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London Collage of Communication

Major Project MAGD / Group V Yun - Wen, Lee

CONTENT I Introduction Introduction


Research Question


Aims & Objective


II Research Area Overview Animation • In America • In Japan Colour • Sensation, Perception and Association • Colour Image Scale -Japan


The relevance between colour naming and colour perception Colour perception in different cultures

Research Motheds Research Target

10 11 12 13 15 16 18 20 22 24 28 29

III Final Stage Character’s Background Studio Ghibli Disney

35 35 38







Image Reference


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Introduction This report supports my major project output, which compared people’s perception of colours and colours’ meaning in dissimilar culture backgrounds. Animation characters were used as medium to observe the difference of colour manipulation in different cultures. Development of the research is presented in the form of a colour block series, which simplifies the animation character’s shape, then represents the colours appearance and proportion of the character on its own, narrate the characters identity through the presentation of their colours. The research field of this project was colour, approached from the psychological, physiological, cultural and the artistic point of view. The focus was on the causes of culture difference affecting people’s psychological and physiological reaction to colour perception.



How is colour used on female animation characters to signify values and meaning, and what is the difference in dissimilar culture backgrounds? Characters from Disney and Studio Ghibli will be analysed in a visual case study in order to examine the possible difference in colour usage and colour proportion of the characters.


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Research Question

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“In some condition, colour can influence people’s emotion faster and stronger compared with the effect shape would bring about.” Shigenobu Kobayashi



Aims & Objectives meaning of their works. Recent research in colourpsychology shows that human beings react to visual perception of colour stronger than the shape. Hsieh’s study (2010), experimental used a toilet sign as an example. The most common toilet sign we see is an outline of two little people, one dressed in trousers with blue colour and the other dressed in skirt with pink or red colour. When the colour was exchanged appearance on the male and female toilet signs, people took more time to react with that


information and some people even went to wrong toilet because they only noticed the colour of the sign. This result is because preconceived ideas keep a strong hold of people’s colour association with gender identity. This is just one of the cases in our daily life. In some condition, colour indeed can influence people’s emotion and reaction faster and stronger compared with the effect shape would bring about. (Lu, 1984)

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Colour is the visual effect of a light on our eye and brain. The colour perception is a complex process. It is not only determined by the physical properties of light, but also contains many factors of psychological influence, such as personal experience and memory. (Oxford Dictionary definition) Thus in the fields of fashion design, product design, graphic design, and advertising design, one of the very important but challenging work for all the designers and visual workers is how to select colours to express and reflect the

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In the fields of communication design, conveying images accurately in an understandable way is the key point to make good design. Therefore the colour set up is usually strongly associated with the image’s identity. In other words, colours not only generate our direct feelings to the image but also give us cues to understand what character in the image is represented. John Gage (1999) traced the development of colour history and found out that during the late nineteenth

and early twentieth century, scholars have been putting greater weight on the study of colour language. Colour language has become a branch of linguistics, and it especially concerns about the connection of language and perception to numbers of experimental psychology examination records. According to Gage’s study, we know the vocabularies used to describe colours give the abstract colour image figurative meaning. The adjectives for colour can be regarded as a subjective judgment in


personal visual experience, but after his collection of related statistics, he found that an objective general impression of colour image is also generalized. At the same time, Gage (1999) pointed out “Our visual mechanisms seem to be able to reconstitute the whole range of colourperceptions on the basis of severely limited set of stimuli (red, green, blue and dark/light) just as colour-vocabularies seem to work with a very limited set of ‘basic’ or ‘primary’ terms.” However, the perception of different colours in


Fig 1

Fig 2

Fig 1,2 RGB Colorspace Atlas Tauba Auerbach, 2011


In my major project, I will discuss the animation character’s colour combination differences between female and male characters. And after that my observed will follow focus of the colour usage on female animation character in different cultural backgrounds, especially the difference between Western and Asian animations.

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different geographical regions usually relates to local histories, culture backgrounds, life styles, experiences, and customs. Thus it will generate dissimilar results of colour’s meaning within its general aspect.


