DAY EIGHTEEN

DAY EIGHTEEN | bluchickenninja.com

I would like to argue that organizing books by colour is the best way to organise books. We humans are very visual (I’m totally graphic designing out my ass here (yes I did just make up a word)). When we look at a book the first thing we notice is the colour and design of the cover. Don’t give me that shit about “I don’t judge a book by its cover”, yes you do. We all do. The cover is the most important part of the book.

Anyway, organising books by colour is the best way, you can see instantly that it is organised in a logical way, even before you have to look closely to see the names of the books. I argue that organising books alphabetically may fulfill some OCD like desire for everything to be in order but when you actually look at a bookshelf sorted in alphabetical order it (usually) looks like a total mess.

But the only problem with sorting by colour, is that the publishers and the people who designed the cover make it so difficult. First we have brown and pink books, brown and pink isn’t even in the colour spectrum, what am I supposed to do with them? Make a little shelf just for brown and pink books? Nope. Actually I worked out that I was more likely to donate a book if it was brown or pink just because it doesn’t fit into the rainbow.

And then we have the blue books. Blue books are seriously a nightmare to organise. You have the greenish blue books, the purpley blue books and then you have the books where you can’t tell if they are actually blue or if you’re a bit colour blind. I mean really My Heart and Other Black Holes? Its almost like the designer couldn’t decide between blue or white, now we have this weirdly coloured book that doesn’t quite fit into the rainbow and yet sticks out like a sore thumb with the white books.

And honestly I’m not even going to get into those nightmare books where half the spine is red and half the spine is blue. Have you ever tried to sort the Harry Potter series into rainbow order? Its better if you don’t try.

Thanks for reading.
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93 Responses to “DAY EIGHTEEN”

  1. Florida Minimalist

    As a graphic designer, I really, really appreciate this!!

    Reply
  2. deerbrookeditions

    You have stumbled onto visual thinking, which may be more of a golden egg than the other you mentioned, and from a marketing stand point— yes; and I as a book designer, so old adages out the window, look at the new Penguin/ Random House site, new non-organization —re-conceiving (sounds like animal husbandry) the reader-publisher dynamic – have the courage to use your own understanding.

    Reply
  3. curtisbausse

    Love this one, Emma – I’d never thought of that particular arrangement. If you saw mine you’d be horrified! (Btw, I was looking for your post about pens from a while back – couldn’t find it – do you have a link?).

    Reply
  4. Aimer Boyz

    I’ve always shelved alphabetically by author but your colour system definitely looks better. Almost makes me wish all my books weren’t digital. 🙂

    Reply
  5. kerbey

    I only choose books based on their covers when I go to the bookstore. How else am I going to pick one? I can’t scan the insides with my superhero powers. I have lots of Penguin-published books, so they all have orange and white spines, which is a nice clean shelf line. I think this is a fine idea.

    Reply
  6. FW

    You did a really good job of putting them all in order…
    P.s. I just realised your comment about the Harry Potter books. The colours are seriously all over the place. 😀

    Reply
    • bluchickenninja

      Its taken a good 6 months to get that. Pretty much every time I looked at the shelf I would realise that something was out of order. Especially around the blue books. Blue books are a nightmare!

      Yeah the original UK editions are a bit all over the place colour wise. The new editions and the US versions aren’t so bad.

      Reply
      • FW

        I have the original UK editions, so I totally understand. Wow, six months is a while. But your picture says you got it right. i hope you’ve put a a “do not touch” sign in front. 🙂

        Reply
        • bluchickenninja

          The only person I know who would want to touch the shelf is a friend who fell out with me because my books were not in rainbow order!

  7. kkrige

    While you do have an aesthetic thing going on, and I do appreciate a nice cover, it would drive me nuts trying to find a book on your shelf. Aside from colour, is there any parameters to your organization (ie. fiction/nonfiction, author, book title, genre)? How do you find anything?

    (Is my OCD showing?) 😉

    Reply
    • bluchickenninja

      Yeah I think you would hate my organizational method. I have huge art books on a dresser. I have oddly shaped books on another shelf (these are books smaller than a typical paperback and some larger). I have all my paperbacks on one long shelf. Then in my bookcase I have all my hardbacks (because they are too heavy for the shelves on my wall), then I have a shelf for my black and white books (just because there is space there), another shelf for trade paperbacks and then a shelf for my ‘favourite’ books. And when I say favourite I mean my Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings collections.

      As for finding a specific book I’ve sort of just learned where everything is!

      Reply
  8. Bridget

    I am totally going to do this. It’s going to be my mission for the rest of this decade. I have several smallish bookcases and it will take me ages to work out out exactly which colours will fit well on which set of shelves. Then when I buy new books, everything might have to be rearranged. It’s going to be my life’s work! Oh my, I’ll never be bored again.

    Reply
  9. Liz

    There is no rhyme or reason to my book shelves, I just toss the book back into an open spot after I’m done reading. At this point I’m afraid to look at it too closely for fear of having an immediate OCD moment.

