2012 Archives

January 5, 2012

My Interview In The New York Times

Bare with me as I toot my own horn. It is always a wonderful treat to be interviewed for the New York Times. I am especially pleased with this one article and thought that it would be nice to share. I really enjoyed speaking with Penelope Green, I love her last name and she doesn’t miss a beat.

Here is an excerpt from the Q & A and a link to the full article.

The color of the year is a bit of an assist to the fashion, cosmetics and home furnishings industries, and product and graphic design, all of which can use it as an organizing principle and marketing tool.

Will orange become ubiquitous? Probably not, Ms. Eiseman said. “What we’re trying to do is get the feeling of the zeitgeist, to use an overused word,” she said, speaking by phone from her home on Bainbridge Island in Washington. “What are people talking about they feel they need, that color can help to answer? For us, the color of the year is not necessarily the hot fashion color, but an expression of a mood, an attitude, on the part of the consumers.”

Q&A — Leatrice Eiseman of the Pantone Color Institute – NYTimes.com.

January 12, 2012

Such A Tart!

Just as there are trends in fashion, technology and color there are also food trends. Whether it be in spices or the development of a new hybrid fruit or vegetable the epicurean world is growing and changing too. I am always intrigued with food trends and studies as I am a conscious consumer and take health and well being very seriously. I have written on the subject of color and food in my book: The Color Answer Book where I answer the question “can the color of fruit and vegetables be an indicator of their healing powers”?

Ongoing research indicates that eating a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables can be extremely beneficial to our optimum health and healing. The color itself is an indicator of its curative powers. For example, eating red and purple fruits has been shown to help prevent heart disease and cancer.

Take a look at what http://www.choosecherries.com/ has to say about cherries.

“Cherries are not only good for you, but they’re also on trend as a homegrown “Super Fruit.” According to recent data, more than 9 out of 10 Americans want to know where their food comes from, nearly 80 percent say they’re purchasing “locally produced” products, and the majority is defining “local” as grown in America. And cherries deliver.

A growing body of science reveals tart cherries, enjoyed as either dried, frozen cherries or cherry juice, have among the highest levels of disease-fighting antioxidants, when compared to other fruits. They also contain other important nutrients such as beta carotene (19 times more than blueberries or strawberries) vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, iron, fiber and folate.

Emerging evidence links cherries to many important health benefits – from helping to ease the pain of arthritis and gout, to reducing risk factors for heart disease, diabetes and certain cancers.”

So as your momma always told you to “eat your veggies”, let’s include the cherries, too.

Trends: Flavor Trends for 2012.

January 19, 2012

Milky Way White Like Snow Falling On Cedars In The Late Day

In my book Color: Messages and Meanings, I discuss color families and the messages they are sending. In color studies white is described as pure and pristine. As in the utter quiet of falling show, white expresses silence and the almost total lack of sound. It is a conciliatory color which is why the following study of the Milky Way is so fascinating.

In the article from BBCnews.com, Jeffrey Newman of the University of Pittsburgh elaborates on the importance of color to astronomers.

Astronomers have discovered that it is called the Milky Way for a reason. The actual color is white. Specifically a white “like spring snow at an hour after sunrise or before sunset.”

Jeffrey Newman states that; “For astronomers, one of the most important parameters is actually the colour of the galaxy.”

It isn’t just important to astronomers, it is important to color lovers too!

Click the link at the bottom for more.

BBC News – Astronomers weigh in on Milky Way’s true colours.

January 27, 2012

The Art Of Dance, Light, And Tangerine Tango.

These designers were so inspired by Tangerine Tango that they decided to create a lamp around the color– then decided to produce a video inspired by the name of the color and the art of the dance.

LightArt by 3form came to life when Ryan Grey Smith and Ahna Holder were commissioned to design an 11 foot chandelier. Ryan knew the sheer scale of the piece demanded an innovative approach.

Armed with a pile of sketches and standard home improvement tools, Ryan set about to create a whole new design concept. Ryan set the oven to preheat, donned a pair of oven mitts, and turned his kitchen into an artistic laboratory. The chandelier quickly came to life as Ryan heat formed pieces of translucent Varia Ecoresin to make them malleable.

The concept that drove LightArt into existence is one of endless creative solutions. This spirit of innovation and passion for excellence drives everything that happens at LightArt. For artisans and designers alike, the excitement lies in pushing the envelope on every custom piece – using a bold array of colors and endless shape possibilities.

“With discerning expertise in architecture, sculpture, color and lighting, we specialize in understanding the vision for a space and use the art of light to accentuate the desired aesthetic.” – Ryan Smith, Co-founder.

As a full service studio, LightArt strives to achieve the most appropriate solution to meet the needs of any lighting challenge.

“From concept to completion, each LightArt piece is manufactured by hand in our Seattle studio. Our team of local artisans work directly with designers to create the most appropriate and compelling solutions for a space.”

February 7, 2011

Wreaking Beautiful Havok

One of my former Color/Design students, Amy Anderson, shared this photograph taken by her neighbor. Amy heads Fleurish Partners and writes a lovely blog called What Feeds My Soul. Her neighbor, Laura Gardner, is an architect at GM Studio INC, and they both share a love of color.

“Winter shows off all the different berries so dramatically against the white snow!”

Thanks for sharing the lovely picture!

February 13, 2012

Happy Valentine’s Day!

One of my colleagues and former students, Debora House, is a gifted colorist and a remarkable artist, who lives in Sweden. Every year she send us her unconventional and creative Valentines. I want to share this year’s creation with you.

HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!

February 16, 2012

I’m Tickled Orange!

I was in New York during Fashion week and was interviewed by Rueter’s News Service that is distributed internationally.

http://www.reuters.com/resources_v2/flash/video_embed.swf?videoId=230303298&edition=BETAUS
Let’s hear it once again for Tangerine Tango!!

Do you like this video? If you do Like this post!

Thanks for stopping by!

February 23, 2012

Orange Blossoms And False Eyelashes

I found this article and thought that with all of the great buzz surrounding Tangerine Tango that it would be fun to look back at when it all started. I excerpted a paragraph from the article for your viewing pleasure and included a link to the full article at the bottom.

