A brief Q&A with Jude Stewart, author of ROY G. BIV: An Exceedingly Surprising Book About Color.
1. What inspired you to create ROY G. BIV?
Jude Stewart: Color is a daily mystery we all swim in--yet it’s so ubiquitous, it becomes invisible. I wrote ROY G. BIV to reawaken our eyes to color, so we can see how startling and amazing this everyday phenomenon is.
2. How did you come up with the layout and look for the book?
JS: It’s impossible to write a complete book about an enormous subject like color. That’s why ROY G. BIV offers a satisfying read cover-to-cover, but also invites readers to leapfrog across colors, so you can pursue some thematic affinity connecting, say, blue and yellow. Color is dynamic; it’s witty; it’s serious but also endlessly fun. Hopefully this format makes readers feel as if they can play the book’s game of fascinating associations forever.
3. What color fact in ROY G. BIV surprised you the most?
JS: I’m a fan of the astronomers arguing about the average color of the universe; the surprising explanation for why brown isn’t in the rainbow; the many legends accounting for why barns are red; the material histories of color before synthetic dyes were invented, in which brilliant, rich, expensive pigments were produced from extremely stinky ingredients… oh, I’ll stop now.
4. Where does your love of color come from? Why do you love it?
JS: A big part of why I wrote ROY G. BIV was to figure out why I love color so much – and honestly, I haven’t touched bottom on that question yet. But if pressed to answer: I suppose I love how color brings out strong opinions, how it engages both our feelings and reason so intensely. Reacting to color can make us feel fully human.
5. As an expert in design, what are the any common color mistakes we all make?
JS: It’s a big mistake to play it too safe with your color palette--but then again, I recognize why people opt for safety. They’re afraid that going bolder will just look ugly--and it’s true, not every color experiment pans out.
Here’s an easy way to experiment with strong color: choose only one bold shade that really speaks to you and build your look around that. Say you like a deep saturated orange, for example. Stick with brown shoes and a belt and wear a scarf that includes that same shade of orange along with quieter colors. (If you’re decorating a living room, try a bold orange accent wall, bold orange details in throw pillows--but stick with a neutral-colored couch.) As you play with strong color more, you’ll get more confident about how to marry two exuberant shades.
Jude Stewart and A Look Inside Roy G. Biv