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Research Area Over View


Research Area


Fig 3


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The reason I chose animation characters as the medium of the project was considered about the shape and colour set up of animation characters. Usually the description of animation characters are much more vivid and exaggerated compared to real people. Thus it offered greater clearly character images to discuss and analyse the relationship between colours meaning and character’s identity.


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/In American/ The development of animated films has rapidly risen in the United States since the early 20th century. Disney produced the first colour cartoon animated feature film in 1937 ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs’, and officially declared the era of the colour cartoon feature film. Many animation characters produced between the 20’s and 30’s are still very popular now, such as Popeye, Woody Wood pecker and Mickey Mouse. During the Second World War, animated cartoon not only became young artists’ favourite profession, but also the most popular entertainment form among the general public.

the audiences to take a certain attitude. Like Betty Boop, the animator created her as a beautifully shaped girl has short black curly hair and usually dressed in bright red mini skirt. He used red and black colour on Betty Boop to convey a sexy and modern young lady’s image. And because of Betty represents a sexy lady, so we sporadically see her dressed in yellow or green colours, which does not match her identity.

Fig 6

Fig 4

After the delicate design and modification of the original artist, the animation character Betty Boop even became the sexiest symbol for audiences in 1932 with the same popularity as Hollywood stars. (Hung, 1999) At this point, animation has become a profession. Animators depicted many wonderful roles and scenes with their incredible imagination, and the essence of animation art is the depicting capability of the characters. The personality setting of animation characters is often simple and clear with colourful styling. Colour is not only a packaging method for a character designer, but also used as a stimulus (Colour Perception Theory) to initiate the preference and emotional reaction from audiences projecting to the characters. Furthermore, colour design of the characters can produce a significant common emotional reaction (Colour Psychology and Association) suggesting 12

Fig 5

Fig 3 Fig 4 Fig 5 Fig 6

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) Woody woodpecker (1941) Popeye (1919) Betty Boop (1932)

Research Area

/In Japan/

personal studio, and the animation character is strongly influenced by the animator’s personality. While comparing American and Japanese animation film, we can see many differences in the plot, character style, character personality and the usage of colours. This research is aimed at discussing the difference of character personality and colour setting of Japanese animation and American animation.

Osamu Tezuka

Hayao Miyazaki

Mamoru Oshii

Astro Boy, 1963

Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, 1984

Ghost in the Shell, 1987


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American animation fell in to the Dark Age starting from the 60’s, because it is perform form was stereotyped ad ‘Sunday morning show’ or ‘Children program’. On the other hand, in Asia, Japanese animator Osamu Tezuka attracted the audiences’ attention with his work ‘Astro Boy’ in 1963. Japanese animator Hayato Miyazaki and Mamoru Oshii rose in 70’s and led the Japanese animation

boom until now. In recent years, the Japanese animation industry has become the centre of the entertainment industry because of the prosperous development of television animation, animated short films, animated movie and the peripheral produscts of animation. (CRI news, 2005) The working style of Japanese animation and the group work of American animation companies are very different, as Japanese animation is often produced in a

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Research Area


- John Gage, Colour and Meaning-


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‘Colour’, runs a useful standard definition,’ is the attribute of visual experience that can be described as having quantitatively specifiable dimensions of hue, saturation, and brightness.’ This introduces both the subjective element in visual experience, and the objective, quantifiable stimuli, which produce that experience, and helps to explain why colour has for so long been a subject of investigation and experiment in both the arts and the sciences.


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/Sensation, Perception and Association/ Association: is a basic psychology principle, which originally has a high correlation with memory recollection. In the process of recalling the past event or experience the brain will start to search the relational information simultaneously. Afterwards, this concept has expanded gradually and used to summarize all psychological activity except the primitive feeling. Colour is the visual effect of light on our eye and brain. Hence, the visual interpretation is a process highly associated with

vision, sensation and perception. What is the process of sensation and perception generated information after the visual stimulation? The seventeenth century empiricist John Locke (1690) asserted in his work “An Essay Concerning Human Understanding” that all knowledge comes only or primarily from sensory experience, there is no innate idea. Human beings are born with the mind as a tabula rasa: all experiences leave behind the trace in this tabula rasa and this will accumulate and then


become our knowledge. Supposing the knowledge generated by primary information is sensation, and then the sensory system gives humanity premier experience. According to that, our knowledge of things is a perception of ideas that are accordance by experience. George Berkeley (1709) in “A Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge” determined Locke’s view, but he pointed out that the way to acquire knowledge is by experiencing and learning. And the reason for people to feel the