“Sephora is about to bring out a limited-edition spring cosmetics line with orange eye makeup—including orange false eyelashes made from feathers. The renaissance of orange extends to many facets of design: The Canyons Resort in Park City, Utah, recently installed a luxury ski lift called the Bubble Express—with heated chairs in eye-popping orange.

This renaissance for orange has been a long time coming. The color was popular in the 1920s, and again in the 1960s, with a lesser renaissance in the ’80s.”

Are you hearing the buzz about the Pantone x Sephora collaboration? Will you be rushing out to pick up some of these limited-edition goodies?

Orange Blossoms Especially for 2012 – WSJ.com.

March 1, 2012

What Colors Will Make Me Look Sexy?

I wrote in a previous post about a woman’s response to men in red shirts titled Why He’s So Hot where I noted that “Red is a very expressive colour, ” adding that it represents passion, love and sex. Plus, wearing this sensual hue can add a subtle flush to skin tone.”

Today, in the Huffington Post there is an article about women in red titled Red Dress Effect where they share a study out of the University of Rochester in New York state that says “Red dresses muddle men’s minds….” Color studies always fascinate me and this one got me thinking about a question I was asked many years ago, “What colors will make me look sexy?”

Below is my response from The Color Answer Book.

What one person finds appealing, another may not. However, the color that shows up most frequently on color word association tests as the sexiest shade is a vibrant Lipstick Red. It’s a sexual signal that many animals and birds use to attract the opposite sex and, interestingly, humans do as well. They flush and blush, turning red with embarrassment or sexual energy. They use cosmetic enhancements like reddish lips, nails (fingers and toes), and cheeks.

It is the color that most represents sensuality in many cultures as it is often used symbolically to broadcast availability or preparation for marriage and mating rites. The use of red as a sexual signal by primitive tribes for body painting and dyes ultimately translated to a more sophisticated use of sensuous red in modern day makeup and clothing.

Do you wear red to entice the opposite sex? Does wearing red make you feel empowered?

For more on the psychology of color you might be interested in Color: Messages and Meanings.

Red Dress Effect: Women In Red Deemed Open To Sexual Advances, Study Of Men Shows.

March 7, 2012

Happy 140th Birthday, Mondrian!

“Art is not made for anybody and is, at the same time, for everybody.”-Piet Mondrian

Back in 2010 I wrote a blog about Mondrian. At that time there seemed to be a resurgence of products that were inspired by his wonderfully expressive art. Today is the 140th birthday of Piet Mondrian and one that I think is worth celebrating.

Here is an excerpt of what I feel to be the reason behind our attraction to Mondrian.

We are drawn to the simplicity of the primary palette because it taps into our inner child. The basic shapes and colors together are pleasing without being overly complex.

Happy 140th Birthday, Piet Mondrian!.

March 14, 2012

Eating A Fruit And Vegetable Rainbow Makes For A Rosy Glow

One question I get asked a lot is “Can the color of fruit and vegetables be an indicator of their healing powers?”

I have answered this and many more color questions in my Color Answer Book. Below is my response to this question and an excerpt from a study that has supporting evidence that further validates the research.

Ongoing research indicates that eating a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables can be extremely beneficial to our optimum health and healing. The color itself is an indicator of its curative powers. For example, eating red and purple fruits has been shown to help prevent heart disease and cancer. There are also non-irritating anti-inflammatory antioxidants in fruits such as cherries, raspberries, strawberries, cranberries, blueberries, blackberries, plums, and grapes. These delicious sources of well-being contain natural dyes called anthocyanins.

new study that came out last week further supports these facts and raises them by stating that “The key to a rosy, healthy-looking complexion may be as simple as eating more fruits and vegetables, researchers say. Within a six-week period, fluctuation in fruit and vegetable consumption was associated with skin-color changes,” said lead researcher Ross Whitehead, from the School of Psychology at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland.

Now you know why your mother insisted you eat your fruits and vegetables!

March 30, 2012

What Is Pink And White And Smells Amazing?

In the last six months, I have had four “border crossings” to speak at events in Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary and Toronto. In keeping with the Canadian theme I wanted to share another wonder from the north.

Every year out friends in Vancouver British Columbia celebrate the Spring season with Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival. Blossoms are expected to be at their peak for this years festival launch.

As our friend and executive director of festival, Linda Poole, tells us…”The sixth annual Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival (VCBF) is planning quite the party to bring much joy to the city April 5-28. Exuberant festivities at Cherry Jam Downtown inside Burrard SkyTrain Station on April 5 from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. will launch a city-wide, month-long celebration to welcome Spring to the city.”

If you are going to be traveling to Canada or are already in the area stop by and enjoy all the amazing pink and white cherry blossoms. I can almost smell them from here.

April 6, 2012

How Can you Take Advantage Of Mother Nature? Use Sunlight!

Color’s message may be subliminal, but it’s always there to create an effect and to color your decisions, your moods, and your world. This notion was recently explored by one of my former students, Lara Serbin. She is an architect and full service color consultant living in Arizona. Her love of color has been expressed in many different creative fields including fashion, interior design, personal color consultations and architecture. As Lara has taken both my online training program in personal image color consulting (the Color Clock™ theory) and the “in-person” Color Design program, she is truly a “full service” color consultant.

Lara is currently working on a project for The Center for the Arts. In coming up with a color story for the center, Lara and the director, Joseph Benesh have created a harmonious color palette that includes two colors, Pantone Sunlight 13-0822 and Pantone Beaujolais 18-2027 from the Crossover palette that I explain in my book More Alive With Color. Crossover Colors are nature’s most versatile colors and are those that occur most frequently in nature. Your eye is accustomed to seeing them in combination with many other colors. Which is why pairing the Sunlight with Beaujolais was a smart move.

Lara has this to say about why she picked Sunlight: “Sunlight is a yellow that is the perfect background for any color.  Sunlight is also a complementary color to purple. Sunlight wakes this whole color board up with happiness!”

Click here for the full article….

