Color Pedagogy: Aligning Discipline-Specific Perceptions and Content Knowledge of Color in the Built Environment

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Color Pedagogy: Aligning Discipline-Specific Perceptions and Content Knowledge of Color in the Built Environment
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Journal of Undergraduate Research
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English
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Okken, Genesis M.
Portillo, Margaret
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University of Florida
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The purpose of this study is to evaluate the level of color knowledge and its perceived value by beginning and advanced interior design students. This study examines the perceived contribution of color in design by comparing more novice and upper-level students in relation to an index of their relative color knowledge. The present study builds upon and expands a precedent study conducted at Lund University that examined architecture students’ in Scandinavia and the UK perceived value of color in the built environment and a measure of basic color content knowledge. The findings of a precedent study on color in architectural education provides impetus to the present study, which extends the color index to include the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA) guidelines that set educational standards in North America. In the present study, a random sample of students (N = 68) from an accredited and nationally ranked interior design program was administered a questionnaire to assess basic color knowledge and perceived value of color within major market sectors. Key variables were compared to the Swedish precedent study and further statistical analyses explored relationships between the level of color knowledge and research and an understanding of the multiple functions of color in the built environment.

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University of Florida | Journal of Undergraduate Research | Volume 15 Issue 1 | Fall 2013 1 Color Pedagogy: Aligning Discipline S pecific P erceptions and Content K nowledge of Color in the Built Environment Genesis M Okken and Dr. Margaret Portillo College of Design, Construction and Planning University of Florida The purpose of this study is to evaluate the level of color knowledge and its perceived value by beginning and advanced inter ior design students. This study examines the perceived contribution of color in design by comparing more novice and upper l evel stu dents in relation to an index of their relative color knowledge. The present study builds upon and expands a precedent study conducted at Lund University in Scandinavia and the UK perceived value of color in the built e nvironment and a measure of basic color content knowledge. The findings of a precedent study on color in architectural education provide s impetus to the present study, which extends the color index to include the Council for I nterior D esign A ccreditation (CIDA) guidelines that set educational standards in North America In the present study, a random sample of students ( N = 68) from an accredited and nationally ranked interior design program was administered a questionnaire to assess basic color knowledge and perceived value of color with in major market sectors. Key variables were compared to the Swedish precedent study and further statistical analyses explore d relationships between the level of color knowledge and research and an understanding of the multi ple functions of color in the built environment. INTRODUCTION Color is a significant tool that designers can use to shape the built environment. Without a developed understanding of how to w ie ld this tool designer s may not have the n ecessary knowledge or experience to realize the full potential of color in the projects they are creating. Design students are expected to have mastered core competencies in color theory and application. CIDA Standard 10 on color states (2011) : Entry level interior designers apply color principles and theories. Student Learning Expectations Student work demonstrates understanding of: a) Color principles, theories, and systems. b) The interaction of color with materials, texture, light, form and the im pact on interior environments. Students: c) Appropriately select and apply color with regard to its multiple purposes d) Apply color effectively in all aspects of visual communicatio n (presentations, models, etc.). (p. II 19) Learning to apply color theory in t he design process is not optional in the education of entry level practitioners. The refore, the purpose of this study is to evaluate the perceived value of environmental color as well as the actual level of color knowledge of students in a CIDA accredited interior design program. This study expanded upon a precedent study, Color Research in Architectural Education A C ross C ultural E xplorative S tudy ( Janssens & Mikellides 1998) that evaluate d the perceived value design students place on color as well as assessed color knowledge. While this study evaluates architectural students and m y study examines interior design students, a similar conclusion is reached on the value of color instruction in design education and the relatively inadequate knowledge base gained in formal design education. Although architectural and design students alike agree that color is an important part of the built environment, this importance is not always perceived as being effectively addressed in the actual education received. Color Framework In order to assess color functions that students should learn to be proficient in during their education, a color planning framework was tested in this study as a typology expressing five categories of color functions: composition, communication, preference, response, and pragmatics (Portillo, 2009). This framework aligns well with S tandard 10. Color as a Compositional Element First and foremost, d esign students need to understand how to use colo r as a tool in shaping three dimensional space. S everal leading color theory text books repeat the concept of spatially advancing and receding colors (Miller, 1997 ; Fehrman & Fehrman, 2000 ; Reed, 2010 ; Pile, 1997).