Research Area

Obviously, colour perception is an abstractive and personal experience. In the functions human identifying

colours, memory and common perception have a considerably high connection to the colour image. As human develop and learn in everyday living, colour is more memorable than objectives under ordinary circumstances; Therefore, we tend to remember a common or often heard colour consciously and unconsciously. As a result, when presenting the image of colours, we have to consider audiences’ culture backgrounds and perception attitudes.


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world’s authenticity and significance is because of prior experience. Human’s knowledge, which perceives ideas, is to be comprehended intuitively by inward feeling or reflection. The prior experience effect is the association capability of our sensation. The chain reaction of our mental association in Berkeley’s theory later comes to be called associationism.


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/Colour image scale - Japan / Japanese colour psychologist Shigenobu Kobayashi has researched the function of colours on design and consumer preference, and also established NCD (Nippon Colour and Design Research Institute), which provides with research results online for general designer’s reference. NCD also sells some specific research achievements or liaise with corporations and companies to conduct researches in the area needed. Although Kobayashi’s research scope is only restricted in Japan, the findings are highly appreciated by designers from different nationalities as they contain rich reference value.

Fig 7

NCD’s research emphasizes the following aspects: 1. Collecting the common feeling and perception humans have towards colours, listing 180 image words of colours. The main adjectives are: Romantic, pretty, casual, dynamic, gorgeous, ethnic (wild), classic, chic, dandy, formal, modern, cool-casual, elegant, clear and natural. 2. Creating a coordinate diagram of four quadrants from two axes named as the objective characters of colour sematic factors, warm-cool and soft hard. And then position the 180 image words in the diagram according to their traits, which becomes a word Image Scale containing approximately 12-15 groups. 3. Use the concept of hue and tone, position every monochrome (130 in total) in the diagram and create a monochrome Image Scale. 4. Every adjective can be matched with the colour according to its position in the diagram and created harmonized colours, which becomes a harmonized colour Image Scale. 5. All the design, no matter its environmental, product or visual design, can be analysed based on the colour image scale and then create an ideal imagery harmonized colour.


Research Area

Fig 9



Fig 7 Fig 8 Fig 9 Fig 10


Monochorme Image Scale, NCD Words Image Scale, NCD Harmonized Colour Image Scale, NCD Four season Colour Image Scale, NCD



Based on Kobayashi’s research, which proves the impact colour brings physically and emotionally, colour can generate different feelings and further associate to a specific character or meaning. However, although the harmonized colour has a commonly used rule globally, we can’t forget the racial, regional and cultural differences related to colour identification and colour image. Thus, analyzing the harmonized colour used in different regional culture backgrounds was one of the initial directions of this research.

May Warm



Cool September






Fig 10


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Fig 8


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Research Area Focus

To arrive at a clear exposition of the perception of the relationship between colour and feeling, I attempted to research as the most reliable source as possible to reinforce my project. Colour is a completely subjective cognition experience, similar to the sense of taste and smell. Our five senses and all other sensory organs in our body determine the perceptions of colours. For example: we might use some adjectives to describe colour’s image, such as hard- soft, light-heavy or cold-warm. Those descriptions are swayed by people’s emotion of daily life experiences. Colour has different effects on our perception, because of the different degree of stimulation caused by dissimilar colours. In other words, verbalising the abstract idea such as colours is highly depending out on personal condition.


