Vetting Color Studies: Red Plate, White Plate, Or Blue Plate Special?

January 27, 2014 § 5 Comments


January 27, 2014

I am always intrigued by trending or popular stories that are making their way around the web. I have been known to indulge in my fair share of sharing of colorful infographics and eye catching imagery, thank you, Pinterest. But once the initial glow of awe has dissipated it is then when the real work gets started.

In the color business it is crucial that information be correct when it comes to color as our upbringing and personal experiences shape our lives and perceptions of things. Often our personal feelings can override our objective behavior and we can set things into motion that may not be exactly as they appear. This is especially important in color matching when you are seeing things online versus in person. It is here that I might add the disclaimer that everything you read/see on the internet is not true.

Let’s talk specifically about the most recent color goodie from Google Alerts, that came across my computer screen titled ‘Forget the blue plate special: Have the red plate dieter’s meal’ by Tom Jacobs for Salon.com.

Are these plate studies confusing you?

Are these plate studies confusing you?

Here is an excerpt. “…the takeaway from a recent study by researchers from the University of Parma in Italy, published in the journal Appetite.

The researchers served test subjects popcorn and chips on crockery of various colors, and found that the snackers sampled smaller amounts when the items were offered on red plates. The subjects reported the same level of enjoyment of the treats regardless of what they were served on, suggesting the plate color made the difference.

The researchers theorize that red—due to either cultural associations such as traffic lights or biological ones such as blood—is linked in our minds with “danger and prohibition.” 

It sounds compelling. Let’s take a closer look at the actual study. Here is the Abstract.

“Recent literature suggests that individuals may consume less food when this is served on red plates. We explored this intriguing effect in three experiments. Independent groups of participants were presented with constant amounts of popcorns, chocolate chips, or moisturizing cream, on red, blue, or white plates. They were asked to sample the foods (by tasting them) or the cream (by rubbing it on the hand and forearm) as they wished and to complete mock “sensory analysis” questionnaires. Results confirmed that red plates reduce taste-related consumption and extended this effect to the touch-related consumption of moisturizing cream. Suggesting that the effect was not due to a decrease in the consciously experienced appeal of products on red plates, overall appreciation of the foods or cream did not differ according to plate color. After careful photometric measures of the materials used for each food-plate pairing, we determined that food and cream consumption was not predicted by Michelson (achromatic) contrast. Although the origin of the intriguing effect of the color red on consumption remains unclear, our results may prove useful to future potential explanations.”

The results were “unclear.” I wonder why that part didn’t make it into the article.

I hope none of you ran out to get those red plates. I too get excited about new studies (especially those on color) that come out but I have learned to take the extra time to trace the information back to the original study to fact check as the information has a way of getting twisted just enough to create a buzz.

We may be a nation in need of dietary assistance but preying on our insecurities and color assumptions or misinformation, is not the way to go about it. As seekers of color truths, it is our responsibility to change the color conversation to properly reflect colors’ true psychology.

Following Up On The Fruits Of A Certified Color Consultant And Colleague

January 2, 2014 § Leave a comment


January 3, 2014

In 2005, I did a Color/Design class here on Bainbridge Island (as I do every summer) for those wishing to expand their careers in color and had the good fortune to have a lovely woman named Irma from Indonesia enroll in the class. Needless to say, Bainbridge is a long way from Jakarta and I was delighted that she was motivated enough to come all that way to take the training program, especially because I had spent some time in Indonesia doing consulting and presentations for a very large cosmetic company founded by a woman named Martha Tilaar. She literally started her company on a shoe string budget with a recipe for skin cream passed on to her from her grandmother. She had seen my first book, more recently re-done as More Alive With Color, and decided to contact me about the possibility of coming to Indonesia to train her make-up artists and salespeople in color.

I happily took my first trip there in the late 80s and subsequently went back to Indonesia twice in the 90s (including Bali— but that’s another story) and enjoyed every moment there. This is a country rich in color heritage and the women are really quite beautiful. They are a mix of native Indonesian, some other mixed Asian cultures and Dutch. The furniture in their homes, the food they eat and the clothing they wear reflects those varied cultures. Ms. Tilaar was a fabulous hostess and I found out when I was there that she had quite a success story behind her. When she took me to one of her cosmetic-producing factories, she opened cauldrons of bubbling creams and had assigned color names from More Alive With Color. It was quite a colorful and amazing experience!