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G ENESIS M O KKEN & D R M ARGARET P ORTILLO University of Florida | Journal of Undergraduate Research | Volume 15 Issue 1 | Fall 2013 2 The spatial quality of advancing and receding colors can influence the visual perceptions of spaces (Miller, 1997) ; therefore, a designer can make a room feel wider or narrower than it is in reality through the explicit use of advancing and receding colors. The application of co lor on horizontal and vertical planes for example, can affect the legibility of the space and result in a more or less successful design solution Color as Communication Color has the potential to serve as a symbol rich with meaning. Miller (1997) therefore, your perception of what color says, what it stands for, how you feel about it is instantaneous ( p. 6 ) Understanding color as a form of communication allows a designer to create identity, meaning, and a sense of place (Smith, 2008) The power of color communication is underscored in (2003) from Environmental Colouration and/or the Design Process Here she explored color in the design process of architects and interior designers. Based on findings from the study, she concluded that t he built environment could be understood as an object, product, communicator, and/or social domain. Therefore, although the results were exploratory it reveals a less than optimal implementation of color as a key element in the built environment. In Color as a C ognitive A rtifact Puhalla (2005) argues that color is like a language and the ability to organize hue, value, and chroma presents the opportunity to create a uage and p. 59). In contrast, Kwon (2010) uses the theory of symbolic interactionism as a framework to argue that color meaning is not intrinsic (p. 27). Regardless, it is clear that culture folklore e mphasizes color as a communicator of identity and reveals associations when color planning since local economic, historical, and social factors influence meaning. Color as Preference In contradiction to conventi onal wisdom color preference is not unchanging. ( 1941 ) claimed that blue was the most preferred color, but research since that landmark study ha s shown how these preferences can change with factors such as age ( Beke et al., 2008; Ou et al., 2012; Read & Uping ton, 2009 ), culture, ( Ou & Luo, 2012 ; Park & Guerin, 2002) and application (Taft, 1997 ; ) Another well regarded color theory text states, be influenced by other variables other than those of the color itself (Fehrman & Fehrman, 2000 p. 80) This includes factors such as lighting, surrounding colors and background, application, and market trends. Further reinforc ing this concept this textbook asserts that preference in real setti ngs is partially determined by the Color as Response Since we know that color carries meaning and identity, it can be used as an effective tool for engagement. Color can influence ph ysiological, psychological, and behavior al respons es (Portillo, 2009). As Mahnke (1996) states, unconscious, and an experience that is integral to human behavior Understanding of this color func tion can be particularly useful in contexts such as corporate and educational settings as well as in retail environments ( including restaurants and grocery stores ) for triggering arousal, emotion, and time perception (Portillo, 2009). (1983) study suggests shoppers are more drawn toward the warm colors over the cool colors in a retail setting and it would be appropriate to use the former around the storefront to attract shoppers and also around impulse buy items. Reed (2010) also notes direct relationship to the physical temperature we perceive and experience in a room (p. 36). Some believe that this relationship between color and the human body is so strong that color is used as a form of alternative medicine called chro motherapy. Color as Pragmatics Environmental color can assist in meeting pragmatic needs for a client These needs could involve anything from contributing to safety ( i.e., like making changes in flooring levels more obvious ) to reducing the cost of upkeep ( i.e., like installing darker value carpet in commercial spaces to maximize longevity ) and even to support energy efficiency ( i.e., lighter walls will absorb less heat than darker walls). Another example is the way paint color can also replace the use of otherwise expensive materials (i.e., cherry veneer walls) to creat e lower cost yet impactful spaces Design student s often do not consider budget constraints in their studio projects, but it is a very real consideration in the real world in which understan ding color from a pragmatic perspective can be an asset. METHOD Participants Participants (N=68) consisted of female undergraduate interior design students at the University of Florida. Due to the low number of males enrolled in this program, male students were excluded from the sample The sample consisted of lower division (n=34) and upper division (n=34) students who ranged in age from 18 and 25 years.