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JohnGage, 1995


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“And yet the linkage of colour with verbal expression is highly problematic”


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/The relevance between colour naming and colour perception/

The lexical colour categorisation is a critical function of colour perception which involves sorting visual responses to lights into certain colour categories and coding them with language. The issue of verbalising colour experience, or colour naming, had drawn many attentions from visual psychologist, linguistic anthropologists, and colour scientists. Some anthropologists suspected that the amount of colour vocabulary circulated within a language could be taken as an index to the technological and cultural complexity held by the speakers. Although some data were reported in the pioneering work

of Berlin and Kay (1969), using my first language as an example, the developmental status of Mandarin, i.e., the sophistication and the differentiation of its colour vocabularies, remains unclear. Besides the theoretical impact on linguistic anthropology, the behaviour of naming colour experiences is also considered a mirror reflecting the cognitive structure of inner structure of colour space. English colour naming is a well-discussed topic, and there were over a hundred of different languages in previous extensive colour naming survey from World Colour Survey (WCS). However, there is still a


considerable vacancy of empirical colour naming data in relevant domain. Colour coding involves multiple levels starting from the wavelength continuum to colour discrimination, and to colour categorization and finally the act of naming. Another stream of processing chromatic light is categorisation. This is an information reduction strategy that entails rapid coding of colours. There is evidence supporting the model of parallel processing of continuous and categorical information in colour perception (Bronstein& Korda, 1984) Studies on colour categorising

Research Area

Fig 11

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Fig 11 Color encoding levels from stimuli and discrimination to lexical encoding.

questions concern whether observers perceive qualitative similarities of hues among spectral wavelengths (Bornstein, 1990) The illustration in Fig xx gives three psychological levels of colour encoding. The categorical colour perception at higher order cognitive level

always links with the behaviour of lexical colour encoding, i.e., using verbal description to represent certain colour shades. Language is a highly development function affecting many aspects of human behaviours. In fact, the formation and the structure of colour categories are tightly


bounded with language. Consequently, the quantity of distinguishable categories on the linguistic level is drastically reduced. The numbers of frequently used colour terms are depending on the linguistic evolution stage. (Hsieh, 2010)


/Colour perception in different cultures/ Niki Getsadze (2010) student from LCC, on his major project “ Visualising Colour Emotions� (Fig 12) tried to understand colour through the framework of one aspect- emotion. He analysed the perception relationship between colour and emotion. Niki did his primary research by creating a website to gain

the massive body of information through online survey. From his study, he selected 12 adjectives to describe emotions and let people match colour for each word. The result shows that only 5 emotion words got noticeable consistency on how people recognise colours by this investigation.

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Fig 12

Fig 12 Colour Emotioms Niki Getsadze, 2010


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Thomas Wang (2007), did the research “The Symbolic Meaning of Colour in Different Culture: Take Taiwan and American as an Example� In his research, he started by handing out questionnaires to male and female Taiwanese and American students who studied at National Taiwan University, National Taiwan Normal University and National Chengchi University. Furthermore, the American participants needed to be those who had stayed in Taiwan

less than 1 year. The total numbers of questionnaire was 200: 100 participants, from Taiwan, which included 50 males and 50 females. With the same condition as participants from America. He picked white, black, red, yellow, green, blue, brown, gray, purple, pink and orange. He asked participants to describe these 12 colours both in concrete and abstract way. I categorised his results as the chart see fig 13.

American concrete describe black people


Taiwanese abstract describe scary

concrete describe









nice guy



hello kitty



red envelope


good luck

new year
























little girl


















outer space

dating holly



abstract describe

















From this research, it is obvious that colour is greatly influenced by culture and external living environment differences. For example, when it comes to the colour association of green, Taiwanese students think of garden, forest fresh and power. On the other hand, American students think of nature, hope, regeneration and dollar. Indeed, I believe green gives most

of people in all culture backgrounds the feeling of nature and fresh because of the common sense of the real world. But our perception to colours is influenced by customs and social regulation of our culture backgrounds. So the reason why American students associate green with dollar, because the colour of American currency is green.


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Fig 13


Colours in Cultures source from/Information is Beautiful by/ David McCandless Western / American V.S. Japanese 14/35= 40% dissimilar

Fig 14

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In the work “Colours in Cultures” made by David McCandless from his book “Information is Beautiful” It is possible to see how people perceive colours in different cultures. (Fig 14) He categorises different races in 10 groups, then pick up 84 words to see how people in different culture backgrounds associate colour with words. From his research I focused on comparing the difference between American (Native/ Western) and East Asian (Japanese/ Chinese/Asian). Cross-comparing the data, I found out people’s colour perception from these two backgrounds is over 50% dissimilar.

