Environmental color is all-encompassing. Both the natural world and man-made environments immerse us in colors, whether they are the cold whites of Antarctica, the lush greens of tropical forests, the accidental color compositions of urban streets, or the controlled-color environments of architecture, landscape design, interior design, or theater design.
Surrounding colors have a powerful impact on the human body and mind, but most of the time they are experienced with an astonishing lack of awareness. Environmental color is noticed only when it is a focus of attention, like a dazzling sunset or a freshly painted room. Someone who expresses a dislike for the color green may nevertheless take enormous pleasure in a garden, describing it as a blue or yellow garden, when in fact the surroundings are overwhelmingly green, with blue or yellow present as only a small part of the whole.
The colors of objects are perceived very directly. The separateness of an object allows the viewer to focus both eye and mind on a single entity and a single color idea. We are the most consciously aware of color when it is an attribute of a defi ned object: a blue dress, a red car, a yellow diamond.