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COLOR PEDAGOGY : DISCIPLINE SPECIFIC PERCEPTIONS AND KNOWLEDGE University of Florida | Journal of Undergradua te Research | Volume 15, Issue 1 | Fall 2013 3 Procedure A content analysis o f literature consisting of journal articles and textbooks used for teaching color courses at the college level was examined using criteria from the Color Planning Framework (Portillo & Dohr 199 3 ; Portillo, 2009). From this data and a precedent study completed at Lund University (Janassens & Mikellides, 1997 ) a color questionnaire and color knowledge test was developed for this study. The questionnaire is composed of six parts: (1) Color Education, (2) Color in Studio Design W ork, (3) Color Across Market Sectors, (4) Market Sector Scenarios, (5) Color Knowledge Assessment, and (6) Demographic Questions. The first section s ought to evaluate preferr ed methods for learn ing about environmental color as well as their satisfaction levels with the color instruction being offered. In the second section, questions were developed that assessed the importance of color in studio projects. These questions help evaluate the perceived value of color and th e stu confidence level in having requisite knowledge to achieve successful color solutions. Like the precedent study, students were also asked to describe which design and/or allied professionals they believed were most responsible for color planning in t he built environment and interior spaces Additionally students rated their perceived knowledge of different color functions identified in the Color Planning Framework. Sections three and four of the survey delve d into the more specific application of col or planning solutions across different market sectors In response to these questions, participants rate d the level of importance color plays in corporate, healthcare, residential settings etc. These market types were selected through a content analysis of major project types identified on the websites of leading design and architecture firms. The top ten markets were found to be assisted living for older adults aviation & transit, corpora te office, cultural (i.e., museums) educational, healthcare, hospitality, residential, retail, and sports & recreation facility types In an open ended response question, participants were then asked to elaborate on the top three choices they made and expl ain why they felt color was important in those market sectors. In section five, students were given a basic color knowledge assessment test with fifteen questions posed in a true or false format (See Table 1) The questions were random number generator. Importantly, the participants also had the option to respond to the item with (in addition to true or false ) to discourage guessing. Before data was gathered, the questionnaire was pilot tested by MID and Ph.D. students in the UF interior design program. Once revisions from the pilot study were made, the proposed study design and survey was submitted for IRB approval. After IRB approval was obtained, permission to administer the questionnaire in in terior design classes was granted from the University of Florida professors teaching critical tracking courses at different levels within the program. The survey was administered at the beginning of pre determined class times using the online survey tool Qualtrics.com. Once each student turned in a consent form, they were given a link and password to take the online survey. First and second year students were while third year and fourth year student division All statistical analyses were co nducted using SPSS v. 20. When analyzing the results, an alpha level of .05 was used for all statistical tests. Table 1 Color Knowledge Assessment Questions 1. The ability to perceive color is not dependent on light. 2. Metamerism is defined as the capacity of colors to change under different lighting conditions. 3. Saturation describes the estimated lightness or darkness of a surface color. 4. There is a universal color order system. 5. Color cannot affect the perceived sizes, shapes, and location of objects and the sizes and shapes of enclosures. 6. Colors that share a common hue will relate and harmonize better than color schemes that do not. 7. Two complementary colors will make each other appear more saturated and vivid. 8. Advancing colors are primarily lower in value, more highly saturated, and warmer in hue. 9. The perceived weight of an object can be affecte d by the brightness and saturation of the hue. 10. 11. With age, the lens of the eye starts to yellow and the pupil gets smaller in diameter which effects the colors and amount of light perceived in the environment. 12. The most legible color combination for signage is black on yellow. 13. Cultural background can influence color communication. 14. All languages have at least three color terms. 15. Darker colors can be used on the walls to assist in energy savings.