Native / American V.S. Japanese 8/11= 72.7% dissimilar




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Western / American V.S. Chinese

Western / American V.S. Asian

7/12= 58.3% dissimilar

4/9= 44.4% dissimilar



Native / American V.S. Chinese

Native / American V.S. Asian

3/5= 60% dissimilar

2/4= 50% dissimilar






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Research Methods

This research focused on the association of character personality and colour setting of the female animation characters in different culture backgrounds (Japan and USA).


Research Area

/Research Target/

Fig 15

Fig 16

Fig 17

Fig 18

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Over viewing the works of major American animation companies, Disney uses the most female characters as themes in its works. Disney animation is often positioned in the global children market, with the theme based on fairy tales. Disney has brought together the female characters of its 10 animation feature films during 1937 to 2011 on the official website, and named them as the Disney Princess. I chose 4 characters from the 10 as experiment samples of Disney’s work. The 4 characters are: Snow White, 1937 “Snow White and the Dwarfs” Ariel ,1989 “The Little Mermaid” Jasmine, 1992 “Aladdin” Mulan, 1998 “Mulan”

Fig 15,16 Snow White/ Ariel 17,18 Jasmine/ Mulan

The three heroines: Snow White, Cinderella and Aurora are from before Disney Renaissance. I chose Snow White as the representative of that era. Because Snow White is the first heroine of Disney’s animation, at the same time the film “Snow White and the Seven Drafts” holds a symbolic position as the first full colour animated feature film produced in America. My second choice, Ariel, is the protagonist of “The Little Mermaid”

which was the first work of Disney Renaissance. For that reason I think Ariel could be the right model to observe how Disney changed from this work. Then Jasmine is the first non-Western heritage character who appeared in Disney’s work. Although Jasmine and Mulan’s story background are Asia the colour setup for these character is entirely unlike the colour strategy of Studio Ghibli’s works.



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On the other hand, there are a large number of Japanese animations, with the theme spread across different topics and genders. This research observed the feature films produced by a major animation studio in Japan-Studio Ghibli, and concentrated on the 4 works during 1984 to 2011which are focused on female themes.

Fig 19

Nausicaä, 1984 “Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind” Sheeta, 1986 ”Laputa: Castle in the Sky” Kiki, 1989 “Kiki’s Delivery Service” San, 1997 “Princess Mononoke”

Fig 20

Fig 19,20 Nausicaä/ Sheeta 21,22 Kiki/ San

The typical female protagonist in Miyazaki’s works include “brave and integrity saviour”,” innocent and benevolent little girl”, “ self-assured and “success- pursued young lady” and “ justice and peace guardian”. So I chose the characters that could represent each temperament above. Fig 21


Fig 22

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Therefore, this research chose and compared the characters created by these two animation companies- Disney and Studio Ghibli.

Next, I analysed the colours used on each character. Generally the main relations of


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First of all, I divided the characters based on its monochrome and corresponded them to Kobayashi’s Colour Image Scale; I took Disney characters as examples, in order to examine if the colour setting of western designer matches with the Asian colour image standard. I sorted out the designer’s description of the character, and then corresponded the colours used for the character to the Colour Image Scale to check if the adjectives within the scale match with the character’s personality setting.

harmonized colour are followed when the design tries to convey a certain image. And then I matched the general colour associations with the colour which appeared on characters to make a cultural comparison. Additionally, I did the research of colours proportion of the characters. I took three harmonized colours as an example; the feeling brought by equal portions of three colours is very different from the feeling of one major colour with two smaller portions of colour displayed together. As the colour plans are done by square shaped colour swatch, it’s interesting to see if the colour image is the same when the proportion is different or when the colour swatch is round, triangle or diamond shaped, which was another aspect of this research.


