C h r i s t i a n   J.   F a u r


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Color and the alphabet
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Color Alphabet

As my use of colors in painting and art has increased over the last five years and I have become aware of how difficult it is to find a universal meaning of color that can transcends the cultural boundaries in a similar way that the symbols used in written language and mathematics have become universal. In a failed quest to find universal color meaning, I hit upon an idea of just mapping colors to a pre existing system that can hold meaning, the alphabet.   This type of mapping has been done in many ways in the past, with musical composers mapping colors to sound and harmony, computer artists mapping whole banks of words to millions of hues so that visual grouping can take place quickly.  All these ideas, while forming an interesting system, did not meet my needs as a painter, as they could not be rendered in a direct way on canvas.  

Taking a cue from Phoenicians, what I have done is to map a subset 26 distinct colors to a standardized set of signs (English alphabet or graphemes) that will allow me to construct meaning out of color directly and unambiguously using the English system of language that I am already familiar with.   These 26 colors are to be housed in a set of handmade glyphs that allow a reader to more clearly navigate through the color data (although the use of these glyphs are irrelevant as long as the colors are distinct, standardized and the reader is given a direction for reading).  The addition of unique set of “punctuation symbols” developed in the font, allow the more accurate mapping of meaning from a standard “glyph” based set of symbols into the color.

The rules associated with reading English text do not necessarily apply when reading color text because of the symmetry of the glyphs.  This difference has lead to different way of representing texts.  For example, it is assumed that the reading be done from left to right but as the color swatches have no orientation, readers need only be given the direction in which to begin reading.  This website is divided into several sections that represent the process used in developing this system of writing with color as well as links to online resources such as color converting algorithms, a set of fonts for displaying color text, and several downloadable examples of how the color font was used in my newer works.

1. Overview of how we process text when reading.
2. How the 26 colors were chosen for mapping to the alphabet.
3. The encoding process used to translate existing textual data into color.
4. The development of the glyphs and symbols used to represent the color alphabet.
5. Artistic examples using color text.
6. Potential problems associated with the use of color as a form of writing.
7. Questions and ideas that arise from mapping color and the alphabet.
8. Bibliographic information on color, language and semiotics.

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Example of RGB values of color Alphabet