Language of Color
a study group of the AIC


How do people from different cultures associate colours with certain words?

Posted on 2017-12-19 - link

Ivar Jung

Ivar Jung

An exciting new comparative study between colour associations and 26 words in 10 different countries is conducted by our member Ivar Jung, Dept. of Design, Linnaeus University, Sweden.

The aim of this research is to investigate if there are distinctive patterns - similarities and differences - in how subjects from different cultures associate words with colours. The 24 words tested in this study are: warm, cold, sorrow, happiness, calm, upset, near, distant, young, old, feminine, masculine, fast, slow, strong, weak, false, true, cheap, expensive, friendly, dangerous, me, others, health and sickness.

The countries represented in this study are located in different parts of the world, with different cultures and religious traditions. From each country, there are two groups of subjects, one group is a general mix of people who are not working with colours in their professional life. Another group consists of students of art and design or other colour trained persons. It will be possible to compare the answers from these two groups separately.

Design students and laypersons are given 26 words in their native language. They are asked to assign each word to a colour from a chart with 27 selected colours from the NCS atlas. The results will be analyzed in terms of how coherent the answers are and potential patterns that emerge specific to the countries, and their cultural contexts. It should be also possible to examine if there are differences in the chosen colours related to the subjects’ sex, age, experience of colour and religion.

The results of this study will be presented at future AIC conferences. Please feel free to contact Ivar Jung if you are interested in contributing in his study.

Call & Dates | AIC LISBOA 2018

Posted on 2017-10-28 - link

An iconic symbol

An iconic symbol

On behalf of the International Colour Association (AIC), the AIC 2018 Organizing and Scientific Committees, would like to invite you to participate and submit an abstract on colour, related to the theme of Human Comfort, a key issue in our society.

More info: AIC LISBOA 2018

Our next meeting will take place at the Munsell 2018 in Boston! Call for poster papers is open...

Posted on 2017-10-28 - link

ISCC | AIC  Munsell Centennial Symposium

ISCC | AIC Munsell Centennial Symposium

Call for Poster Papers

ABSTRACT DEADLINE: December 15, 2017 NOTIFICATION: February 9, 2018 PUBLICATION DEADLINE: June 30, 2018

The Program Committee invites submissions of scientific poster papers that feature the history, evolution, state-of-the-art, and future directions for Munsell’s color system and systems inspired by Munsell as well as other approaches to solving color-related problems in science, art, industry and education.

Accepted papers may be presented at the symposium and are eligible for inclusion in a special issue of the journal Color Research and Application.

Poster submissions on topics that will enhance the themes of the invited presentations are especially encouraged.

More Info: Munsell 2018.

An online color naming experiment in Russian using Munsell color samples

Posted on 2017-10-18 - link

Location of centroids for the 12 Russian BCTs for females (filled circle) and males (filled square); a*b* plane (top) and L*a*b* (bottom) in CIELAB

Location of centroids for the 12 Russian BCTs for females (filled circle) and males (filled square); a*b* plane (top) and L*a*b* (bottom) in CIELAB

Research output from collaborative project between Galina V. Paramei (Co-Chair), Yulia A. Griber (member) and Dimitris Mylonas (Chair). The journal paper is published under Open Access policy.

An online color naming experiment in Russian using Munsell color samples.

Agenda for SGLC meeting at AIC 2017, Jeju, S. Korea

Posted on 2017-10-11 - link

Agenda SGLC meeting

Agenda SGLC meeting

Colour naming for colour design in Colour Design 2nd Ed

Posted on 2017-07-18 - link



Colour Design 2nd Edition Theories and Applications Editor: Janet Best


Colour Design: Theories and Applications, Second Edition, provides information on a broad spectrum of colour subjects written by seasoned industry professionals and academics. It is a multidisciplinary book that addresses the use of colour across a range of industries, with a particular focus on textile colouration.

Part One deals with the human visual system, colour perception and colour psychology, while Part Two focuses on the practical application of colour in design, including specifically in textiles and fashion. Part Three covers cultural and historical aspects of colour, as well as recent developments, addressing areas such as dyes and pigments, architecture, colour theory, virtual reality games, colour printing, website development, and sustainability. This revised, expanded, and updated edition reflects recent technological developments, and new industry priorities.

