The world is becoming less colorful. I’d been vaguely aware of this as a trend in Europe and the US, but I’m surprised how global it is.
Remember the common grumble about the DDR being how drab it was? I wouldn’t be surpised if unified Germany is now back to the East German color palette.
Some past color changes have been triggered by technology. Synthetic dyes made color less of a luxury, starting with the Prussian Blue that let allowed Frederick the Great to kit out an entire army in blue uniforms
As an aside: one bonkers-but-brilliant theory is that Caravaggio’s chiaroscuro painting style, with a massive contrast between bright and dark areas, was a way to save money on dyes. He could use the good stuff only for the highlighted areas, and had artistic justification to use cheaper, duller colors for the rest.
just a little lapis lazuli
Neon signage exploded in usage in the 1920s and -30s, immediately after being invented – but once it was no longer new it became declasse.
And yet…we are living through at least a minor transformation in the economics of lighting. I’m talking about LEDs. Not only has the price cratered, but they bring different color options compared to incandescent bulbs. But I suppose the difference isn’t enough for us to become more colorful.