Monday, March 18, 2013

Improve Your Color Coordination Instantly

I thought up a visual exercise for anyone who thinks they have no talent for figuring out how patterns and colors work together.

If you've ever said to yourself...

"Can a big pattern go with a small one?"
"Do these colors look good with those colors?"
"Help! This is giving me a migraine! How can I tell what goes with what??!"

...then this exercise is for you.
Because it's fun.
It's fast.
And it works.

What to Do:
Scroll through the following photos and follow my directions. That's pretty much it.

Keep your eyes relaxed.
Don't worry about absorbing every detail of every photo.
It's okay if it doesn't make sense at first.
It's okay if you feel a little dizzy. It means your brain is working hard.

The main thing is, just keep your eyes relaxed and keep scrolling.


1. Take the colors in this photo and turn them into a wallpaper.

2. Now take the colors in this wallpaper and turn them into an abstract.

3. Now take the colors in this abstract and turn them into an illustration.

4. Now take the colors in this illustration and turn them into a really dense painting.

5. Now take the colors in this really dense painting and turn them into a room.

6. Now take the colors in this room and turn them into a picture.

7. Now take the colors in this picture and turn them into a fabric.

8. Now take the colors in this fabric and turn them into a map.

 9. Now take the colors in this map and turn them into a room.

10. Now take the colors in this room and turn them into an abstract pattern.

Congratulations, you did it!!

If this exercise worked for you, I'm about to explain why.

(But if it didn't, don't worry! It usually takes a few tries, so take a minute and then scroll through the photos again. I 99.9% promise you'll soon start to notice a wealth of new relationships between the pictures.)

I'm No Scientist But I Have A Theory Why It Works:

Usually when we try to match patterns and colors, we notice every little detail and wind up getting super-obsessive and OCD about everything. 

I don't think we need to be so literal.

By allowing our eyes to "graze" over the details in an image instead of dissecting them, we can train our brains to see things in a totally new way. Instead of categorizing an image as a room/painting/textile/whatever, we start to process it as a pattern.

And you know, that's all the visual world is, is patterns.
Lots and lots and lots of patterns.

So when we start to look at every image as a pattern, then suddenly we can see that there's a visual relationship between this...

...and this...

...and this.

* * * * * 

Don't forget, my first-ever One Kings Lane Designer Tag Sale starts TONIGHT at 6pm Pacific Standard Time. Be sure to check it out!


(Editors Note: I am sadly credit-less for these photos. If they are yours, please email me and I'll attribute them asap.)


Librarian Tells All said...


This immediately "clicked" for me, but I scrolled through twice to admire its simple brilliance. The next time a friend wants help "creating that effortless look and making it all work together," I'm going to show her this. You said it much better than I ever could!

<3 jen @ librarian tells all

Lisa Borgnes Giramonti said...


Thank you so much! Glad it worked for you!

Frances said...

Thank you...that was fun. Sometimes it's interesting to look at things upside down too, because your mind's eye won't file things in quite the same way.

Thank you also for starting us off with those old Faces.

Best wishes. said...

That was fun! I think people need to relax about what "goes" together & kinda "feel" their way with color, pattern & texture. If it feels right it works.
Darn it..helping with a Medieval school project tonight & missed the start of the sale. Going now to see what IF anything is left.
Best of luck with it,

Concrete Jungle said...

Loved it!

Emily said...

I get it!!!
Heading over to OKL now.

bc said...

A very entertaining and illuminating exercise! I'd love to know what book the floral observation illustration came from…

Willow said...

Not sure if I got to the relaxed state enough to get to the illumination (I am drinking morning coffee though so shall blame it on caffeine ) ~ I did however enjoy seeing a young Rod Stewart and the number 7 picture reminds me of the sofness of colors of the doggie sweater I just posted about, photo number 5 reminded me of the busy terrier also in that post my imagination was working but more on that busy OCD side lol

teamgloria said...

we grazed and it was delicious!


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