Bringing together the science of colouration and the more artistic elements of design, this book supports students, academics, and industry professionals in developing a deep knowledge of colour use. It will also be an important reference for those involved in textile dyeing, design and manufacture.

Key Features

• Provides a comprehensive review of the issues surrounding the use of color in textiles

• Discusses the application of color across a wide range of industries, supporting interdisciplinary knowledge and research

• Offers a revised, expanded, and updated look that reflects the rise of new technology and industry priorities


Textile dyers and colourists, academics interested in colour design and theory, and anyone who uses colour in their work

The abstract submission for AIC 2017 is now open.

Posted on 2016-12-22 - link

Abstract Submission Open

Abstract Submission Open

You can find more information and submit your abstract at

Color Language and Color Categorization

Posted on 2016-08-02 - link

Book Cover

Book Cover

This volume represents a unique collection of chapters on the way in which color is categorized and named in a number of languages. Although color research has been a topic of focus for researchers for decades, the contributions here show that many aspects of color language and categorization are as yet unexplored, and that current theories and methodologies which investigate color language are still evolving. Some core questions addressed here include: How is color conceptualized through language? What kind of linguistic tools do languages use to describe color? Which factors tend to bias color language? What methodologies could be used to understand human color categorization and language better? How do color vocabularies evolve? How does context impact the color cognition?

The chapters collected here adopt different theoretical and methodological approaches in describing new empirical research on how the concept of color is represented in a variety of different languages. Researchers in linguistics, psychology, and cognitive science present a set of new explorations and challenges in the area of color language. The book promotes several methodological and disciplinary dimensions to color studies. The color category is given an in-depth and broad-based examination, so a reader interested in color conceptualization for itself will be able to form a solid vision of the subject. More Info.

Call for papers : AIC 2017 JEJU 13th Congress

Posted on 2016-07-29 - link

call for papers

call for papers

More info

14-16 Sep 2016 – 4th Progress in Colour Studies Conference (PICS 2016) University College London, UK

Posted on 2016-06-28 - link

PICS 2016 at University College London

PICS 2016 at University College London

The aim of the conference is to provide a multidisciplinary forum for discussion of recent and ongoing research, presented so as to be accessible to scholars in other disciplines. Including but not limited to the following topics: linguistics, psycholinguistics, vision, perception, cognition, memory, design, fashion, architecture, art, history, heritage, culture, imaging, computation, analysis, modeling, illumination, optics, photography, technology, conservation, chemistry, materials, surface.

The programme for Progress in Colour Studies 2016 is now available here. Also - a reminder that early bird registration runs until 31/7.

Call for nominations for a Member of the AIC Executive Committee

Posted on 2016-06-19 - link

cherry picking by Julie Falk

cherry picking by Julie Falk

Dear SGLC members,

You can find below a call for nominations for a Member of the AIC Executive Committee from the AIC Secretary/Treasurer, Lindsay MacDonald.

We look forward to receiving your nominations.

Best Wishes,

Dimitris Mylonas

Chair Study Group on the Language of Colour

Dear AIC Member Countries,

I am sorry to announce that for personal reasons Professor Nancy Kwallek has resigned from her position as an Ordinary Member of the AIC Executive Committee. Under Article 7 of the AIC Statutes, the EC has decided to hold a by-election to fill the vacancy for the remainder of the period until the next election (at the Congress in October 2017). We are therefore calling for nominations by Friday 29th July 2016. In the event of two or more nominations being received, you will then be asked to vote during August.

Please note that, again under Article 7 of the Statutes (2013), “The membership of the Executive Committee should be such that no regular member is represented by more than one person. The exception to this rule is the Past President.” Hence the new member cannot represent Australia, Taiwan, Great Britain, Portugal, Argentina or Korea. The AIC welcomes diversity and representation from all parts of the world.

To nominate someone for this position, please provide for the candidate: - a brief biography emphasising colour-related activity - a portrait photograph - a supporting letter signed by the Chairman of the committee of the member society

Please think carefully about this opportunity. We will welcome candidates who are active in any field of colour and who are interested to join us in the leadership of AIC.

