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
2). Color and Human Response by Faber Birren
3). Color Psychology & Color Therapy by Faber Birren
4). Color Graphics; The Power of Color in Graphic Design by Karen Triedman and Cheryl Dangel Cullen
5). Colour/Travels Through the Paintbox by Victoria Finlay
6). A Perfect Red by Amy Butler Greenfield
7). Living With Color by Deryck Healy
8). Designing Across Cultures-How to Create Effective Graphics for Diverse Ethnic Groups by Ronnie Lipton
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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…”
Which of these genres speaks to your visual sensibilities? Do you have any albums that you have just for their cover art?
May 23, 2013 § 3 Comments
May 23, 2013
This is really exciting news. I wonder how long it will be before we see the practical application of this new blue pigment. Some laboratory testing involves outcomes that are not always planned. The following is from a northwestern university very close to my home state of Washington.
“An accidental discovery in a laboratory at Oregon State University has apparently solved a quest that over thousands of years has absorbed the energies of ancient Egyptians, the Han dynasty in China, Mayan cultures and more – the creation of a near-perfect blue pigment.
Through much of recorded human history, people around the world have sought inorganic compounds that could be used to paint things blue, often with limited success. Most had environmental or durability issues. Cobalt blue, developed in France in the early 1800s, can be carcinogenic. Prussian blue can release cyanide. Other blue pigments are not stable when exposed to heat or acidic conditions.
But chemists at OSU have discovered new compounds based on manganese that should address all of those concerns. They are safer to produce, much more durable, and should lead to more environmentally benign blue pigments than any being used now or in the past. They can survive at extraordinarily high temperatures and don’t fade after a week in an acid bath.”
Click the link below for more information.
January 11, 2013 § 2 Comments
January 11, 2013
More than ever, our homes are critically important to our sense of comfort and well-being where we build our own personal nests. The act of decorating our home is the catalyst that sparks our creativity, providing that special environment that helps us and those who live with us thrive.
Which is why it is not so simple to answer the question “What color should I paint my…?”
There are absolutely no quick or easy answers to that question. There isn’t a “magic bullet” answer as there are many factors to take into consideration, including:
My book Colors For Your Every Mood can help to guide you to some moods and color palettes as well as give you some of the color psychology behind those colors. Once you have familiarized yourself with color moods and you still feel you need some help to attain the “feel” you are comfortable with, you may want to hire a professional. At the very least, the book might help you to validate what you feel instinctively.
Before taking that final step and applying paint on the walls, it is important to think about the emotional aspect of color. The colors you choose will create moods and feelings that will have a great impact on you (and your family’s) well-being and comfort level.
You see, for someone to blindly suggest you paint any part of your home without them having a sense of who you are and what you hope to get out of the space, you are potentially asking for trouble. You wouldn’t want to end up with furniture that no longer matches or works in the space. These are costly mistakes that can be avoided.
November 26, 2012 § Leave a Comment
November 26, 2012
Comic Books for Social Change
This is no news: comic books are a well-known powerful media to send social messages. There are many examples of successful experiences that connect them with positive social change all over the world.
Comic book characters have a lot of power because they can do anything and everything and also have the potential to engage a super broad audience in age, background, and reading skills. That, and our love of color, design, the environment, storytelling and teaching is what pushed Veronica and me into this adventure.
She is a graphic designer and illustrator, I am a teacher and a writer and together we founded and manage Musgo Comunicación Visual, a design studio based in Caracas. But we wanted to give something back, so we also teamed up to build Patrulla Verde, an environmental NGO devoted to producing free educational contents via the Web, some in print, as well as public speaking in schools, colleges, community centers, companies and even malls and public spaces.
We pooled together our talent and experience in an effort to send an environmental message conductive to action to children and adolescents in the Spanish-speaking community, which at least in our neck of the woods, lacks resources and local information and direction. Three years later we are trying to reach English speaking kids as well.
Vero created four endearing characters and together we made meaning out of them. Tomas represents all themes related to water, Zoe embodies renewable energy, Lucas defends biodiversity and Beto, the bunny, is the only “non-human”, and he gives voice to the other more than 10,000,000 species with whom we share the planet. His theme is global warming.
Choosing a color palette was a challenge because the characters had to each have their own identity but also, when pooled together into a vignette or drawing, they had to look in harmony, as part of a team.
Beto and Lucas are a twosome, they play together and joke together and that’s why they both wear the same red hat. Nobody else wears red, but for each one of the other two characters there are blues and greens that obviously talk about nature. Tomas’s orange hair and darker skin are in line with him being a laid back, beach-loving kid. And Zoe’s hot pink speaks of fun, bubbly, the color of an empowered girl that, although super feminine, is opinionated and fierce when she knows she is right.