I couldn’t agree more, Lara. Living here in the Pacific Northwest we know the importance of a little Sunlight. Still, we have ideal lighting for color matching, so there is always Column A against Column B!

Thank you for letting us share your story.

April 12, 2012

Taiwan Colored Glasses and Bikes

We recently returned from Taiwan where I did a color training program for Giant Bikes. They were marvelous hosts and their design teams outstanding in the presentations they did in their workshops. The design director is Edward Chiang and when I had first met him I told him that I thought he had a very famous family name, as in the name of Chiang Kai-Shek, Taiwan’s venerated former political leader. Edward informed me that this was his great-grandfather and that his great grandmother was the famous Madame Chiang Kai-shek.

Many of you will know the Giant brand. They build sturdy and handsome bikes that are sold internationally, so they were most interested in international trends and the psychology of lifestyle in making color decisions. Another specific interest involved their Liv line for women and it too is a quality product.

Liv/giant Avail Inspire – News | Giant Bicycles | United States.

They are very thoughtful and conscientious about their color choices and it was a real delight to work with them. While in Taichung, we also got to see James Soames of Subkarma, co-owner of a fabulous branding company we have worked with in the past. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to connect with his alter-ego and partner, brother Tony Soames, but I had just seen them at the International Housewares Show in Chicago where I do a keynote every year and had asked them to join me on the podium the next day to discuss cultural differences (or similarities) between Asian markets and U.S.

 http://www.subkarma.com/lan_en/index.php

As always, we were gifted with some wonderful goodies (that is such a lovely Asian tradition) including a beautiful glass piece from an amazing glass artist name Loretta H. Yang.

Click the image for a link to her spectacular work that truly glows with color.

April 19, 2012

Dear Color Lover,

My next 4-Day Color/Design class will be held from July 12 through July 15, 2012 in Washington State. I hope you will join us for this exciting training program that will enable you to expand your career (as well as your thinking) into more lucrative and creative color consulting areas.

We are located on Bainbridge Island, a half-hour ferry ride across Puget Sound from Seattle, WA. For now you will need to know that you fly into SEA-TAC International Airport, take a cab or shuttle into Seattle and then take a gorgeous ferry boat ride across the Sound.

A much more detailed information letter will be sent to those of you who register for the class, but if you have any questions or need additional information in order to decide if you would like to attend, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

I look forward to hearing from you!

leiseman@nwlink.com

206-842-4456 (Ph)

206-842-6498 (Fax)

May 2, 2012

Something Old. Something New. Something Borrowed That’s Not True About Blue

I hope my readers will forgive my taking a moment to vent. I love that there is more information available on the web concerning color psychology, when it is properly vetted and accurate. But I really dislike the propagation of information that is based on old information and urban legends. For example, the following article appeared on a graphic design website . It is attractively done and I am certain that these people mean well, are interested in educating others and are trying to show the importance of color, so please read the following copy and look for my comments at the end.

{BLUE} The color of peace and tranquility. It’s been stated that people are more productive in blue rooms. Although, be careful. It can cause feelings of sadness…we don’t want to cause people to have “A case of the Monday’s”. While blue can calm people, it can also decrease your appetite. People typically stay away from blue foods (aside from blueberries and plums)…blue is usually an indication that something has spoiled or is poisonous. If you want to eat less, eat off of a blue plate.

{FUN BLUE FACT}: In Columbia, Blue is associated with soap. Yep, soap. Can’t get more random than that!

Leatrice Eiseman says:

Love that you are promoting the use of color and helping to educate people about it, but sorry–there are no definitive studies about blue suppressing appetite. As matter of fact, blue china and dinnerware is a big seller all over the world, cobalt blue glasses and glass plates are very popular (think Williams Sonoma and Mexican glassware) so you would think there would lots of thin people as a result, whereas people are getting fatter, especially in U.S. That is an urban legend, especially when blue berry flavors are mixed in smoothies, drinks and with yogurts. There are blue potatoes now, blue corn chips, blue m&ms, blue sweet enticements on cakes and pastries. My advice is not to pick up on the old urban legends without checking more recent and credible info. I have written seven books on color, have three websites and a blog and am always looking at more current info to update the old legends that simply are no longer true.

One more point; as I point out in my books, not all blues speak of serenity. There are electric blues,that, just as the name implies, speak of excitement and high energy.

May 8, 2012

Pop Goes The Tangerine Tango Shop

One of our colleagues and former students, Denise Lampron, is an image consultant, stylist and a color design consultant in Los Angeles. She attended a Pantone/Sephora Tangerine Tango event in the “Pop-up” Shop at the Grove in LA– a fun place to shop for all kinds of goodies. This is the report she sent us….

“The event was attended by the press, stylists and ‘corporate’ from 3-6 pm, and from 6-9 pm by the public. The Pop-up Shop was ideally located in the ‘park area’ of The Grove. It was a warm, sunny day and an ideal backdrop for the happy, bright introduction of Tangerine Tango.”

“The Sephora personnel were knowledgeable, friendly and appeared to be genuinely excited about being at the event. The Pop-up Shop was impeccable. The displays were very high end looking, eye catching, creative and, of course, bright and bold. The Sephora make up artist I spoke with referred to the psychology of TT (she paid attention in your lecture!)”

“The catering company did a lovely job of re-creating the TT theme in the food.”

It was a festive opening with lots of interest.

Thank you, Denise, for sharing.  Especially loved the picture of you (in orange) taking a picture of you taking a picture!!

May 17, 2012

We Are More Alive With Color In Taiwan

As you may have read that I was recently in Taiwan doing a project for Giant Bikes. What you may not have read is that while in Taiwan I got to spend some time with a lovely group of women who are Taiwanese More Alive With Color consultants.

This lovely partnership came about from a relationship that I developed with one of the translators named Melody Hong. Melody and I became fast friends with the common love of color, of course.

We enjoyed a fabulous and visually stunning dinner.

Following the meal was a ceremony where I presented the new graduates with their certificates of completion. This is a wonderful accomplishment for them.

I couldn’t be more thrilled to have such a handsome group of ladies to promote the love of color for Taiwan. Keep your eye out for their pictures on the consultants page. We are adding new faces regularly and growing our More Alive With Color territory.