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G ENESIS M O KKEN & D R M ARGARET P ORTILLO University of Florida | Journal of Undergraduate Research | Volume 15 Issue 1 | Fall 2013 4 RESULTS Perceived V alue of E nvironmental C olor by I nterior D esign S tudents It was hypothesized that both beginning and advanced interior design students would recognize the value of color in the built environment, regardless of the level of color knowledge. As expected, both upper (n=34) and lower (n=34) division students reporte d that color in design education was very important, an average of 6.26 out of a 7 point scale (See Figure 1 ). Similarly, the architecture students surveyed in the precedent study also reported a archite This study sought to further explore students perceptions of the role color play ed in different market sectors of interior design. It was predicted that the upper division students would identify the influenc e of color across a greater number of market sectors due to their experience with working on a larger variety of studio projects than their lower division counterparts. Using one tailed significance with alpha set at p<.05, the more advanced students were found to report color being more impactful in assisted living, healthcare and hospitali ty sectors than did the lower division students (See Figure 2 ) No other statistically significant differences were found between groups in aviation & transit, corporate office, cultur al, educational, residential, retail or in sports & recreation facilities. Figure 1 Perceived value of color in design Figure 2 Perceived value of color in different market sectors 0 2 4 6 8 Confidence with color solutions Importance of color instruction Influence of color in design Satisfaction with level of color instruction Lower Division Upper Division 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Sports & Recreation Retail Residential Hospitality Healthcare Educational Cultural Corporate Office Aviation & Transit Assisted Living Lower Division (n=34) Upper Division (n=34)

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COLOR PEDAGOGY : DISCIPLINE SPECIFIC PERCEPTIONS AND KNOWLEDGE University of Florida | Journal of Undergradua te Research | Volume 15, Issue 1 | Fall 2013 5 Level of P erceived K nowledge of E nvironmental C olor by I nterior D esign S tudents Beginning and advanced interior design students were asked to rate their perceived knowledge of five different color functions in the field. It was predicted that upper division students would have a higher perceived knowledge in each of the five color functions presented and also that they wou ld report a greater number of different color functions than would the beginning students (high=3 5 color functions, low=0 2 color functions). A statistically significant difference between upper division (n=34) and lower divisi on students (n=34) was evid ent in a one tailed t test with a significance level set at p<.05 ( S ee Table 2 ). T he co mpositional function involved was not as recognized by l ower division students (M=3.68, SD=.806), t(6 3.11 )=2.155, p=. 0 175 while upper division students reported a higher perceived knowledge (M=4.06, SD=.649), t( 66 )=2.155, p=. 0 175 The second color function that revealed a significant influence visual perceptions and behavior. Upper division students again showed a higher perceived knowledge of th is color function (M=3.91, SD=.933), t( 66 )=2.551, p=. 0 065 than did the lower division students (M=3.29, SD=1.060), t( 6 4.96 )=2.551, p=. 0 065 The other color functions did not seem to differ between groups ( ability to communicate meaning; meet material, lighting and resource needs; or reflect cu rrent market trends ) as shown in Table 2 Overall the data suggests that more advanced interior design students perceive color more in compositional and human response terms than do their lower division counterparts. The role of color in communication, preference, and pragmatics seems to be well recognized across the design students. Table 2. Perceived Knowledge of Different Color Functions Variable Mean (SD) p value Color as a tool to c reate focal points, define forms and space Lower Division 3.68 (.806) .0175* Upper Division 4.06 (.649) .0175* Communicate Meaning Lower Division 3.44 (.824) .134 Upper Division 3.68 (.912) .134 Color as a tool to i nfluence visual perceptions and behavior Lower Division 3.29 (1.060) .0065* Upper Division 3.91 (.933) .0065* Color as a tool to m eet material, lighting and resource needs Lower Division 3.29 (1.001) .092 Upper Division 3.62 (.985) .092 Color as a tool to r eflect current market trends Lower Division 3.12 (1.122) .1895 Upper Division 3.35 (1.070) .1895 From the data collected on each color function, students were grouped into those perceived to be using a high number of different color functions (n=39) and those perceived to be using a low number of functions (n=29). As predicted, when compared to educat ion level, a significant difference was revealed between upper and X 2 (1, N =68)=7.275, p=.007 (See Table 3 ). In general student confidence levels in their use of color showed a significant differenc e between student groups between lower division (M=4.65, SD=1.070), t(64.180)=2.274, p=. 0 13 and upper division (M=5.29, SD=1.268), t(66)=2.274, p=. 0 13 The advanced students reported feeling more confident in their color solutions than did the beginning students. Table 3 Perceived N umber of C olor F unctions being U sed by S tudents Variable Lower Division (n=34) Upper Division (n=34) X 2 # of Color Functions being used: High 41.2% 73.5% 7.275* Low 58.8% 26.5% Color C ontent K nowledge L evel of U pper and L ower D ivision S tudents C ompared to A ctual K nowledge L evel When using a one tailed t test, the average number of correct responses on the color knowledge test was significantly different between lower (M=7.5882, SD=1.84420) and upper divi sion students (M=8.3529, SD=1 .87297), p=.0475 (See Figure 3 ). The results showed that the advanced students scored better on the color test. Specifically, the juniors and seniors more frequently gave a correct response on items concerning the appearance of complimentary colors X 2 (2, N=68) =11.455, p=.00 2 and on color vision and age related vision changes X 2 (1, N=68) =10.350, p=.001. As a whole, upper division students showed more mastery of color knowledge than did their entry level counterparts. Still, t hese differences were not as large as expected a finding that may lend itself to several explanations. For one, a dedicated color theory course is not taught on a regular basis in the program. Moreover the content knowledge test developed for this study measures fundamental knowledge rather than the applied knowledge needed for studio. Other explanations include a p ossible cohort effect and the relatively low sample size of the study. The precedent study showed that students saw the role of color in the built environment and in architectural education as important; however no statistical difference was found betwee n beginning and final year architecture

