The “Color Fever” Chroma Survey 1973


  • Clino Trini Castelli Castelli.Design



CMF Design Forecasting, 1973 Oil Shock, 1973 “Color Fever”, Advent of Ecology Concept, Conceptual Inversion, Emotional Experience, Umbrella Diagram, Qualistic, World-wide “Sentiment of Color”, Fragments


Fifty years have passed since the author, observing a series of developments related to the evolution of color culture in the early 1970s, realized that major historical events often coincided with epochal changes capable of giving rise to new global color languages. In those years the selection of a color was based not so much on the subjective choice of hues, as on the objective vivacity of the color’s saturation (chroma). Each color was thus selected at its maximum intensity, further accentuated by the monochromatic scheme inherited from the historical trend of the 1960s. That decade had been characterized by increasingly saturated primary colors, which precisely in 1973 led to a chromatic outburst whose maximum peak was reached in a sort of “color fever”. As we know, a fever is not itself an illness, but a symptom that reveals the presence of a pathology. In this case the peak of saturation, already detected in the field in 1973 and then measured and depicted in 1979 with the tracing of a new diagram: the “Color Fever” Chroma Survey (Figure 1). The peak registered the symptom of a crisis in the by-then obsolete quantitative dynamics that still regulated the choice of colors in use according to a rigid linear progression, lacking in other possible evolutions. These dynamics were no longer sustainable on a qualistic plane, and above all they proved to be unsuitable to grasp the signs of the appearance of a new “sentiment of color.”

Author Biography

  • Clino Trini Castelli, Castelli.Design

    Clino Trini Castelli - (b. 1944) designer, artist and design theorist lives and works in Milan. Internationally known for CMF design (Color, Material and Finishes) of which he was the initiator, Castelli introduced the "No-form" renewal of plastic languages applied to industrial products through the tools of Design Primario. As opposed to traditional compositional methods, Clino Trini Castelli has focused on the design of the more intangible aspects of figuration, like color and material, light and sound, emphasizing the virtues of a sensorial approach to art and design. Since the early 1970s this has made him a pioneer in research on the emotional identity of products in the industrial sector. His work has received important European, American, Japanese prizes, including two ADI Compasso d’Oro awards and the AIC Award for Color in Art, Design and Environment.


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How to Cite

“The ‘Color Fever’ Chroma Survey 1973” (2024) Cultura e Scienza del Colore - Color Culture and Science, 16(01), pp. 72–82. doi:10.23738/CCSJ.160108.