Is there a More Alive With Color consultant in your area?

Stay tuned for more imagery.

June 1, 2012

Technically Speaking

Contrary to what most people think, color is not actually the inherent property of an object. A leaf of spinach is not actually green, nor is a strawberry red. Instead, its color is dependent upon the absorption and reflection of light waves. As a result, color is the property of light that depends of wavelength.

When the light waves reach an object, some of the light is absorbed and some is reflected. Only the reflected light is seen by the eye. A spinach leaf appears green because it reflects only the waves producing the green light. The same holds true for the red strawberry or any other colored object.

They eye and the associated nerves register the reflected color on the retina, a light-sensitive membrane in the back of the eye containing rods and cones. The rods and cones define the color and the shape of the object by transforming the radiant energy into chemical energy, sending impulses to the optic nerve. The optic nerve registers the message and sends it to the control center-the brain. After this entire and rather complicated process, we become aware of the color of any given object.

That explains the physical phenomenon. However, color perception goes beyond the physical effects and ultimately includes the emotional impact upon the viewer. The psychological significance that is based on the viewer’s previous experiences, color associations, cultural conditioning, societal influences, frame of mind, and personality all play into the final interpretation. It is truly a fascinating pathway to the ultimate perception of color.


Here is a link to the full article about color perceptions and how it is effected by language.

How language affects color perception – Boing Boing.

For more color answers read my book The Color Answer Book.

June 5, 2012

Color Touches Everyone

By now you may have read that Queen Elizabeth has been color coded. Pantone and Leo Burnett came up with a special edition color wheel for her Diamond Jubilee. The Queen has spanned many color trends during her reign and is a wonderful subject of color.

I was quoted throughout the guide regarding one of my quotes on using a singular color family.

“The Diamond Jubilee Color Guide is a celebration of that reign through color and its meaning. The Queen’s decision to favor one color in every outfit is a strong style statement. Monochromatic color schemes make the wearer appear taller, delivering a more stately air—perfect given that Queen Elizabeth is not tall at 5-foot-4. Choosing one color theme also ensures the outfit does not detract attention from the wearer—which is particularly important if you’re the Queen.”

Today, you don’t have to be a Queen to have your own color code. Get your own personal fanguide to color YOUR life’s jubilee. Purchase the More Alive With Color book and fanguide for a special Jubilee combination price of just $39.95 and unlock your own personal Colortime.

By reading More Alive With Color you will learn how to use color to make you feel more secure and successful. Avoid expensive mistakes with color. Use color with confidence to bring out your creativity. Understand what goes with what and why. Discover what color says about you. You will also learn about monochromatic color schemes to help you channel your inner British monarch.

This special offer won’t last as long as the Queen’s reign so don’t wait!

For more information about the book and fanguide click here.

This is a special deal for all the followers of this blog, Twitter, and Facebook. Click the More Alive With Color fanguides within this post to take advantage of the Queen’s Jubilee sale.

Empower yourself with color.

June 18, 2012

The Comics To Cartoon Clothing

Cartoons come to life in this effervescent palette, The Comics. Funny paper hues pop off the page in whimsical ways that bring a smile and create the need to take some time to play. Ominous Phantom Black provides the backdrop for sulphuric yellow and fiery red. A flash of green provokes a strong blue while an inky cyan plays up to honeysuckle and primrose. It’s quirky joy and spontaneity.

Colorwatch panel from the Housewares Show

“Forever 21 will roll out a small assortment of’Simpsons’ T-shirts for men and women, while Fox’s long-term global partner H&M is currently selling new ‘Simpsons’-themed boys’ wear. The Swedish retailer will also make ‘Ice Age’ Ts to coincide with the summer sequel ‘Ice Age: Continental Drift,’ as will midtier retailer C&A.”

It is always fun to watch a forecast become part of the mainstream in home and now in fashion. Jeremy Scott is the perfect match for this whimsical palette.

Are you seeing The Comic influence?

Cartoon Clothing, Thanks to Twentieth Century Fox | The Fix | Daily Front Row.

Fashion Brands Tie Up With Twentieth Century Fox – Fashion Scoops – Fashion – WWD.com.

June 26, 2012

Land Art Lost And Found

As you may or may not know I co-authored the new book, Pantone The 20th Century in Color, which came out this past fall. The book is a highlight of notable events by decade and relevance that helped to shape the color perspective from art to industrial, interior and fashion design and everything in between.

One of my favorite chapters in the book is from the 70s titled Land Art. We chose to include Land Art because of its historical significance as well as its colorful contribution to our lives. We mention artists like Robert Smithson who “explored ideas of terrestrial beauty and fragility” with his Spiral Jetty and James Turrell’s Roden Crater Project where through tunnels and rooms he tries to “transform the land into a meditation on light and mass”.

Image Credit: Ray Boren

Who wouldn’t want to meditate in a crater?

Here is an excerpt from that chapter.

“The budding environmental movement underscored the idea of Earth’s fragility: far from being an endless source of raw materials and a bottomless receptacle for waste, the planet came to be seen as a living, breathing entity in its own right. Earth was now something to cherish-not merely to profit from.”

Today we are seeing a revival in this movement with the new exhibit at Museum Of Contemporary Art (MoCA) in Los Angeles. It appears that there is a new generation of artists that wants to celebrate Earth as the star of their art.

Have you seen the Spiral Jetty in person? Have you meditated under the stars in a crater?

‘Ends Of The Earth’ Brings Land Art To MoCA (PHOTOS).

July 2, 2012

Surrealists Shocking Flacon

We are inclined to not think of women in the 1930’s as product designers yet there were some, though few. Among them was the multi-talented Leonor Fini, the designer of the flacon for Elsa Schiaparelli’s Shocking perfume. Fini was born in Argentina, raised in Italy, and moved ultimately to Paris where she too was closely associated with avant-garde creatives Dali, Picasso, Henri Cartier-Bresson, and Max Ernst. Her prolific body of work includes illustrations and paintings, as well as costumes and décor for theatre, ballet, opera and film.

