“Colouring” the text you read

Sometimes the text I read is heterogeneous and addresses the issues from many points. To keep track of various perspective I “colour” the text according to the dominant perspective of each paragraph.  I try to follow the “colours” in the visualization themes and I try to be capable to reproduce the article photographically with “colour” to improve navigation when I re-examine the article. The most important tip here is keeping the colours consistent with the article, not your own thoughts.

The seven colours I use roughly correspond to the six thinking hats. You can use some dialectical approach instead, but I find it very simple to follow the basic colour scheme. I added one more colour for my own purposes.

Green. This is probably the most rare and important colour in the text, corresponding to entirely new and surprising ideas. The green colour stands for creativity. Any text marked as green deserves pause, thought and thorough linking. To remember associate green with personal growth.

White. This is the colour of support material. Any associative link needs to be supported by facts, data, authority and some other information. While it may have small role by itself, it is important to keep the support material for all knowledge we have, and thus the white stuff is important. To remember associate with white stuff in your brain.

Blue. Each text has its flow, and good authors guide their readers in the flow of their text. The thinking behind methodology is very useful for navigating the text and for recreating similar processes. To remember associate with a blue river.

Red. Often authors cite controversy. Any controversy generates emotions. In historical books we see cool anecdotes. Those anecdotes also generate strong emotions. Some blogs put great images or cool titles, which create emotional response. Emotional stuff is easy  to remember and use for visual markers. Emotional stuff fires up our interest and imagination. Associate red with fire.

Yellow. Many articles open new opportunities. This new idea can be used for… There are relatively few lines of hope within most of the articles we read, and they shed some light on possible future use of the idea.  Associate yellow with a flashlight.

Black. Basically the opposite of yellow. Deals with threats, uncertainty, scams and other demons that lurk in darkness. Rarely used. Associate with darkness. Use underline to highlight in documents.

Gray. If you read something and have no idea how to use it, do not colour it, make it fade away into shades of gray. Associate with fog. Change text colour to gray in documents.

Now take a text you are willing to mark, put it in your word editor and start highlighting paragraphs with the appropriate colours.


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3 Replies to ““Colouring” the text you read”

  1. Hi,
    Could you explain a bit on the “blue” one, I don’t quite understand what I should highlight.
    When do we highlight, I mean do you highlight every text (of course not) or just dense information, or something important to you?

    Thanks in advance 🙂 !


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