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Thursday, 4 June 2015

Learning Spaces and COLOUR

Linking to my last post on 'how colour affects learning', we have being thinking more about colour recently here at the Isle of Portland Aldridge Community Academy. This is especially as work continues and on our multi-million pound Maritime House Campus.

Dan Plunkett, Nova-Co Design
This week I have spoken to Dan Plunkett who is working with us on the project about his thoughts in this area. Dan is an architect and product strategist who has over twenty-five years of experience within the public and private sectors, delivering projects that add value to user experience and operational performance. From a background in retail architecture, with IKEA and Audi, he has been at the forefront of translating an understanding of the psychological and behavioural influences of space from retail across to learning environments.

Dan thoughts are that, 'There is a good degree of myth around colour and learning and very little scientific base'. Speaking to him, he highlights that,  'The eye only has a physical reaction to red as a specific colour. The rest is mostly to do with tone and a bit on colour saturation. So no one colour can have a better or worse impact on learning'. 

Dan has developed some understanding through some work with a Royal Academy artist on this as well as developing his thoughts through twenty years in retail.

He states that a 'general rule of thumb (he has) developed is:

A narrow tonal range is a calmer environment, higher contrast is more stimulating. Very high contrast can be disturbing to students on the autistic spectrum'.

Dan is, 'not sure white is good for walls due to the high contrast' but he believes that, 'patterns can help cognition, problem solving and concentration, particularly those that are derived from nature - complex trees etc.. Natural materials are good on furniture as a connection to nature is a basic psychological need'.

Dan believes that, 'you need at least one neutral element in a room to balance colour – a floor or wall' and that 'a basic rule from branding is three colours are most memorable. Think of a tricolour or flag'.

Dan's background has taught him that, 'Children don't like primary colours. They will always instinctively mix colours before using them'.

Obviously, Dan's view are just one person's thoughts on this interesting topic... what do you think? Let us know using the comments feature below.

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