapshot of colour on the Internet that due to it’s constantly shifting nature, can never be replicated exactly. It shows not only the variety of responses to the names of colours but also the level of consensus across the range of images. It allows the viewer to appreciate how the colours and images transform and mutate with each of the different processes applied, as they move from defined forms, into indistinguishable shapes, to a solid, uniform block of colour. This method is but one of the many possible ways of exploring the relationship between colour and language but it one that is truly a reflection of our digital age. Conclusions
  8. 8. Pink
  9. 9. Searching for the Rainbow Visual Research Presentation Pink Search Results
  10. 10. Searching for the Rainbow Visual Research Presentation Pink Pixelated
  11. 11. Searching for the Rainbow Visual Research Presentation Pink Blurred
  12. 12. Searching for the Rainbow Visual Research Presentation Pink Colour Averaged
  13. 13. Red
  14. 14. Searching for the Rainbow Visual Research Presentation Red Search Results
  15. 15. Searching for the Rainbow Visual Research Presentation Red Pixelated
  16. 16. Searching for the Rainbow Visual Research Presentation Red Blurred
  17. 17. Searching for the Rainbow Visual Research Presentation Red Colour Averaged
  18. 18. Orange
  19. 19. Searching for the Rainbow Visual Research Presentation Orange Search Results
  20. 20. Searching for the Rainbow Visual Research Presentation Orange Pixelated
  21. 21. Searching for the Rainbow Visual Research Presentation Orange Blurred
  22. 22. Searching for the Rainbow Visual Research Presentation Orange Colour Averaged
  23. 23. Yellow
  24. 24. Searching for the Rainbow Visual Research Presentation Yellow Search Results
  25. 25. Searching for the Rainbow Visual Research Presentation Yellow Pixelated
  26. 26. Searching for the Rainbow Visual Research Presentation Yellow Blurred
  27. 27. Searching for the Rainbow Visual Research Presentation Yellow Colour Averaged
  28. 28. Green
  29. 29. Searching for the Rainbow Visual Research Presentation Green Search Results
  30. 30. Searching for the Rainbow Visual Research Presentation Green Pixelated
  31. 31. Searching for the Rainbow Visual Research Presentation Green Blurred
  32. 32. Searching for the Rainbow Visual Research Presentation Green Colour Averaged
  33. 33. Blue
  34. 34. Searching for the Rainbow Visual Research Presentation Blue Search Results
  35. 35. Searching for the Rainbow Visual Research Presentation Blue Pixelated
  36. 36. Searching for the Rainbow Visual Research Presentation Blue Blurred
  37. 37. Searching for the Rainbow Visual Research Presentation Blue Colour Averaged
  38. 38. Purple
  39. 39. Searching for the Rainbow Visual Research Presentation Purple Search Results
  40. 40. Searching for the Rainbow Visual Research Presentation Purple Pixelated
  41. 41. Searching for the Rainbow Visual Research Presentation Purple Blurred
  42. 42. Searching for the Rainbow Visual Research Presentation Purple Colour Averaged
  43. 43. Brown
  44. 44. Searching for the Rainbow Visual Research Presentation Brown Search Results
  45. 45. Searching for the Rainbow Visual Research Presentation Brown Pixelated
  46. 46. Searching for the Rainbow Visual Research Presentation Brown Blurred
  47. 47. Searching for the Rainbow Visual Research Presentation Brown Colour Averaged
  48. 48. Black
  49. 49. Searching for the Rainbow Visual Research Presentation Black Search Results
  50. 50. Searching for the Rainbow Visual Research Presentation Black Pixelated
  51. 51. Searching for the Rainbow Visual Research Presentation Black Blurred
  52. 52. Searching for the Rainbow Visual Research Presentation Black Colour Averaged
  53. 53. Grey
  54. 54. Searching for the Rainbow Visual Research Presentation Grey Search Results
  55. 55. Searching for the Rainbow Visual Research Presentation Grey Pixelated
  56. 56. Searching for the Rainbow Visual Research Presentation Grey Blurred
  57. 57. Searching for the Rainbow Visual Research Presentation Grey Colour Averaged
  58. 58. White
  59. 59. Searching for the Rainbow Visual Research Presentation White Search Results
  60. 60. Searching for the Rainbow Visual Research Presentation White Pixelated
  61. 61. Searching for the Rainbow Visual Research Presentation White Blurred
  62. 62. Searching for the Rainbow Visual Research Presentation White Colour Averaged
  63. 63. Colourful Language Eleanor Maclure 2012 http://eleanormaclure.wordpress.com/ http://issuu.com/eleanorbydesign/docs/searching_for_the_rainbow

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