Musée international de la Parfumerie, Grasse
D644_010
14/04/2012 : Grasse, boulevard du Jeu-de-Ballon, Musée international de la Parfumerie : “Shocking”, Schiaparelli (Leonor Fini, 1936)

Click the image for more on Leonor Fini.

You might say that Leonor Fini was the Lady Gaga of her time.

The following is a quote from a biography on Fini that sheds some insight on the daring woman.

“Her eccentric persona and flamboyant dress was rivalled only by Dali. This was not posturing showmanship but a form of integral surrealist expression that uses the entire body as theatre to protest against conventional society.”

Celebrate women who push the boundaries and challenge the norm!

What women do you think push the boundaries and challenge societal conventions today?

July 11, 2012

Color/Design Student’s Artistic Creations

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.

Vase “collar” that has some sort of natural embellishment and some red or black detailing.

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.

Laelia crosses, very highly scented! 

Congratulations, Jim on your amazing achievements! I am always thrilled to hear about the wonderful things that my former students go on to do.

July 19, 2012

Bling It On! Shoe Me?

It was one week ago today that I was minutes away from starting my Color/Design class. The time went by so quickly as time really does fly when you are having fun! As always the class was filled with talented people from various markets and design areas, who all love color. I enjoy learning about all of the different fields and hearing the stories of what color means to the students.

One of the students this summer was from a well known paint company in Seattle called Shearer Painting. John Shearer himself attended the class and was a wealth of information on all things paint and social media. I learned quite a bit in talking with John, including that his wife is a fellow blogger with a passion for bling.

Hong Shearer shares her crafted creations on her blog sassyme.org. One of her most recent creations was for a friend of John’s, who wanted to give his daughter her own pair of Wizard of Oz ruby red slippers. Hong hand painted the slippers in a True Red then applied (by hand!) nearly 3000 Swarovski Hyacinth crystals in four different sizes. What a labor of love!

I am amazed at the outcome and they are stunning! Every girl needs a little bling now and then.

Thank you John and Hong for sharing this site and your knowledge with me. I look forward to reading more about your adventures in color (and crystals).

July 25, 2012

Neanderthal Sees Red: A Love Story Of Sorts

From the beginning of time red has been deeply ingrained in the human mind as a signal to act or re-act, to fight or flee. It is the color of life-sustaining blood or life-threatening bloodshed as well as the color of enticing, appetite arousing ripened fruits and delicious foods that sustain humans’ very existence.

“In a report published online in the journal Science, Dr. Pike (Alistair W. G. Pike of the University of Bristol in England) and his colleagues noted that the oldest dated art is ‘nonfigurative and monochrome (red)’, supporting the notion that the earliest expression of art in Western Europe was less concerned with animal depiction and characterized by red dots, disks, line and hand stencils.”

Pedro Saura/Agence France-Presse – Getty Images

The most physical color in the spectrum, red suggests the very ebb and flow of life.

This post was brought to you today by the color red from my book Color: Messages & Meanings, the New York Times and the number 37,000.

With Science, New Portrait of the Cave Artist – NYTimes.com.

August 2, 2012

Design Principles: Color

Are you into trends?

In my book Color: Messages and Meanings I highlight variations in color families and bring broader insights to the meanings and consumer responses to color(s). Some of the insights I share are about trends and I give you guidelines on how to spot them.

Do you have an eye for spotting trends?

Here is an excerpt from the book.

“Spotting future trends is much like detective work. It’s not the one big ‘AHA’ that hits you but rather a string of clues that leads to the ultimate realization. It’s very important to view the big picture first-the macro level that precedes the micro.

Fashion is most often the forerunner to color trends, but one season of a “hot” color doesn’t do it. One or two seasons of a hot color is still a fad. But tracking a ‘new’ color for several seasons will tell you if it translates from fad to trend. Read the magazines or visit the websites that talk about trends. If a trend is growing, you will see it in more than one resource.”

That brings us to the May issue of Graphic Design USA (GDUSA). Graphic designers are “tuning in” to the trends. Some trends may start in fashion but as more people embrace these trends we will continue to see them in areas such as website design, interior design, typography, and graphic design as an important design principle.

What role does the color forecast play in your life? Does it inspire you to repaint your home? Do you invest in a key wardrobe piece for a season (or two)?

Pantone Fashion Color Report – May 2012 Annual Color Forecast.

August 9, 2012

Olympics Past And Present

The 2012 London Olympics are well underway and by now close to wrapping up. Have you been watching? I was just in awe of the opening ceremonies. We had a nice recap in the office the following Monday. Danny Boyle did a superb job and truly captured the spirit of England. There is something magical about the Olympics.

Do you remember when the Olympics were held in Los Angeles? It was 1984 and seems like a lifetime ago. In many ways the 80s are having their renaissance. I think that decade can now be referred to as “vintage”. Today, we are seeing some of the styles and influences that flavored that era from the floral prints to the re-emergence of neon.

It seemed fitting to pay homage to the 80s as a decade of decadence in my new book, Pantone The 20th Century in Color. I have included a chapter in the 1980s called Signs and Symbols where we spotlight three prominent color influences from print, art, and graphic design fields. Below is an excerpt where we shed light on what an impact color has on the global stage known as the Olympics.

“Signage for the Olympics was created by Deborah Sussman, an environmental graphic designer. Her flexible modular system delivered the Games’ logo package, venue identification, directional and service information (and more) with a colorful, insouciant postmodern vocabulary. She said of her color choices: ‘The palette consists of unexpected, stimulating juxtapositions that instantly separate the Olympic pageantry from the everyday environment, the drabness of permanent institutions, industries, streets-hot magenta, vermillion, and chrome yellow, set off by aqua.”

The colors of today’s Olympic Games are quite different from two decades ago.

What was your favorite part of the Olympics, the sports, the competition or the outfits?

Click the link below for more.

1984 | GINORMUS.

August 15, 2012

HICKIES® For Everyone!

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.

http://www.hickies.com/

August 22, 2012

Africa By Way Of Dubai

I arrived safe and sound in South Africa after spending an overnight layover in Dubai where it was 106 when I landed and 111 the next morning!

