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?

Color Coded Cartoons

August 9, 2013 § 2 Comments


August 9, 2013

The color wheel is the basis of all color combinations. This circular arrangement of the spectrum visually illustrates the basic principles of color. That is part of what makes this cartoon color infographic from Slate Online Magazine (click the link at the bottom), so wonderful.

 Color Wheel-Fixed

As most people are familiar with the color wheel it makes perfect sense to color code cartoon characters, especially if you are looking to create a space for your child or inner child, the color wheel is a great place to start.

As a parent, a visual like this could make quick work of (re)decorating your child’s personal space. Even if your child’s favorite character hasn’t made the cut on this graphic you can still draw inspiration from this cartoon color wheel or any color wheel.

It is really important for children to have input into the color schemes of their rooms. It’s a wonderful exercise in creativity and a real confidence booster in their ability to do this. In addition, it really helps to set the stage for their participation in color and design projects when they get older.

It has been said that the greatest of all inventions is the wheel. I would say that the color wheel is next. For most people, much of color “knowledge” is based on instinctive responses, cultural conditioning, and those aspects of color that we seem to absorb without much conscious thought. yet there is a great deal we can learn about color that is based on certain artistic and harmonious concepts.

Blue Smurfs and green Ninja Turtles: The cartoon-character color wheel. – Slate Magazine.

Travel Posters Colorful Palettes For Inspiration

July 31, 2013 § 2 Comments


July 31, 2013

I was perusing the Huffington Post when I spotted the story (link at the bottom) on vintage travel posters and was reminded of some of the wonderful posters that we came across when we were doing research for my latest book Pantone The 20th Century in Color

There is something magically transportive in seeing these fantastic illustrations of life in far away places. The colors, mood, and feeling all come together to entice the eager traveller to get away. The following is an excerpt from the book that can be found in a section addressing the colorful 1920s called “Destinations.”

Image via

Image via

Though post-WWI nationalism made international travel a little more complicated, improvements in train and ship lines gave it a stylish sense of luxury and adventure. The forward march of technology also made speed part of the thrill. 

Graphic designers did their part to build desire for cities like Paris and London with elegant posters that glamorized both destinations and their inhabitants-who all seemed to wear the latest fashions. Resorts like Nice and Vichy also benefitted from such marketing: resort towns that relatively few had heard of became worldwide household names. 

Image via

Image via

The color language found in travel posters of the day frequently employed the coppery tones of suntans and the warm neutrals of sand and sunlight. Silvery greens gave elegant life to oceans and rivers, and olives and browns to the landscape.

Vintage Travel Posters Show Tourism’s Hayday.

Music For The Ears And The Eyes

July 24, 2013 § 2 Comments


July 24, 2013

Prior to the 1940s and Alex Steinweiss, a graphic designer and art director known for inventing album cover art, records were sold in plain brown wrappers.

boogiewoogieASart

Image via

Image via

Image via

In the 60s, album covers and concert posters frequently emulated the LSD experience with frenetic collages, undulating type, and hallucinogenic color.

But even before that, somewhere in between the bold graphic Steinweiss style or the trippy visuals of Wes Wilson or Peter Max, there was something else brewing in the minds of the average American musician who was looking to put out an album.

The August issue of Print, a bimonthly magazine about visual culture and design, highlights the unsung heros of these albums.

theshaggs

Image via

  

The book Enjoy The Experience: Homemade Records 1958-1992 by Sinecure Books is a compilation of the best (worst ?) in album art. Editor Johan Kugelberg says this about the book “Enjoy the Experience explores a slice of American culture with tales from well-known musicians to more obscure artists, such as pizza parlor organists. Some of these record covers are really laugh-out-loud funny, and some of the music and people are too…”

homemaderecords

Image via

Which of these genres speaks to your visual sensibilities? Do you have any albums that you have just for their cover art?

Sinecure | Sinecure Books | Enjoy The Experience.

A Prescription For Green

July 16, 2013 § 1 Comment


July 15, 2013

 

For most people a green path leads inevitably to thoughts of nature. Mother nature painted more green on earth than any other color. It is the hue of foliage, grass, and growing plants; of graceful sheltering trees, dappled meadow and clinging vines; the shade of forest and jungle. It is the color of the country as opposed to the city; the romance of Robin Hood, wood urchins, elves, gnomes, and leprechauns; the pride of the Irish patriot and St. Patrick’s Day.

The sight of green is inexorably linked to the sense of smell-freshly mown lawn, pine needles, and wet leaves after a sudden summer shower, a splash of lime and a crushed sprig of mint. Because our sense are intertwined, scents and colors are inevitably tied, one sense suggesting a specific color to another. We can look at a bottle of perfume and sense how it will smell before we sniff it. We can’t help but associate a green fragrance with freshness and nature.

MistyGreenMeadow

Most everyone knows how our endorphins kick in when we do something physical, like taking a walk in the woods filled with greenery. And there is much evidence to support the effect of green around us, including studies that tell us that being surrounded by green encourages us to breathe slowly and deeply, slowing the production of stress hormones. We certainly all need that in today’s fast-paced world.

 

The Japanese have been using a technique called “Shinrinyoku” or “forest bathing.” It’s not about taking a bath in the forest in the usual sense, but more about encouraging healthy lifestyles and reducing stress. Experts in that country also believe that forest bathing can improve the immune system. So it’s not just about eating your greens, but surrounding yourself with green—a worthy prescription for well-being.

 

Forest bathing.

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