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Volume: 28 | Article ID: art00043
Color Systems are Categories that Carry Meaning in Visualizations: A Conceptual Metaphor Theory Approach
  DOI :  10.2352/ISSN.2470-1173.2016.16.HVEI-141  Published OnlineFebruary 2016

Color is an ecologically organized, dynamic system. Each object inside the category (or domain) of color carries attributes, including image schemas. Image schemas are dynamic patterns, often connected to objects that emerge from embodied experiences; these are essential to the process of abstract conceptualization and reasoning. How image schemas manifest themselves is described in the section on the interaction of color, which focuses on the Bauhaus painter, Josef Albers. The concept of color as a category is important; we categorize in order to construct thoughts. Even infants categorize; one cannot engage in intelligent thought and action without this capacity. Categories consist of entities that share similarities in varying degrees. The psychologist, Eleanor Rosch, approached and qualified color as a natural category. Berlin and Kay, started the Universalist, evolutionary view of color categorization in 1969, and anthropologists have added to this tradition ever since. g This paper shows examples of color mappings that can be described accurately and clearly using the language and thinking of conceptual metaphor theory. To this end I chose a particular path through the domain of color: Goethe, Runge, Wittgenstein and Westphal explored color separately from the optics of Newton. These authors opened the door to the semiotics of color, and it is this concept that I explore in relation to how color systems can be used more effectively in today’s scientific visualizations.

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Jack Ox, "Color Systems are Categories that Carry Meaning in Visualizations: A Conceptual Metaphor Theory Approachin Proc. IS&T Int’l. Symp. on Electronic Imaging: Human Vision and Electronic Imaging,  2016,

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