Semantic colour space

The semantic space must be read with BLUE situated in the back, top, left position.

The Semantic Colour Space (Alpaerts & Michiels, 2019) was published in the AIC proceedings 2019. Download the full paper here.

In the DSD the data structure of genetic semantics is used to classify and orient key-concepts of meaning. This logical structure can be visualised as a cube with 8 primary colours on each corner.

The 8 primary colours are a visual representation of an abstract digital coding system. BLUE has the code 000. The first 0 in the codon code locates BLUE in the BACK, the second 0 on the TOP, the third 0 on the LEFT. YELLOW, as the total opposite of blue, has the code 111. The location of YELLOW is FRONT (depth 1), BOTTOM (height 1), and RIGHT (breadth 1). The colour blue can be described psychologically as inner (BACK 0), hard (TOP 0) and passive (LEFT 0). Yellow is an outer (FRONT 1), soft (BOTTOM 1) and active (RIGHT 1) colour.


In the semantic space BLACK (001) is opposite to WHITE (110), BLUE (000) to YELLOW (111), GREEN (010) to RED (101) and PURPLE (011) to BROWN (100).

The semantic colour space allows a hierarchy of meaning, starting from the abstract zeros and ones, via the dimensional semantic markers, into an endlessly refining structure of conceptual levels of 8, 64, 4096, …

On the dimensional level each axis represents a distinguishing aspect of meaning, given by the elementary properties of the space, which stand as opposing pairs on the dimensions. In the depth the meaning is given by the contrast back (0) / front (1). In the height it is above (0) / below (1), in the width: left (0) / right (1).

The depth dimension is about differences or similarities. Which is equivalent to us, we tend to seek contact with, thus coming closer and facing us in the front. What is strange makes us back away, turn our back. It is about direction of focus. At the back of the space, with blue, black, green, and purple, the direction is towards an inner, mental world, whereas at the front, with brown, red, white, and yellow, it points towards the outside, the physical. This dimension is about direction of focus en communication.
The height is the dimension of the force of gravity. At the top is the power that dominates. At the bottom is the compliant. It is the hard on top opposite to the gentle below, the strong towering above the weak. This is the practical dimension, the how questions, the technical approach, the know-how.
The width is the dimension which is determined by the hands, to the left and to the right of the body. This is about activity. An estimated 85 to 90% of humanity has an active right hand. We usually express the past with the left hand, and that which lies in the future with the right hand. The past is associated with passivity, and the present or the future with activity. It is the history dimension, the why questions.