It is always gratifying to hear from former students, particularly when I have such fond memories of both Irma and her country, so I was happy to hear from her with an update on what she has been doing in the eight years since she took my class. 

IrmaClientHomePage

Among many other advancements in her career as a personal image and fashion consultant, she has been quite busy picking the colors for Garuda Indonesia’s crew uniforms. It was such an amazing coincidence that earlier in the year, July to be exact, she chose reddish purple as an additional color for the Maitre de Cabine uniform of Garuda Indonesia new cabin crew uniform (national flag carrier airline). Additionally in 2009 as part of the team of consultants for Garuda, Irma chose three colors for the new cabin crew uniform: turquoise, orange and blue (purser). After the launching of the new uniform in July 2010, she was thrilled knowing that turquoise was chosen as Color of the Year (2010) and Orange or Tangerine Tango for (2012).

GarudaIndonesiauniforms

Well done, Irma!

American Visionary Art Museum Is A Hometown Treasure

December 24, 2013 § 1 Comment


December 24, 2013

I was reading the NY Times this morning and was drawn by this story about visionary art as it is based in my hometown of Baltimore. As I clicked over to the AVAM site (American Visionary Art Museum) and started looking around I got really excited.

AVAM has something for everyone (as most museums do) only this time it comes with a little twist. One of the current exhibits is called Human, Soul & Machine: The Coming Singularity.

As the website describes it, “The American Visionary Art Museum’s 19th original thematic exhibition is a timely and playful examination of the serious impact of technology on our lives, as seen through the eyes of 40+ visionary artists, cutting edge futurists, and inventors. Pleasing to an audience of Nobel Prize winners and schoolchildren alike, this show asks, “Two billion personal computers later, post DNA-sequencing, are we on the road to becoming a better, healthier, happier, less warlike, human race?”

Now, you may be wondering what this has to do with color. Well, as I was reading through the details of the exhibition I was quick to notice that one of the artists included is Neil Harbisson. If you follow me on Facebook you might recall me sharing Neil’s Ted talk “I Listen To Color.” Neil has created a world for himself based on color and technology which has opened up a whole new world for him. As a person who works in and with color, the growing conversation is increasingly intermixed with talk of technology and how we see color.

There are a few different schools of thought when it comes to looking at color on a computer versus seeing it in real time. Although it is tempting to view color digitally and it has come a long way since the days of limited “web safe” colors, at this moment, I tend to fall on the side of color in real time and always send clients seeking color advice hard copy of the colors, but who is to say that technology won’t make virtual color matching easier in the future?

How do you weigh in on “real” color vs digital?

American Visionary Art Museum.

Have a safe and Happy Holiday!

Brett Doss Photographer With A Penchant For Color

December 17, 2013 § 2 Comments


December 17, 2013

Brett Doss attended my talk for the Seattle Fashion Group back in October and we have been in touch ever since. Take a moment to stop by Brett’s site to enjoy his photography and see what he has to say.

Thank you for the wonderful article, Brett! Job well done.

Pantone’s Leatrice Eiseman at Seattle Fashion Group International | Bret Doss: Photographer.

Color Vs Black/White

November 18, 2013 § 6 Comments


November 18, 2013

Have you ever stopped to think about how color truly affects our lives? I understand the joy of color and know, first hand, how color can influence most aspects of our day to day existence. Then I remembered a movie that does a lovely job of capturing the transformative aspects of color.

That movie is Pleasantville. While I was watching the movie I had a bit of an epiphany. I then Googled Pleasantville and found this gem of a quote from Warren Epstein (The Gazette) on Wikipedia that really summed it up.

 

“This use of color as a metaphor in black-and-white films certainly has a rich tradition, from the over-the-rainbow land in The Wizard of Oz to the girl in the red dress who made the Holocaust real for Oskar Schindler in Schindler’s List. In Pleasantville, color represents the transformation from repression to enlightenment. People – and their surroundings – change from black-and-white to color when they connect with the essence of who they really are.”

Have you ever stopped to think about your immediate color world? What colors give you the connection to who you really are?

I was once asked “If you could live without color, where would you give up color?” 

Would you be willing to give up color?