It was a mass of humanity in Dubai, with everyone celebrating the end of the Muslim holiday of Ramadan. It seemed that every person in Dubai was out that night. I was told to go to the Dubai mall to see the dancing waters and because it has the best air conditioning. I also saw the tallest building in the world (Burj Khalifa) that is located in Dubai. Personally, I think the waters at the Bellagio in Las Vegas are more spectacular, but the Burj Khalifa building was astounding.

Please note that these are not my pictures. My pictures did not do these beauties justice.

Next time I will have to bring Herb as he is the resident photographer.

Image via

They are very big on shopping there. At the Dubai Mall, they have all of the big designer names in a specific wing, but just like everywhere else, the western-ized shops and restaurants are a big deal. A Pottery Barn and Sephora were the first things I noticed, and directly across from the Burj Khalifa building is a California Pizza Kitchen, P.F Changs, and a place selling bagels!! That was unexpected, to be sure.

In traditional restaurants, the food was excellent – very middle-eastern in feeling with lots of different kinds of hummus, tabouleh and stuffed grape leaves and many veggie options – my kind of thing.

Once I landed in Durban I had drinks with my friend, Anne Roselt, Design Director for Plascon Paints and a former student of my Burbank Color/Design class. You can see more of her fabulous color trends on my Facebook page or you can check them out HERE.

I had a room with a small balcony that faced the ocean – amazing. I took a quick walk along the beach in the morning to get ready for the day. We then went to rehearsal and did some other media interviews before my presentation on Tuesday. Then we were off to Joberg and Cape Town. 

It was so wonderful to be back in South Africa. My hosts were incredibly gracious and thoughtful.

August 29, 2012

Meet Me In California?

View of Seattle from Bainbridge in winter.

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.”

Typical winter day on Bainbridge Island, WA.

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!

I look forward to seeing you there.

September 6, 2012

It’s Colortime! Pantone Fashion Color Report Spring 2013

It’s that time of year again. Pantone has just released their Spring Fashion Color Report for 2013. It is such an exciting time for fashion with summer coming to a close and everyone embracing their fall wardrobe and looking for a change. I often hear people say that fall is their favorite season because of the clothing. I might have to agree with them but not just for the boots and sweaters, I love that the colors change as well.

This season, designers overwhelmingly address consumers’ desire for self-expression, balance and the need to re-energize. The color direction for spring builds upon these compelling needs with a palette that mixes dynamic brights with novel neutrals to create a harmonious balance. This allows for unique combinations that offer practicality and versatility, but at the same time, demand attention and earn an appreciative glance.

If you are looking to perk up your wardrobe with some pops of color, why not start here? Keep your Colortime in mind and you will be sure to wow your friends and co-workers.

Not sure what Colortime you are? Use your hair, skin, and eyes as your guide to finding your perfect Colortime. Once you know your Colortime (Sunrise, Sunlight, or Sunset) you can use the fanguide to help you match your best colors to those in the new color report. This doesn’t make you trendy it makes you a smart shopper. You can embrace the colors that aren’t in your Colortime by using them in smaller proportion like accessories or nail polish.

What color(s) will you embrace? Which is your favorite?

September 12, 2012

Creating A Dynamic Work Space With Light And Color

I have answered many questions about color in my work. So many questions that I wrote the Color Answer Book to help to quell a lot of recurring themes. One specific question is how to create the illusion of more open space when working in a colorless cubicle with no windows.

This is the view from my desk. I am fortunate to have a home office where there is plenty of natural light which is crucial to color matching.

My answer is as follows.

Many employees complain about lackluster surroundings and how uninspiring they can be. The lack of natural light coming into a space can be so depressing, but color can certainly help to create specific illusions in our surroundings. First of all, bring some sunshine into the space by using some yellow, especially in the spot facing your desk. This can be in a painted surface such as the facing wall or, if it is not possible to repaint the wall, in a piece of art or a poster. Yellow is most closely associated in the human mind with sunshine and good cheer, and will make the space appear larger and lighter.

Isn’t this an inspiring office space? The lighting creates the sense of movement.

Another method of opening up a cramped space is to use blue on the ceiling (suggestive of the sky), and if you can sponge on some white puffy clouds, all the better.

This may seem a bit extreme but new research is supporting the theory that “natural daylight is better for humans than the fluorescent bulbs most of us languish under for eight to 10 hours a day. Adding windows or simply improving artificial light in offices has been shown to increase productivity, boost morale and reduce the number of sick days, headaches and cases of eyestrain among workers.”

German applied-research group Fraunhofer is working on a balanced color spectrum of LED bulbs that will turn office ceilings into a lighting system that mimics the daylight sky with movement and changing hues.

Image Via

This technology might not be available in your office any time soon. In the meantime you can stick with my tips of bringing yellow into the space and if your boss will allow, paint the ceiling blue and don’t forget the clouds.

Do you work in a windowless office in a cubicle? How do you keep the doldrums away at your desk?

Click the link below for the full article.

Sky light sky bright – in the office – Research News January 2012 – Topic 1.

September 26, 2012

What Is Your Favorite Color?

This is a repost of an interview that I did four years ago. These are questions that I still get asked almost daily but it seems that they are just as relevant today.

1. Considering that teenagers are probably not consciously aware that colors can affect how they feel, please explain in simple terms why colors influence us so much. I realize you could write forever on this topic, but I’m just looking for a basic explanation that young readers can understand.

Teenagers can remember how, from very early on when they were given their first box of Crayolas, how they were fascinated by color. And as they have grown older that fascination translated into the color of their toys, bikes, clothing or nail polish! The human mind (and eye) is adapted to “reading” and interpreting color. Red for danger as in stop signs, yellow for the approaching school bus and so on. So color is not just a question of most or least favorite, but also about color as signals, color and its associations to nature, as well as color and emotions. (See below)

2. How is it that each color has become associated with different emotions? I would think it’s partly due to their appearance in nature. For example, fire and blood are red, therefore red means burning love or anger or passion. Are there other reasons for these associations?