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Visual Experiment

Colour Proportion

For inception started from looking at the colours appearance on American animation’s male and female characters. (see visual summary) DC comics and Marvel comics used red, yellow and black the most on super hero’s costumes, which represent passion, anger, hope, cheerfulness and fear. Although similar colours were used, the colours proportions’ difference makes the heroes have extremely different appearance. (Fig 23) On the other hand, the colours used on female characters from Disney Princess are apparently much more various and vivacious. But by contrast, yellow shade colours can still be found to appear more than another colours on


those characters. And the yellow shade colours are used very frequently on not only the outfit but also on the hair or accessories, which can be associated with happiness, warm and cheerfulness. Another interesting thing I found was that the colours which appeared on Super Man and Snow White are almost the same. Again, this proved that the colours proportion’s difference could make the characters have extremely different image appearance. And both of them are very classic animation icons and the colours represent them well not only on the images but also their identities.

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Superman, 1938 DC Comics


50 40 30 20

5% 6%

10 0

24% 47%


colour meaning association

Snow White, 1937 Disney


50 40 30 20 10





27% 3%

character’s colour proportion

colour meaning association

Fig 23


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character’s colour proportion

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[Characters’ background] / Studio Ghibli / Nausicaä “Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind”

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Wind Master Nausicaä is a princess of a small country who had the unique ability to ride a simple hang-glider, with no engine. The young, bright and nimble girl had taken as leader of the country from her sick father. She lived under incredible pressure which she not only had to be engaged politically in negotiations with other countries, but also dealing with environmental issues that left them barely able to survive. At the end of the film she sacrificed herself for her people, then fulfilled the prophecy “clad in blue and surrounded by fields of gold”. (Miyazaki, 2007) Fig 24

Fig 24 film poster of “Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind”



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Sheeta “Castle in the sky” Sheeta is an orphan girl, but at the same time a descendant of the ancient royal house of Laputa. She knows that her family has ling history an old and with many legends and secrets in its past, but she knows nothing about Laputa and the power of the stone she inherit from her ancestor, until many antagonists want to wrest the stone from her. Although she is quiet and shy, she has great courage and is very loyal. At the beginning of the film she is a frightened little girl, but by the end she has matured into a warmhearted girl, brave enough to fight against her antagonist and then protect Laputa by using the charm to destroy it. (McCarthy, 1999)

Fig 25

Kiki “Kiki’s Delivery Service” Kiki is a 13 year old witch-in-training. She is a virtuous, kind and outgoing girl, easily to be excited but also feel shy quite easily. According to the tradition of the witches, Kiki needs to leave her family and friends, living by herself in another city for a year. The outline of the story is about Kiki’s adventure and how she suffers all the challenge by the mere magic she has: flying and talking with her pet friend Jiji. Ultimately, the little girl who was well protected by the parents at the end became an independent and confient girl. In Miyazaki’s words “it is reflect more


Fig 26

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faithfully of the spirit of our young girls living in the capital today” (1990) Like the short sentence used on the animation propaganda in Japan “ Although life is waywardness, I will be fine”

Fig 25 film poster of “Castle in the sky” Fig 26 film poster of “Kiki’s Delivery Service” Fig 27 film poster of “Princess Mononoke”

San “Princess Mononoke”

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San, a fierce fighter abandoned by her parents who was raised by the wolf god Moro in the forest, despises human. She is in the world that the supernatural guardians of the forest strive against the human who consume forest resources. San is neither human nor wolf, dressed in a primitive style with tattoo on her face. After meeting the boy protagonist Ashitaka who caused by a Boar God, San learned and grown greatly as a person. “This meeting is the key to their liberation.”(Miyazaki, 2009) At last, San and Ashitaka’s worlds still mutually conflict and San ultimately belongs to the forest rather than to the human world. The director left this comment:” We are not trying to solve global problems with this film. There can be no happy ending to the war between the rampaging forest gods and humanity. But even in the midst of hatred and slaughter, there is still much to live for. Wonderful encounters and beautiful things still exist” (Miyazaki, 1997)

Fig 27



/ Disney /

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Snow White “Snow White and the Seven dwarfs” A queen gave a birth to a girl whose skin is as white as snow, lips are as red as blood and her hair is as black as ebony thus they named her Snow White. After her real mother died, this extremely beautiful, kind, tender and naive girl was banished from her stepmother who tried to kill her because of jealousy towards Snow White’s beauty. The hunter who was hired by the stepmother to kill Snow White set her free, and then by the help of animals and the seven dwarfs in the forest she got the temporary peace. Couldn’t escape from the trap of Snow white’s Stepmother setup, she died by eating the poisonous apple. But rescued by the kiss of Prince Charming in the end.