The Colorful Circle Of Life

October 4, 2013 § 4 Comments


October 4, 2013

Teaching my color/design class has brought me into contact with so many creative people who work with/in color. As a teacher and a lifelong student, I am fortunate to be in contact with a lot of amazingly wonderful and talented people.

LeeTeachingCDClass

Image via John Shearer of Shearer Painting

Color is the binding agent for which these relationships are forged and it is the provider for the inspiration that we all bring into our daily lives as well as our careers. Color touches every part of our lives; from our surroundings, to what we put on our bodies, down to the car that takes us where we want to go.

Consciously or subconsciously we are having a daily color conversation with ourselves. It is the driving force behind our choice of what to wear, unless you live in a nudist colony. It is in these daily “conversations” that we discover the power of color in our lives.

It is my love for color that got me here, and into teaching about color. It was through teaching color that I come to meet other people who share their love of color and how they use it. How people are using color directly affects how I learn and teach about color, which is what inspired this (and all) of my blog posts.

One of the students from my summer 2013 color class recently sent me a very Emerald inspired link from one of her colleagues. Click the link below to take a look at how Emerald, Pantone’s 2013’s color of the year, has inspired the creative juices.

http://www.mode34b.com/blog/look-emeraude-collaboration-pantone-sephora-29747/

Do you have a love of color? Does color drive your daily decisions? Has your love of color opened up your world to new possibilities? If so, I would love for you to join me for my next color/design class this January in Burbank, California.

I look forward to meeting you and hearing about your love of color and how you use it in your daily lives.

Reading List For The Color Echelon

September 30, 2013 § 4 Comments


September 30, 2013

 

Who doesn’t love a list?

Every year, twice a year, I teach a class on color and design. In the preparations for the class I compile a list of books that I have found to be integral in my pursuit of color knowledge. It is a very long list (12 pages) so I decided to pick eight books that I think are important for those who are looking to grow their knowledge and understanding of color.

1). A Natural History of the Senses by Diane Ackerman

Anaturalhistoryofresponses 

2). Color and Human Response by Faber Birren

Color&Humanresponse 

3). Color Psychology & Color Therapy by Faber Birren

ColorPsychologyandColorTherapy 

4). Color Graphics; The Power of Color in Graphic Design by Karen Triedman and Cheryl Dangel Cullen

Colorgraphics 

5). Colour/Travels Through the Paintbox by Victoria Finlay

ColourTravelsThroughthepaintbox 

6). A Perfect Red by Amy Butler Greenfield

aperfectred 

7). Living With Color by Deryck Healy

livingwithcolor 

8). Designing Across Cultures-How to Create Effective Graphics for Diverse Ethnic Groups by Ronnie Lipton

designingacrosscultures

  

I would love to hear about your favorite color books. Are any of these books on your “must read” list?

What books would you include in your top ten list of color books?

For my complete list of books sign up for my next Color/Design course in to be held in Burbank, January 2014.

 

Have You Had Your Colors Done?

September 19, 2013 § 10 Comments


September 19, 2013

If you ask me who was the first person to start the personal color movement I would say it was Susan Caygill, based in San Francisco.

Now long gone, Susan first started her business in the 60s. I only met her once, briefly in the 80s, when I lived in Los Angeles,  but my memory of her at that time is still so vivid.

Susan had a certain way about her. She was definitely not one to be ignored with her fabulous head of red hair and the way she carried herself. Susan was truly a cut above in her approach to personal color and she commanded top dollar to share her knowledge with you. She had quite the following and it would not be out of the ordinary to be in a consultation with Susan with a few of her staunch supporters in tow. Creating a beautiful personalized color palette was often a group effort.

As the personal color movement was slowly gaining steam it was not uncommon to have the support of other ladies who were enjoying their new found color confidence. As I was working on my book, Alive With Color, which was published in the early 80s, I too had the support of some wonderful women who all shared my love of color. This was a wonderful time and I have some lifelong friendships as the result, a few of whom I mentioned in the dedication of my first book, which is now out of print but has recently been updated as More Alive With Color.

Alive With Color Cover

Out of print

More Alive W Color Cvr-72dpi

Even though the Seasonal color palette is not my approach to personal color, we both share the belief that they key to finding your best colors is found in one’s hair, skin, and eyes, as well as emotional attachments to color. I devised the Color Clock system based on the time of day as I felt it was more inclusive of those countries that don’t experience winter or fall and is more inclusive of the hues found most frequently in natural settings.