You are correct. Much of color feeling comes from its context in nature. Humans are very aware of the most general reactions. From the time they are babies, the presence of color in nature is very apparent in their everyday lives. For example, from the first time they were taken outside for a walk in their strollers, they were aware of the green that is so all-present in nature. Then as they grow older, they go to the park, play in the backyard, take a walk in the woods and do all of the other things that invariably attach the color green to nature. Green is the #1 association that people have to nature. So it continues to evoke that feeling as time goes on into adulthood.

3. In your book you list adjectives and personality traits under specific shades of colors. Does that mean those colors make us feel that way? For example, sky blue is calming. Why is that?

The example you chose is a good one. Blue is considered calming and dependable primarily because of its connection to the sky. The sky is a ‘constant’ in our lives. It never goes away or falls to the ground. Even on those gray or cloudy days, we know that the blue sky is still there and when the clouds disperse, there is the beautiful blue sky again!! So there is also a hopeful quality to it. Likewise, yellow is so connected to sunlight that it is invariably thought of as cheering and warm. We are drawn by yellow, just as the sun draws us. It is also the most visible color in the spectrum – reaching out and grabbing our attention.

4. What if I prefer a certain color? Does my favorite color say anything about my personality or does it just make me feel a certain way when I see that color? For example, your book describes deep blue as reliable, traditional, and introspective. I love that color and would describe myself in those terms. Is that coincidence or not?

Of course, there are always personal associations to color. Perhaps pink is a favorite because every time you wear it, someone gives you a compliment. Or perhaps, it was the color of the cotton candy that you ate too much of at a carnival that made you very sick on the way home. More than likely, pink is not going to be a pleasant association after that! As to your describing yourself in the same terms as the color, there is often a strong connection between your personality traits and the colors you choose. Many people are innately drawn to the colors that reflect their personality. But remember, they can also express who you would like to be or how you would like others to think of you. Barack Obama wears a lot of blue. Is that because it is a favorite color or that he wants people to believe he is reliable and dependable? I can’t speak to that, as I don’t know him personally, but politicians have often used the power of persuasion in their clothing.

5. Along the same lines as #4, the Luscher Color Test is well known but also controversial in its ability to provide insight about people. What do you think of color quizzes like this?

I think there is a great deal of truth in Luscher’s findings. I think it can get a bit confusing with the color in first place, second place and so on, but there is definitely credibility. We can speak in general terms (although every person is an individual and can fit many of the general descriptions) but personal experience can “color” their feelings.

6. If you were advising a school on what color(s) to paint the classrooms to help the students perform better on tests, what would you recommend?

That is a “magic bullet” question that I cannot answer. There is no one magic color. The amount of light that comes into the room, the direction it faces and so on all play a part in the “best” color for that room. And I suspect, in the long run, there is no color that can substitute for good study habits!!

(Do I sound like your fifth grade teacher, or your Mom?!)

What are your color questions?

October 5, 2012

Animated Classic Is An Artful Color Wonder

In the October booklet from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences there is a wonderful promotion for the up coming screening of a Chinese classic animation called The Monkey King: Uproar In Heaven (3D). The images were so striking and colorful that I had to share them with you. Below is an excerpt from the booklet.

“The Academy is proud to participate in the first China Onscreen Biennial (COB), launched by the UCLA Confucius Institute.

In scope and design, the COB is an unprecedented four-week bicoastal collaboration among American cultural organizations to promote U.S.-China dialogue through the art of film. The COB will look at both the present and past of Mainland Chinese cinema, bringing some of the best examples of contemporary Chinese filmmaking, as well as archival rarities and film restorations, to American audiences.’

‘THE MONKEY KING: UPROAR IN HEAVEN (3D) 
A beloved classic of Chinese animation, Wan Laiming and Tang Cheng’s 1960s animated feature returns to theaters after a painstaking and dazzling 3D makeover led by experts at Los Angeles-based Technicolor. One of the most famous characters in Chinese mythology, the mischievous Monkey King leaves chaos in his wake from the Dragon King’s palace to the heavenly halls of the Celestial Emperor. Set to a blended Beijing opera-orchestral soundtrack, the film casts an enchanting spell.”

If you are interested in animated classics and the usage of color in that context you might want to check it out.

Watch a clip from the movie below.

Uproar in Heaven, Chinese Animation, 1 DVD, Monkey King – YouTube.

October 10, 2012

Yellow Sunflowers To Change The Face Of Depression

Today is World Mental Health Day. The World Heath Organization website states “The day promotes open discussion of mental disorders, and investments in prevention, promotion and treatment services. This year the theme for the day is ‘Depression: A Global Crisis’.

Depression affects more than 350 million people of all ages, in all communities, and is a significant contributor to the global burden of disease. Although there are known effective treatments for depression, access to treatment is a problem in most countries and in some countries fewer than 10% of those who need it receive such treatment.”

One of my former Color/Design students and colleagues, Kathryn Goetzke, is the founder and head of iFred, the International Foundation for Research and Education for Depression (www.depression.org). She is also the innovator of Mood-lites™ (www.mood-factory.com) a category of lighting that is distributed through Lowes.

Kathryn has made it her mission to change the face of depression with a rebranding solution. She is aligning depression with uplifting colors like yellow and Sunflowers that inspire hope. Her insightful use of color and imagery is changing the way we look at depression.

October 19, 2012

Speak, See, And Hear Color.

In my first book I asked John Williams, who has written musical scores for “Star Wars” and “E.T.,” if he had ever written music to correspond to color in a film. He said that when he composed the score for “Close Encounters” he developed a distinctive musical signature to announce the presence of something mysterious in outer space. The sound of each note was given a different color on the screen.

In The Rainbow Book, it tells about famed artist Wassily Kandinsky, who compared the sounds of musical instruments to colors. He perceived light, warm red and medium yellow as strong, vigorous, and triumphant-the sounds of trumpets.

Today we are seeing this synesthetic color interpretation in Jeffrey Wirsing’s costume work in the hit HBO series Boardwalk Empire. I am devoted to the show. I am taken with every aspect of this show and it has been the subject of many water cooler conversations. Of course it was fascinating to find out that there was a color connection with the designer who is a “sympathetic synesthete”.