Fig 28

Ariel “The Little Mermaid” A young mermaid who loved adventure, always full of energy and curious about everything in the human world. After meeting Prince Eric, a human prince, because of love and looking forward human’s life, Ariel made a deal with the wicked Sea Witch. She used her voice to exchange the chance to transform into a human, but the condition is Ariel needs to receive the “kiss of true love” from Eric within three days. The bravery and boldness personality on Ariel made her become the first girl protagonist in Disney animation as a modern woman character. The staff of Disney even said: If

Fig 29


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Walt Disney was still alive, he won’t allow his girl to flees from home like Ariel. “The Little Mermaid” also considered as the first work of the Disney Renaissance.

Fig 28 “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” film poster Fig 29 “The Little Mermaid”film poster Fig 30 “Aladdin” film poster Fig 31 “Mulan” film poster

Jasmine “Aladdin”

Fig 30

Fa Mulan “Mulan” Fa Mulan is a young Chinese girl, who is innocent and selfless. Because Shan Yu invaded China at that time, forcing the Chinese emperor requires one man from each family to join the Chinese army. Mulan is the only child, so she disguised herself as a man to take the place of her elderly father in army. The story can be trace back to a Chinese legend “ The Ballad of Mulan” She is the character created to represent the spirit that girls can do the things what man do.

Fig 31


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Jasmine, the beautiful princess of Agrabah (a fiction country in Arabic), is being forced to marry the prince chose by her father. She was frustrated with her life in the palace and dreamed of abandoning it in preference for a life of adventure in which she can be free to marry to whoever she chooses. So Jasmine fled to Agrabah’s marketplace, where she met a street boy Aladdin and then started their sequence adventure story. The story was based on the Arab folktale of Aladdin and the magic lamp from One Thousand and One Nights. As the first to be of Arabian heritage Disney Princess, she has been described as a cynical, spunky, and selfassured leading but bland character.


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From the colour studies I have previously undertaken, I strongly believe people from dissimilar culture backgrounds have different association with colours and general preference for colours. Therefore I chose Disney and Studio Ghibli’s works to represent American and Japanese culture then narrowed down the study by focusing on female characters in their works. From each animation company I chose 4 heroines from their works.

a male lead, we have no choice but to do an Indiana Jones, with a Nazi or someone else who is a villain in everyone’s eyes”. However he said of Nausicaä that:” [She] is not a protagonist who defeats an opponent, but a protagonist who understands, or accepts her opponents. She is someone who lives on a different dimension. That kind of person should be female, not male.” The most important thing is that the heroines of Miyazaki are pure and asexual, to emphasise themes of purity and strength. And that is the reason why the blue shade colours appeared a lot on his characters, which represent hope, freedom, loyalty and virtue. According to the colour image scale of NCD, it is also the hues associated with cool and hard.

“Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind” was the first animation film produced by Hayao Miyazaki. This film held very important position among Miyazaki’s works, because this film influenced him a lot in his works after. As we can see from his works, he used many females as protagonists. The reason of that could be traced back to “Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind”. According to Miyazak “If we try to make an adventure story with

When it comes to Disney’s works, most of the story backgrounds are from fairy tales or folktales around the world but got


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hand, Ghibli’s works narrate more of the adventure story of young girls, and describes less about their figures. Miyazaki even hopes his heroines have less female trait. He regarded Nausicaä “sombre and reserved” nature to be offset by her feminity. (Miyazaki, 2009)