Colors of Morning Colors of MiddayColors of Evening

Personal coloring isn’t about rigid rules. I never say that you can’t wear colors simply because they aren’t in your personal Colortime palette. I encourage my clients and readers to embrace all colors with an objective eye. This is one of the most important factors that has helped me most in my color career.

It is never too late to have your colors done. If you are interested in learning your personal colors, or having your colors done professionally, or want to become a personal color consultant,  please visit my website morealivewithcolor.com.

Have you had your colors done? Are those colors still working for you? What is your Colortime?

A Color Forecast To Inspire!

September 10, 2013 § Leave a comment


September 10, 2013

As many of you may already know, I wear many hats as a color expert. I am the Executive Director of the Pantone Color Institute, owner/director of the Eiseman Center for Color Information and Training and I am the author of eight books on color (soon to be nine, stay tuned).

As part of my work with Pantone I spearhead their Pantone View Home + Interior color forecast.   In addition, twice a year, I am part of a team that creates the Pantone View Colour Planner, which is a color forecast that spans many fields, such as fashion, textile and industrial design. Both forecasts  are a result of trends  that are developing on all fronts from media, socio-economics, entertainment, the impact of the environment, travel influences and any other worthy subject or direction for all creative design fields. I then compile this information into imagery with color as the guide. I let color tell the story of the times.

These forecasts are coveted among designers and industry professionals as they plan each season’s new creations. They are filled with color palettes designed with a “mood”, a rationale and an inspirational direction. Whether used out of context or within the theme we set in the palettes, they are great tools and hold key design principles with texture and balance. 

Forecasts are such an integral part of the color consulting world and intrinsic to the knowledge of color in the future. That is why this subject is included in the Color/Design programs that I teach twice yearly.

For more information on the forecast visit Pantone.com and don’t forget to subscribe to the new Pantoneview.com

Could a forecast help you in your work with color? Does this sound like an interesting part of the color world and were you familiar with forecasts? Please take a moment to share.

Black Is The New Black, The Old Black, And A Constant

August 19, 2013 § 7 Comments


August 19, 2013

How many times have you heard that “gray is the new black“, or “brown is the new black” or even “red is the new black”? I can tell you that in my professional career I have heard this said season after season. The truth is black is a constant, staple, mainstay, and essential to every wardrobe.

I just roll my eyes when I hear comments like these because black is part of the color foundation of material society. 

Black is here and never went anywhere and won’t be going any time soon.

However, earlier this week I was going through my archives and found that I, at one time, had indeed written: “Black is Back!” for the first edition of a newsletter that I edited as the newly-appointed executive director of the Pantone Color Institute. But it was at a time (1986) when black had truly had been diminished for a short time, at least, interior and fashion-wise and was coming back in full force. The following is an excerpt that includes comments from some of the designers (fashion and interior) that I spoke with who shared their thoughts about black.

“Black has become the greatest neutral, it brings an accent point into a space. To me, black is a very exciting and lively hue. I believe it is also powerful and authoritative.”-Vicente Wolf of Patino-Wolf Associates.

Donna Karan believes black provides the perfect foundation upon which to assemble a wardrobe or single outfit. Black defines the silhouette and goes with everything. Like a painter’s canvas, it is the essential backdrop on which to build.

Designer Halston comments: “Black is the most classic and eternal-it is all colors. Black cannot be penetrated. It is the ultimate color in high fashion.” He states he could use it all the time. There is no replacement. The most important and interesting piece in his collection is always black. He likes to work while wearing black because it does not compete with other colors. As long as he has been in the industry, black has always been his number one seller.

Photo by Roxanne Lowit – © 2011 - Tribeca Film

Photo by Roxanne Lowit – © 2011 – Tribeca Film

The dichotomy of black is also shown through historical happenings. The Reagans, Princess Di and Prince Charles have helped to make black-tie formality fashionable again. At the opposite end of the social scale, young people, from beatniks to rockers to punks, have adopted black as a symbol of the negation of a society.

 Whether the ultimate in chic, or in the expression of adolescent defiance, black wields a powerful psychological force in the current world of design and color.

These sentiments about black are just as true today as they were more than 25 years ago!!

What role does black play in your wardrobe? Do you use black in your decor?

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