Yours sincerely,


Lindsay MacDonald PhD

AIC Secretary/Treasurer

Call for papers: International Scientific Conference COLOUR-CULTURE-SCIENCE in Poland

Posted on 2016-04-15 - link

 Horse and carriage  in Kraków by Mike Allyn

Horse and carriage in Kraków by Mike Allyn

Colour-Culture-Science , 3rd International Scientific Conference in the cycle Colour Day, 23-24 November 2016, Cracow, Poland. Organized by: Polish Colour Association, Jan Matejko Academy of Fine Arts in Cracow

Call for Papers open Abstract Submission Deadline 30 April 2016 Committee: Dr Bożena Groborz, Dr Agata Kwiatkowska-Lubańska (ECD member), Dr inż. arch. Justyna Tarajko-Kowalska (ECD member)

more info

Comunicação com Cores (trans. Communication with colours) by Paula Csillag

Posted on 2016-04-03 - link

The goal of this book is to deepen the understanding of chromatic communication elements that tend to be generalized to human beings with normal eyesight. The term generalized is used in the sense of visual perception elements that work in a similar way to human beings, due to physiological factors. This book was organized according to visual perception Model SENS ORG INT’s structure. This model was devised by the author, presented in the conference and awarded in the 2007 Book of Selected Readings of the North American Association International Visual Literacy Association, with the Editor’s Choice Award, as the best paper presented and submitted. With such a framework, now applied to color, it may be possible to identify parameters for the creation and analysis of images, regarding the efficiency of its communication with colors. Principles here derived may be useful for application in design, advertising, architecture, movies, photography, fashion, packaging and any area that deals with visual communication.

More info.

Thinking Colours - Perception, Translation and Representation

Posted on 2016-03-26 - link

The essays collected into this volume are organized into five interrelated sections exploring discourse on the interaction between sensation, perceptions of colour and the various forms of their cultural representation. The contributors analyse aspects related to colour ‘labelling’, its mediation and representation, consider traditional and new approaches to colour, and explore the cultural productivity of colour across different fields. Colour is presented within a conceptual framework that fosters alliances between the humanities and the social and natural sciences.

Part I is dedicated to studying colour from a cognitive perspective, while Part II contains essays dealing with issues surrounding the translation of colour lexicons and covers topics such as the Chinese qing macro-colour category and colour metonymy in advertising.

The papers grouped together in Part III explore the negotiation that occurs between colours and literature in a masterpiece of Chinese literary criticism Wenxin Diaolong (The Literary Mind and the Carving of Dragons) by Liu Xie, colour metaphors in Homeric epics, and finally the interpretation of colour in modern Portuguese youth novels. This is followed by Part IV, which examines the use of colour in the visual arts. The studies in Part V emphasize the usage of colour and colour preferences within different cultural and social environments, including peculiarities in design and architecture and the symbolism of colour in tourism.

Many of the questions addressed throughout this volume stem from the dialogic interaction among the contributors representing various different fields of research. Two particular aspects are present throughout the volume and will have a profound effect on the reader, namely that the categorization and the interpretation of colour are a priori emotional and vary from culture to culture. Colour names have their own “cultural memory” and references; they can either “remember” or “forget” some notions relevant to the speakers’ cultural tradition. Second, as a cultural puzzle, colour produces very strong associative and symbolic meanings, thus ensuring it remains a strong semiotic resource and a powerful instrument for conveying and communicating meaning. More info.

Augmenting Basic Colour Terms in English (2016) by Dimitris Mylonas & Lindsay MacDonald

Posted on 2016-02-05 - link

Turquoise2Lilac by D. Mylonas

Turquoise2Lilac by D. Mylonas


In an unconstrained colour naming experiment conducted over the web, 330 participants named 600 colour samples in English. The 30 most frequent monolexemic colour terms were analyzed with regards to frequency, consensus among genders, response times, consistency of use, denotative volume in the Munsell and OSA colour spaces and inter-experimental agreement. Each of these measures served for ranking colour term salience; rankings were then combined to give a composite index of basicness. The results support the extension of English inventory from the 11 basic colour terms of Berlin and Kay to 13 terms by the addition of lilac and turquoise. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Col Res Appl, 41, 32–42, 2016 More info.

