"Color Notebook": A Brand-New Experience of City Color Planning
People always talk about Blue Monday, which gives Monday its color. Have you ever wondered what color the city you live in is? People often compare Taiwan's streetscape with that of other countries, or say that Taiwan's streetscape just looks relatively dirty, is that true? The author of this book, Yukie Kato, is a color planner, and this book brings together her years of experience in working with 100 practical experiences to help us understand the characteristics of color and learn to use color to enhance the aesthetics of our lives.

PhotoFlâneur Culture Lab

TextFlâneur Culture Lab

Author Bio
Yukie Kato (加藤幸枝)

Color planner born in 1968.
Director of Color Planning Corporation CLIMAT

She graduated from Musashino Art University, Science of Design Department of College of Art and Design under the tutelage of Shingo Yoshida, a leading Japanese environmental color planner. She specializes in environmental color design that integrates interior and exterior architectural, landscape, civil, and lighting design to create spaces and environments with overall color harmony.

Beyond Japan, she has also traveled to Wuxi and Wuhan, China, and Florence, Italy, to conduct research or execute urban color planning, and is a person who carries color tickets everywhere to measure color.

Ponder the Exclusive Color of the City

First of all, try to respect the present moment

(Fujiyoshida City, Yamanashi Prefecture,2016)

The picture above shows the street of Fujiyoshida City in Yamanashi Prefecture, where a large number of post-war residential and commercial buildings were located. It is assumed that the exterior of the building was decorated with lime plaster, so it was common to paint, cover with partitions, or put tiles on the building during the renovation.

There are two ways to choose colors for the renovation, one is to use the color scheme of the initial construction, and the other is to shift to brighter basic colors as it evolves, so that the characteristic architecture becomes a local feature.

My connection with the city of Fujiyoshida comes from the fact that I have worked as a consultant for the renovation of residences and stores in the past. Therefore, I paid special attention to the streetscape of "the present moment " and tried to avoid choosing extreme dark colors and overly eye-catching colors as the main color scheme, in order to provide advice and guidance to the owners.

Order and Diversity

(Firenze, ITALY, 2010)

The picture above is a fragment of facade paint collected in Florence, Italy, and the following information can be analyzed in this group of colors:


  • The hue is relatively wide-ranging, with a predominantly warm color palette.
  • The brightness is mainly medium brightness color (value 6 or so), and high brightness color is used as the emphasis in a small area.
  • The saturation level is mainly low, and the warm colors are medium saturated colors (around 6) which give a slight tint of colors.

Own Local Order and Code for Every Region

When Japan enacted the Landscape Law in 2004, the reaction of urban planners and architects was different. In particular, each municipality set specific numerical standards for color, and therefore received many comments suggesting that "regulations are an obstacle to free creation and creativity".

I often hear things like "streets are meant to be diverse" and "even if we work on color, we can't make the city look better". I can't help but think that so many people are interested in color and are opposed to the idea that color is regulated by law.

For me, I think it is natural to have diversity, and it would be boring to have a uniform color of the cityscape. However, according to the results of surveys conducted in Japan and abroad over the years, we can find that the "color of the city" accumulated in those environments exists in a certain order.

It is the rules and codes that allow for creativity and diversity. In soccer, for example, there are rules about the size of the field, 11 players per team, no use of hand, etc. Because there are rules, players can do their best. But such rules must be clearly defined, otherwise it will become chaos of "occasionally this and sometimes that".

As time goes on and evolves, these rules may be modified to allow more people to create to their heart's content.

This extract is cited from Color Notebook: A Brand-New Experience of City Color Planning, published by Editions du Flaneur in October 2021.

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