Course overview

A recent design trend is the use of colour in an architectural environment aiming for the establishment of an emotional and psychological relation with the user. For the designer this entails a fundamental switch from a preoccupation with colour as a means to create space or appeal aesthetically, to what colours themselves represent to users in a spatial context. The emotional processing of colour in our brain is a complex issue for which the architect or designer usually does not have time to delve into. There is a need for a manageable approach to dealing with the design of meaning. “Colour semantics for interior architecture” presents the scientifically based Semantic Colour Space as a logical and practical design tool that articulates the relation between meaning, emotion, and psychology on the one hand and colour perception and colour palettes on the other.


  • Enable yourself to quickly design meaningful and psychologically appealing spaces through the use of colours.

  • Learn how to probe a conceived meaning, emotion, brand value, functionality, or ambience, and compose the appropriate colour palette.

  • Learn how to apply the scientifically based Semantic Colour Space, a logical and practical design tool that enhances the basic understanding of the emotional and psychological effect of colours.

  • You will have the opportunity to introduce your project into the course and, with tutoring on hand, work on its colour semantic aspects.

Course duration 2 weeks
Start date March 17, 2022
Language English
Effort minimum 6 hours per week

Theory and case studies with on-hand tutoring in 4 online live sessions. Quizzes and exercises by way of homework.

Secure your place

Complete your registration and make payment now, as only 12 participants will be allowed on the course. We stick to a limited number of trainees as we want to guarantee a maximum of interaction with the instructor.

Special offer! Members of the Interdisciplinary Colour Association Belgium (ICA-Belgium) get 20% discount. Find out more ...


Session 1
March 17, 2022
3 - 4:30 pm CEST
Repeat March 19, 2022
10 - 11:30 am CEST

Session 2
March 31, 2022
3 - 4:30 pm CEST
Repeat April 2, 2022
10 - 11:30 am CEST

You are free to join the dates that suit you best.
You can both attend the main sessions as well as the repeats.

Course curriculum

  1. 1
    • Downloads

  2. 2
    • The semantic colour space, a natural framework

    • 8 primary colours, 8 colour families

  3. 3
    • Colour Semantics

    • Spatial effects of colour semantics

    • Quizzing semantic parameters of primary colours

    • Multiple choice on the semantics of primary colours

    • Take a tour around the semantic parameters of primary colours

  4. 4
    • Colour Perception

    • Adapt the semantics of primary colours with colour perception parameters

  5. 5
    • Colour Palettes

    • Quizzing colour palette parameters

  6. 6
    • Using the colour semantics table

    • Translate semantic keywords into appropriate colour palette parameters.

    • CASE assemble a colour palette for a banking hall

  7. 7
    • Assemble a colour palette for your project


Inez Michiels

Senior instructor

Inez Michiels

Inez Michiels is director at CITY OF 8 design semantics research association and co-founding board member of the ICA-Belgium Interdisciplinary Colour Association. She obtained a Master of Arts from the Artesis-Plantijn Hogeschool in Antwerp. In cooperation with the Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp and the University of Antwerp, dep. of communication sciences she did research into the link between art and emotion. She published a series of papers and books on design semantics and is the author of the Design Semantics Database. She is a guest lecturer at the University of Antwerp, dep. interior architecture and at the Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore US, dep. graphic design. She is a member of the AIC Study Group on Environmental Colour Design.


Review about the Design Semantics courses

Aniela Hoitink, founder of Neffa – The Netherlands

For me it was very interesting that the things I do intuitively, are now scientifically substantiated. If my feeling is wrong with a design, I can use design semantics to test what I can do differently. Or vice versa from the semantics determine a feeling, this is a reciprocity.

Review about Design Semantics courses

Annelies Reynaerts – aHa-architecten gcv, Belgium.

Our senses are stimulated by colours, textures, materials and shapes. When making choices, consciously or unconsciously, we usually work from a gut feeling. Thanks to the course Design semantics you get a scientific background/support and in case of doubt you can start looking for the right solution, or combinations of colours, shapes and textures. It is important to note that both (gut feeling and design semantics) are needed, complement each other perfectly and thereby are inextricably linked. A very informative experience that will be applied with pleasure in the future.

Review about the Signifix workshop

Ellen Lupton & team – MICA, Baltimore USA

I never saw such a cool workshop in my life!

Review about the Design Semantics courses

Master student in interior architecture at Art’COM – Morocco.

The workshops were very interesting to the extent that we discussed architecture in a totally new way. The most interesting part of the workshop was the code of colours, shapes and textures that we have studied and that allows us to precisely respond to the expectations of a customer.