Color names, stimulus color, and their subjective links (2016) by Liliana Albertazzi & Osvaldo Da Pos (member of SGLC)

Posted on 2016-01-27 - link

Hand made by  Nicola Romagna

Hand made by Nicola Romagna


The aim of the research reported by this study was on the one hand to identify what colors were associated with particular words in relation to a specific language (Italian), by portraying them in color stimuli on the screen of a monitor; and on the other hand to verify whether some words of that language denoted colors that were either particularly well defined or confused with others. In an experiment using special software, the subjects were asked to produce colors directly, instead of choosing among a number of colors presented on the screen. The results showed that (i) it is possible to identify the color-stimuli to which the terms of a language refer; that (ii) the “best” colors Giallo (Yellow), Rosso (Red), Blu (Blue), and Verde (Green) which the subjects were requested to produce were very similar to the corresponding unique hues; that (iii) among the mixed hues there were perceptually intermediate colors, that is, ones exactly midway between two consecutive unique colors: Arancione (Orange) and Viola (bluish Purple); that (iv) Turquoise and Lime were clearly positioned in the mental space of color of the participants; and that (v) for Italian speakers some hues coincide: Azzurro (Azure) and Celeste (Cerulean); Arancione (Orange), RossoGiallo (RedYellow) and Carota (Carrot); Lime and GialloVerde (YellowGreen), so that their color terms can be considered synonyms. Our most interesting finding, however, is that for Italian speakers these four mixed colors with their specific names (Lime, Turchese (Turquoise), Viola (bluish Purple) and Arancione (Orange) fall perceptually in the middle of each of the four quadrants formed in the hue circle by the four unique hues. The resulting circle is therefore characterized by eight colors of which four are unique and four are intermediate mixed. It would be advisable to repeat the study cross-culturally to test for possible similarities and differences in color meanings with speakers of different languages. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Col Res Appl, 2016.

Annual Report Preparation

Posted on 2016-01-07 - link

Image by Karsten Schmidt

Image by Karsten Schmidt

We are in preparation of our annual report and we want to hear about your activities in 2015 related to our study group accompanied by a colourful picture by 1st March 2016. Considering our limited single page space see previous report pg 43 we will try to include the most appropriate entries but we have always more space on our website.

AIC2016 Interim Meeting

Posted on 2015-12-23 - link

 "La Busqueda" (The Search) en la Municipalidad de Vitacura by Jimmy Baikovicius

"La Busqueda" (The Search) en la Municipalidad de Vitacura by Jimmy Baikovicius

The Chilean Association of Colour and the AIC2016 Organizing Committee, are pleased to invite you to participate in the AIC2016 Interim Meeting, to be held in Santiago, Chile - October 18th - 21st, 2016.

The theme of the conference is ‘Color in Urban Life: Images, Objects and Spaces’. The aim of AIC2016 is to share experiences regarding the use of color in images, objects and space, from different perspectives and disciplines, thus contributing to a better user experience, improving usability, and also to improve life quality in our cities.

Abstract Submission Deadline: January 18th, 2016 To submit your extended abstract please visit:

We hope to see you next year in Santiago!

Color naming in Italian language (2015) by G. Paggetti, G. Menega and G. Paramei

Posted on 2015-12-07 - link

Blue wall at Burano by Riccardo Ce

Blue wall at Burano by Riccardo Ce


The present study investigated Italian basic color terms (BCTs). It is an extension of our previous work that explored Italian basic color categories (BCCs) using a constrained color-naming method, with 11 Italian BCTs allowed, including blu for naming the BLUE area. Since a latter outcome indicated a categorization bias, here monolexemic color-naming method was employed, enabling also use of azzurro, deeply entrenched Italian term that designates light blue. In Experiment 1, colors (N = 367), sampling the Munsell Mercator projection, were presented on a CRT; color names and reaction times of vocalization onset were recorded. Naming consistency and consensus were estimated. Consistency was obtained for 12 CTs, including the two blue terms; consensus was found for 11 CTs, excluding rosso “red.” For each consensus category, color with the shortest response time was considered focal. In Experiment 2, consensus stimuli (N = 72) were presented; on each trial, observers indicated the focal color (“best example”) in an array of colors comprising a consensus category. For each of the 12 Italian CCs, centroid was calculated and focal color (two measures) estimated. Compared to English color terms, two outcomes are specific to Italian color naming: (i) naming of the RED-PURPLE area is highly refined, with consistent use of emergent non-BCTs; (ii) azzurro and blu both perform as BCTs dividing the BLUE area along the lightness dimension. The findings are considered in the framework of the weak relativity hypothesis. Historico-linguistic, environmental, and pragmatic communication factors are discussed that conceivably have driven the extension of the BCT inventory in Italian. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Col Res Appl, 2015

