In the plastics industry, we spend a great deal of time pondering and optimizing the use of color compounds in our processing. It’s a very specific science, and an art too, as most of us will agree. While we all know the importance of color matching to our supply chain customers, and of course the end user, I think it’s important to spend a little time reflecting on the importance and ramifications of color in historical perspective.

Color Through the Ages

Color has enchanted mystics and peoples for a very long time. Faber Birren writes, “Man at the dawn of civilization recognized that sunlight was essential to life. Color, being a manifestation of light, held divine meaning.”

It is fascinating to think about all the uses of color by mystics, religions and cultures. Many cultures have worshipped the sun god, worshipped the effects of the sun or color and used color as symbolism.

Color was a powerful tool for mystics to convey strength, meaning and influence. In Zoroastrian scriptures one reads: “We sacrifice unto the undying, shining, swift-horsed Sun.”

The Bible is full of references to color. Each of the twelve tribes of Israel has its own color stone on the breast plate of Aaron in the tabernacle. Gold and silver were used in abundance in the temples of the Old Testament. Christ was clothed with purple and mocked by the Roman Soldiers. Purple signified a meaning of royalty.

The Egyptians worshipped Ra, the sun god. He was driven to the sky because of man’s evil, and his eye became the sun. It seems like Ra’s glance would burn right through you. Color was used extensively by the Egyptians in all facets of their religious pursuits from sacrifice to burial.

Ulysses wore purple in The Odyssey to signify sea wandering. Buddha was colored gold or yellow.

The Power of Color Today

Today, color is used extensively inĀ  Automotive Plastic Parts religions to symbolize everything from sacrifice to purity, from death to new life. Typically black is used in mourning and white is used to show purity and new life.

Assigning color special meaning made total sense to the early mystics. As we’ve discussed, color shows up in religion and spiritual pursuits throughout history. The people saw color all around them. They were working to understand what their eyes and feelings were telling them.