Regarding the backgrounds, the predominant color of a page is always related to the mood and atmosphere of the storyline… which means that the writer, ejem! …that’ll be me, is the true trendsetter here, because it is she who decides if the situation is a comedy or a drama, if it’s day or night, indoors or outdoors, happy or sad. It is actually a lot of fun to set new challenges in each story for Vero!
In this particular issue, Animal Defenders, she chose happy bright colors for happy bright moments and darker ones that vary if it is just night or a scary situation, or a suspenseful, stressful one. When the characters are able to reflect upon their experience light comes again, but in a different way than in the happy beginning. This is a less saturated shade of yellow, paired with light grays because it is later in the day, and deeper into the kids’ thought process.
Learning about psychology of color in Lee’s seminars and workshops has proven to be an extremely powerful tool to better the work we do, and to engage the population we want to reach. Patrulla Verde-in this case Veronica-was even showcased in Green Graphics, a publication by Catalonian publisher Index Books (2011), for our characters, logo and image.
We are extremely thankful to Lee to allow us to share our work with her followers and friends through this amazing window.
Thanks a million, Lee!!
-Veronica Ettedgui & Toti Vollmer
August 29, 2012 § Leave a Comment
August 29, 2012
According to Wikipedia “January is on average, the coldest month of the year within most of the Northern Hemisphere (where it is the second month of winter) and the warmest month of the year within most of the Southern Hemisphere (where it is the second month of summer). In the Southern hemisphere, January is the seasonal equivalent of July in the Northern hemisphere.”
As a resident of the Northern Hemisphere, I like to take respite from the cold (and rain) and head south for four days to hold my semi-annual Color/Design master class. Next year’s class is going to be held January 24-27th in Burbank, California. California is the perfect sunny locale for a mid-winter getaway.
This hands-on class will give you the tools and education to take your career in color to the next level. The class will include the psychology and emotion of color, consumer color preferences, the formation of trends (where do they come from and where are they going), a workshop and time for in-depth Q&A.
Come and join me in sunny California to explore the wonderful world of color. Don’t forget your sunscreen!
August 15, 2012 § 4 Comments
August 15, 2012
Many people aren’t aware of exactly the work I do. Yes, it is true that I wear many hats. One aspect of my job is as an expert color consultant for companies. I am hired to help establish a trend focus in color and mood enlisting color psychology and consumer color preferences, researching lifestyles, demographics, the marketplace and outstanding competitors (if in fact, there are any). We work with a variety of clientele with varying needs and priorities; from firmly established brands to start-up companies. Recently we assisted in a product launch with a young couple on their new product called HICKIES®. As they state on their website:
“HICKIES® is an elastic lacing system that replaces traditional shoelaces and lets you easily slip in and out of your shoes while keeping them snug and secure. Never tie or untie your shoes again! Get rid of the bows and customize your footwear.”
I was thrilled when I recently received an update from them with a link to their Kickstarter page. It was great to see their vision come to fruition on such a compelling platform. I am even happier to say that their product was considered a Kickstarter success. It is easy to see why.
We had a lot of fun compiling imagery and a color scheme and the rationale for the HICKIES®. As a consultant you give a direction that you feel best represents the various aspects of the clients’ needs, but it is always up the them to decide what the final product will be.
I hope to see these featured in street style blogs one day. What do you think? Will you pick up a pack of HICKIES®?
Please take a moment to watch their video.
July 11, 2012 § 1 Comment
July 11, 2012
In light of the fact that I am a day away from my bi-annual Color/Design class, this one held in our own colorful haven of gorgeous gardens on Bainbridge Island, WA, I received a timely email from one of last summer’s graduates. Jim Dempsey is a floral designer who has made a name for himself in the floral industry. Jim has been spending the last five years studying handcrafts like weaving and paper folding, to name a few, and their connection to floristry. This has proven to be an area of interest to American Institute of Floral Designers (AFID) who has chosen his concept as their topic for their National Symposium next July 2013.
Modern floristry will surely be influenced by Jim’s passion in growing the industry as well as his love for color.
Take a look at some of Jim’s other recent works.
These are some images from this past January’s Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena. The float was made by/at Fiesta Parade Floats where Jim has worked as a designer during the past five Rose Parade events. All of these pictures were taken at Fiesta’s facility in Irwindale, CA the day before the parade.
A closer view of the purple Cattleya as used in the Dole Foods float.
Congratulations, Jim on your amazing achievements! I am always thrilled to hear about the wonderful things that my former students go on to do.