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Mondrian look-alikeThe purest and most thoughtful minds are those which love colour the most.
John Ruskin

One of the delights of engaging in some mind-mapping is the opportunity to take out the felt-tipped pens and play and experiment with the different colours! But apart from the significant aesthetic pleasure which is to be derived from such activity, there are also wholly practical reasons why it is good to make more use of colour. Thus, it can help to make things much simpler and more comprehensible and memorable.

One only has to think of the consistent and brilliant use of colour in the London Underground system and the London Underground Map. Thus, if one wishes to travel on the Circle line, one merely has to think 'yellow', and the whole of the rest of the system, a dozen or more lines, can be totally filtered out of one's consciousness. It is all so very simple and elegant, and so for this reason I have adopted similar graphical conventions in the design of the present BrainWareMap (see Design Concepts).

Further Examples of the Use of Colour

The use of colour and colour coding is widespread and universal. The following are some examples:

  • Red Alert!
    Traffic and control systems consistently use the colour red as a danger signal.
  • Filing Systems
    Colour coding can be used to delineate different areas of work. For example, I adopted the following four-colour system for my PhD project: red - the topic, yellow - my project, blue - source materials and green - admin. I used this consistently and to great advantage across my filing system, mind maps, etc. I have adopted a similar four-colour system for Holistic Learning.
  • Six Coloured Thinking Hats
    Edward de Bono has proposed that in order to conduct productive meetings we should agree to discuss matters in a congruent fashion, and for this we all need to wear the same coloured 'thinking hat' at the same time. Thus, for 'white hat' thinking we deal only with information and facts, for 'yellow hat' thinking with advantages and positives, 'black hat' thinking with disadvantages and negatives, and so on.
  • Public Speaking Notes
    Some people like to code their public speaking notes in colour, for ease of use and memorisation. In a similar vein, I have heard of law court notes where, for example, police evidence is underlined consistently in blue.

Further Information

For further information about colour see:

Color Matters - The Effects of Color on Learning
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Page last modified: 22 September 2009
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