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G ENESIS M O KKEN & D R M ARGARET P ORTILLO University of Florida | Journal of Undergraduate Research | Volume 15 Issue 1 | Fall 2013 6 students, but their measure of actual color knowledge (like that of this study) has its limitations. Multiple measures of basic and applied color knowledge should be explored further in on going research. Figure 3 Color knowledge assessment results DISCUSSION C onfidence in color solutions appeared to increase as students progressed through their education al trajectory as did color knowledge Yet the significantly lower satisfaction level relating to color instruction reveals a need for improvement in th e coverage of this subject matter Color can be taught in a number of different ways a cross interior design programs. Some of these methods include teaching color as a dedicated course, integrated within othe r core classes, tied with lighting, or side by side with materials, but the field could benefit from evaluating if one method is more effective in educating students that have a stronger understanding of environmental color. Poldma (2009) claims teaching c olor and lighting together should be embraced as a more effective contextual approach. Nevertheless fu r ther research is needed to evaluate different forms of color instruction in top interior design programs As previously discussed a limitation of this study is the method for assessing actual color knowledge. Although it accounts for fundamental color knowledge that interior design students should understand about environmental knowledge in applying env ironmental color. Further should be evaluated in the future, perhaps through portfolios by seasoned practitioners in the field as well as over time to avoid possible cohor t effect s. REFERENCE S Bellizzi, J. A., & Crowley, A. E. (1983). The e ffects of c olor in s tore d esign. Journal of Retailing 59 (1), 21 45. Beke, L., Kutas, G., Kwak, Y., Sung, G. Y., Park, D., & Bodrogi, P. (2008). Color preference of aged observers compared to young observers. Color Research & Application, 33 (5), 381 394. Council for Interior Design Accreditation (2011). Professional s tandards 2011 Retrieved from http://accredit id.org/ Eysenck, H. J. (1941). A critical and experimental study of color performances. American Journal of Psychology, 54 385 394. Fehrman, K., & Fehrman, C. (2000). Color: The secret influence. Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Prentice Hall. Hutchings, J. (2004). Col our in Folklore and tradition The p rinciples. Color Research and Application 29 (1), 57 66. Janssens, J., & Mikellides, B. (1998). Color research in architectural e ducation A Cross Cultural Explorative Study. Color Research and Application 23 (5), 328 334. Kwon, J. (2010). Cultural meaning of color in healthcare e nvi ronments: A s ymbolic i nteraction a pproach. Dissertation, University of Minnesota. Mahnke, F. H. (1996). Color, environment, and human r esponse: An i nterdiciplinary u nderstanding of c olor and its u se as a b eneficial e lement in the d esign of the a rchitectural e nvironment. John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Miller, M. C. (1997). Color for interior a rchitecture. New York: John Wiley & Sons. Ou, L., & Luo, M. R. (2012), A cross cultural comparison of colour emotion for two colour combinations. Color Research and Application, 37 23 43. Ou, L. C., Luo, M. R., Sun, P. L., Hu, N. C., & Chen, H. S. (2012). Age effects on colour emotion, preference, and harmony. Color Research & Application, 37 (2), 92 105. Color Research & Application, 35 (4), 267 273. Park, Y., & Gue rin, D. A. (2002). Meaning and preference of interior color palettes amoung four c ultures. Journal of Interior Design, 28 (1), 27 39. Poldma, T. (2009). Learning the dynamic process of color and light in interior design. Journal of Interior Design, 34 (2), 19 33. Portillo, M. (2009). Co lor planning for interiors: An i ntegrated a pproach to d esigned s paces. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & S ons. Portillo, M., & Dohr, J. H. (1993). A s tudy of c olor p lanning c riteria u sed by n oted d esigners. Journal of Interior Design, 18 (1 2), 17 24. Puhalla, D. M. (2005). Color as cognitive a rtifact: A means of communication -language and message. Dissertation, North Carolina State University, Raleigh. interior environment. Early Childhood Education Journal, 36 491 496. Smith, D. (2 008). Color person environment r elation ships. Color Research and Application 33 (4), 312 319. S mith, D. (2003). Environmental c o louration and/or the design p rocess. Color Research and Application 28 (5), 360 365. Taft, C. (1997). Color meaning and context: Comparisons of semantic ratings of colors on samples and objects. Color Research & Application, 22 (1), 40 50. 0% 50% 100% Lower Division Upper Division 0-3 Correct 4-7 Correct 8-11 Correct 12-15 Correct