    Reply
  10. ghostmmnc

    That’s wonderful you can get your books organized…and color is a good way. I once tried arranging by subject…a total mess and I gave up. As it is I haven’t enough shelves, so everything is stacked about 3 deep and on tops of others, and well…still a mess. Maybe someday I’ll try again. 🙂

    Reply
    • bluchickenninja

      Yeah I had them organised by subject for a while. Though it was more fiction and non-fiction were kept separate then I had another pile of classics. I ended up getting bored of that.

      Reply
  11. aiharun

    I did this once long time ago, sorted them by colours but only for my daughter’s Enid Blyton’s collection, only for her section. I don;t think I’d arrange by colours if they’re of different genre or sizez,

    Reply
  12. Kerry

    Hi! Thanks for visiting my blog. I enjoyed your post. I think that I would just cover my book with pretty paper and then arrange them. Our daughter’s books are too colorful.

    Reply
  13. jessicacrafts

    It looks great. I can’t judge someone organising books by colour as my books aren’t organised at all!
    In other news
    I’ve nominated you for the leibster award. You can see the post on my blog.

    Reply
  14. conniecockrell

    I’ve heard of people who organize their books by cover color. It looks good. Great idea about covering the books yourself, too. Thanks for stopping by my blog.

    Reply
  15. reeyah

    This post is really funny. I’m sorry I found your frustration funny, but I guess it’s in your storytelling; it was really funny. 🙂

    In my case, I don’t have a particular order. If it fits in the shelf, that’s where it goes and stays. =/

    Reply
  16. koehlerjoni

    I’m happy you are able to do this, and it looks great. Organizing my books by color would probably keep me up all night– I need to have things alphabetized and separated by genre.

    Reply
  17. Caroline is resourceful

    My books are also arranged by colour. But size is a factor too for me as my shelves are different heights. I go ROYGBIV then pink then brown then white then grey then black! My yarn, fabric, clothes and DVDs are also organised by colour!

    Reply
  18. natejamesanderson

    If you ever get the chance – go to the upstairs labyrinth at The Last Bookstore in downtown Los Angeles. Aside from general artsy manipulated books there is a whole room of used books organized by color

    Reply
  19. rlsharpe

    That does look really good. I must admit I’ve never even thought about arranging my books in colours. I like to arrange them according to size, but I like your way better! Thanks for shairing.

    Reply
  20. krit23

    I totally agree with you on this… As a keen obsetver of sensory branding….i appreciate the color theory used by you 🙂

    Reply
  21. Ladybellule

    It is a good idea! I love it! I was just looking for an advice to organize my books. 😉
    Thank you for visiting my little blog. 🙂

    Reply
  22. juliecround

    AHHH, never by colour, but then I’m a word person, not a visual person. I arrange by subject – bird books together, cookery books together, children’s books together and most of the rest in a jumble so that I am the only one who knows where to find them! Maps and library books are on the coffee table and books about where we have been on holiday squashed in at the end of a row, with bus timetables and photos. I’m not a tidy person!

    Reply
    • bluchickenninja

      Hahaha. I wouldn’t even try arranging everything by subject. I have so many books on so many different things that it would end up in a mess.

      Reply
  23. cornishfoodbaby

    This is hilarious! I also have the problem as a Graphic Designer and book hoarder, at the moment I organise my books in categories and height order, but colour…. I need to reorganise my book shelves haha.

    Reply
  24. Gerri Baker

    Love it! When my son was about 4, he had a set of alphabet books that were red, yellow, green & blue. I was constantly organizing them alphabetically and couldn’t figure out why they were always out of order until one day I realized he was organizing them by color! I left them alone after that but it really bugged me for them to not be alphabetical (yes – I’m a bit OCD). Thanks for the fun post!

    Reply
  25. Sarah

    I’ve arranged all my books by colour! I love how it looks but it can be annoying when I’m trying to find a book but can’t remember what colour it is. Also, I do repeat purchase occasionally, so there are downsides. But…. looking at them gives me so much pleasure, I can put up with that! 🙂

    Reply
    • bluchickenninja

      I’ve never had the problem about forgetting where my books are. Though I don’t have that many books in the rainbow. But yeah, its nice to look at!

      Reply
  26. reesertshadow

    Alphabetical order ftw. Plus…in my case, colours wouldn’t be that interesting. A surprisingly high number of my books have spines that are black with red lettering.

    Reply
  27. maryshoobridge

    I have different ways of sorting my books, depending on which room they are in! Some books are filed in author order, others by genre or language. I rather like random collections….

    Reply
  28. Katie Bradshaw

    I was just noticing yesterday that the book I just finished and the book I just started are the same brilliant yellow. Then I started noticing the other yellow books on my shelves, which are currently in no particular order other than “read / not read” and “happens to fit in this space.” I might need to start on a sorting mission during my next period of procrastination!

    Reply
    • bluchickenninja

      Watch out! Thats how it starts and then before you know it the colour of the spine is an important factor when you’re deciding what book to buy next.

      Reply
  29. Temy Hoang

    Interesting idea. I have never thought of this. I arranged my books by subjects, economics, business, arts, literature, etc…

    Reply
  30. carly macaulay

    i am surrounded by visual thinkers always. everything is about colour if you have an autism mind, they are just patiently awaiting for us to all catch up. Thanks for the nice fun post.

    Reply

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