Full article

The English Colour Language: A Colour Word Compendium

Posted on 2015-08-20 - link

We are delighted to announce the first resource on our new website: “The English Language, a Colour Word Compendium” by our long term member John B Hutchings. Available now for the first time to members of our study group.

Visit Resource

Feel free to contact us if you wish to share resources related to all colour languages of the world (colour dictionaries, compendiums, colour naming databases etc).

Meeting agenda: Study Group on The Language of Colour (SGLC)

Posted on 2015-05-15 - link

Wednesday, 20 May 2015, 17:30 - 19:00
Room C, Ochanomizu sola city Conference Center, Tokyo, Japan

  1. Welcome & Introductions
  2. Apologies
  3. Purpose of the Study Group
  4. New Online Presence
  5. Short Oral Presentations
    • Norifumi Kunimoto
      Changes of Color Names and Coloring Materials in Japan
    • Pichayada Katemake
      Comparison among Three Methods for Thai Colour Naming
    • Dimitris Mylonas
      Colour communication within and across languages
  6. Open Discussion
    The future of the Study Group on The Language of Colour
  7. Delegations
  8. Next Meeting
    AIC Color 2017, 13th Congress
    16-20 October 2017, in Jeju Island, Korea

Open Invitation

Posted on 2015-02-12 - link

We are in the process of redefining the scope of the study group you are invited to come up with new ideas to improve our existing purpose:

“The purpose of this study group (LC) is to discuss and share information on the studies about the fields such as linguistics, semiotics, cognitive science and other topics including color naming and categorisation, colored synaesthesia, semantic studies on color, colour grammar and syntax which are key to this study group.”

We also welcome suggestions on activities that SGLC can engage with and support.

To join the conversation, you have to register as a member in the provided form. The dialogue will start in group emails and will be elaborated at the AIC 2015 meeting in Tokyo.

New Chairman and Co-Chairwoman

Posted on 2015-02-11 - link

Dimitris Mylonas, Chairman and Galina Paramei, Co-Chairwoman

Dimitris Mylonas, Chairman and Galina Paramei, Co-Chairwoman

Dimitris Mylonas has been appointed as the new Chairman of the Study Group Language of Colour of the International Colour Association. He replaces Prof Jinsook Lee who is stepping down to take over the responsibilities of Chair of the Organising Committee of the AIC 2017 Congress in Korea. Prof Galina Paramei has been named as the new Co-Chairwoman of the study group.

“It has been a pleasure being members of the group under her Chairmanship and we thank her and Prof Paul Green Armytage for their efforts and wish every success in their future undertakings.”

Dimitris Mylonas and Galina Paramei bring extensive research expertise in the cognitive aspects of colour and administration skills of public engagement events to Study Group Language of Colour. Read more

“We are delighted to be joining the Study Group Language of Colour. Our vision is to develop and maintain an international interdisciplinary network of researchers with an interest in the relationship between colour and language and to engage the public with the current progress in this area of research. We look forward in contributing to the advancement of the International Colour Association.”

Welcome to our new website

Posted on 2015-02-10 - link

Color Impact image by James zhan -

Color Impact image by James zhan -

We are delighted to introduce you to our new website that we feel better reflects our study group today.

We hope you will enjoy surfing on our pages and that the improved navigation will allow you to find the information you need more quickly and easily.

This is where we plan to share our thoughts and resources on the current developments of the colour and language related areas of research. You can register as a member using the provided form.

We will continue updating the website with useful information for our members and the general public and and adding new functionalities along the way.

Please contact us to let us know what you think of our new website - all comments and feedback are welcome.


Members of the Language of Color study group can see each others full contact details. They also get priviledged access to publication and data sets.

It's free, get in touch.

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