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revised into a happy ending with added more romance in it. The heroines before Disney Renaissance are all set up in an obedient, virtuous, kind but naive female personality, such as Snow White, Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella. After that, Disney’s protagonists’ characters changed into a more modern women personality such as Ariel, Jasmine and Mulan. They are not only beautiful and kind, but also self-assured. At the same time they have no fear to pursue their own love and live. Obviously, from this we could see the female character’s personality change by the development of feminism. Comparing the ways these two animation companies describe female character and the story plot. Disney’s works talk more about romances, and then focus more on representing female’s sexed slender figure. Most of the heroines have long hair, incredibly tiny waists with an emphasis on legs. On the other

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Final Stage

[Outcome] For my outcome, I wanted to focus more on the visual effect to show the colour difference of these two dissimilar cultures based on animation studios (Disney and Ghibli) characters. I aimed to make a set of colour palette book for the two animation companies according to the characters’ colour proportion we see them in front. And a series poster to show the characters’ colour proportion we see them from top to bottom.

/Poster I made 4 posters as a series to show the character’s colour proportion with the imagination of what we see them from top to bottom. I printed the colour images of the character on one sheet of folded paper, one side is the colour image from Disney and the other side is the image from Ghibli. Thus the audiences could see and compare the two different characters images from different angle.


Unit3: Major Project

/Colour palette book The book use colour paper to make the layer to represent the characters colour proportion that we see them in front. At the same to time make audiences can read and compare the two books in an easier way, I made the separately books looks like two brochures binding together. Those colour image from outside of the square to inside shows the 4 characters colour proportion by the time they made from the prime to the latest one.


Bibliography Berlin, B & Kay, P. (1969) Basic color terms: their university and evolution. Berkeley: University of California Press. Bornstein, M. (1990) perceptual categories in vision and audition. In S. Harnad (ed.), Categorical perception-The groundwork of cognition. New Jersey: Cambridge University. Bornstein, M. H. & Korda, N. O. (1984) Discrimination and matching within and between hues measured by reaction times: some implications for categorical perception and levels of information processing. Psychol Res, 46(3), 207-222 Cavallaro, D. (2006) The animé art of Hayao Miyazaki. North Carolina: McFarland & Company, Inc. CRI online (2005) Global Watch available from< Unit3: Major Project> [5th April 2012] Gage, J. (1999) Colour and Meaning: Art, Science and Symbolism. London: Thames & Hudson Ltd. Gage, J. (1993) Colour and Culture: Practice and Meaning form Antiquity to Abstraction. London: Thames & Hudson Ltd. Getsadze, N. (2010) Niki Gestadze · visual communications. available from< http://www.> [13th September 2012] Hsieh, T. J. (2010) Color Terms and Lexical Color Category Space. Taipei: National Chiao Tung University [Internet] available from< ccd=xwbfnH/record?r1=1&h1=0> [20th September 2012] Kobayashi, S. (1992) Color Image Scale. Trans. by Matsunaga, L. New York: Kodanasa American. Inc. McCarthy, H. (1999) Hayao Miyazaki: master of Japanese animation: films, themes, artistry. California: Stone Bridge Press Miyazaki, H. (2009) Starting Point: 1979~1996. Trans. by Cary & B., Schodt, F. L. San Francisco: VIZ Media, LCC Tayama, K. (ed.) (1996) The Art of Nausicaä of The Valley of The Wind. Trans. by Cunningham, A. San Francisco: VIZ Media, LCC Wang, C. (2007) The Symbolic Meaning of Color in Different Culture: Take Taiwan and American as an Example. Taipei: National Taiwan Normal University [Internet] available from<> [8th August 2012]


Final Stage

Image Reference Fig1, 2 Auerbach, T. (2011) RGB Colorspace Atlas [online image] available from< http://> [25th September 2012] Fig9 Harmonized Colour Image Scale [online image] available from<http://www.ncd-ri.>[28th March 2012] Fig10 Four seasons Colour Image Scale [online image] available from<http://www.ncd-ri.>[28th March 2012] Fig11 Color encoding levels from stimuli and discrimination to lexical encoding [online image] available from<> [10th September] Fig12 Getsadze, N. (2012) Colour Emotions [online image] available from<http://> [15th September 2012] Fig14 McCandless, D. (2009) Colour in Cultures [online image] available from<http://www.> [ 20th September] Unit3: Major Project


Major Project Report  

LCC2012 MA project

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