My favorite character on the show is the leading female character, Margaret Thompson, played by Scottish actress Kelly MacDonald. She started on the show as a needy widow who met Nucky Thompson, the leading bad guy in the series (not a nice person) and went on to marry him, primarily to provide a home for her two young children. Her character progresses into a person quite admirable for her charity work and belief in women’s health causes, in spite of being married to a mobster! The transitioning of her wardrobe was fabulously done—from plain to the high fashion of the day in the 20s. The colors and the designs are wonderful and a really well-researched part of the show.

Margaret Thomspon Season One
Margaret Thompson Season Three. She has come a long way since season one and you
can see it in this image.

Below is an excerpt from his interview in Psychology Today.

Jeffrey Wirsing talked about his work on the show “I have been working for the past almost four years on HBO’s Boardwalk Empire, set in the 1920s, where I have found a great use of all my skills, in costume, in restoration, in my printed fabrics and my color sense for dyeing fabrics.”

Jeffrey Wirsing created the Nubian costumes in this scene.
I know you can’t see them here but they existed.

Do you watch Boardwalk Empire? Who is your favorite character?

When Movement And Form Are Color | Psychology Today.

November 2, 2012

Color Psychology With Edward Hopper

If you find yourself in Paris over the holidays (lucky you) you may want to head over to the Paris’ Grand Palais and view the Edward Hopper retrospective. Hopper’s “dark sensibilities helped him give expression to the bewilderment and discouraged feelings of Depression-era Americans.”

Image Via

Edward Hopper’s work was so profoundly moving in color and subject matter that we felt compelled to include him our recent book: Pantone : The 20th Century in Color. Below are a few excerpts

“Edward Hopper was thirty-one before he sold his first painting-and forty-one before his career took flight.”

“…An accomplished technical artist, Hopper handled landscape, portraiture, and architecture with equal aplomb. What intrigues viewers, however, is not his technique, but the undeniable sense of loneliness Hopper creates with it. “

“Hopper’s disquieting emptiness is rendered in paradoxically full-bodied tones of teal and emerald, ruby and amber, and in an earthy brown.”

Follow the link below to more on the retrospective.

An American In Paris: Hopper Retrospective Opens.

November 9, 2012

Art: An Artists Color Psychology

Debora House is a multi-talented artist and colorist now living in Stockholm, Sweden. Debora and I met several years ago when I first moved to Bainbridge Island, WA and we formed a fast friendship as we are kindred spirits in color (and a lot of other things as well).

We have worked together on projects since then. Her sense of color is impeccable – so moody and evocative. Of course I have several of her paintings – several in my office, as a matter of fact!

Debora decided to take my online Image Color Training a few years back and I am hoping that she can join us for a future Color/Design program, whether in Burbank in January or here on the island in July (where she still has a lot friends). She is truly a gifted colorist and I invite you to view some of her latest paintings.

I am an artist. To me everything is open to arrangement and interpretation, from clothes to food to garden bulbs. I like the moment standing before the emptiness of the white canvas and knowing the first strokes are like the first lines in a novel – they will lead me to an unknowable place. I recall another artist saying, “If you know the outcome why bother painting the painting?” That’s how it is for abstract expressionism, you don’t know but you explore with hope and energy.

I have had the good fortune of being raised by a designing woman who taught me very young to memorize color. I have practiced recalling color my whole life. It has been what inspires me and has led me to pursue work in fields where it was required: Interior Design, Textile Design, Colorist and now as a painter.

When I took a course in Color Image Training under Leatrice Eiseman, I was forced out of my own comfort zone and personal preferences into colors as they suit or affect others. When a colorist like myself goes through what basically amounts to retraining the eye to see whole color stories as they relate to others, I was made to explore my emotional reaction to colors in a new way because I had to include colors I didn’t like! In learning to assess how certain colors that challenge me might suit someone else perfectly, I opened my heart to a much bigger palette. Using that knowledge as a painter let’s me explore and accept colors that, in the past, I would have omitted without a thought.

Northern Lights

Before I begin a painting I think of the narrative of the story I want to tell. In the painting Northern Lights I wanted to communicate the mysteriousness of the Northern Lights. I live in Stockholm which is as near to the Arctic as one needs to be yet the lights always elude us. The time to see them is precisely when there is too much cloud cover to observe them. We can have months without a single ray of sunlight. Naturally this drives some people mad and if you’ve ever seen a Swede on a beach and wondered how they can lay there like a lizard for hours, days, on end, it’s because they are storing up the light. You know, you just know, those magical colors are out there swirling over your head but you can’t see them. So the painting is my way to illustrate the color behind the clouds and a roiling icy sea.

Pi in the Sky

Pi in the Sky is a landscape about infinity. In a blue band that separates heaven and earth are the beginning numbers of Pi. The numbers start off the surface of the canvas on the side and wrap until there is no more room for the infinite formula. The intention is that math (something commonly perceived to be anchored in reality) at some point, in higher mathematics, becomes an abstraction. In the skyline is a fixed and accurate constellation in gold metallic – The Big Dipper.

Spring

Spring is a part of a series of seasons. Living in a place where winter lasts almost half the year, spring is a longed for time. I used colors that were, to me, hot or acidic: The new green of the grasses, the riotous reds of tulips and peonies, quince in the horizon line and a sky filled with golds and pinks inside the blues.

Spring comes quickly and once it starts it bursts forth all at once with energy and beauty.

I painted this painting quickly as well. It came together with a minimum of washes and almost no struggles. The green is an example of forcing myself to use a color that fit the piece but is not a color I am drawn to naturally. In that way it is more a practice of color theory than intuitive thought.

I feel I am always learning to see things in a fresh way and to enjoy where these color stories lead me. I want to have an experience that is self-satisfying in the process of creation and to look back later and see the sense of commitment that went into every layer. But mostly I want to stand before the next blank canvas and make the first stroke.

November 26, 2012

Comic Book Color And The Creatives Behind It

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.

Animal Defenders

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.

Animal Defenders
Animal Defenders pg 1 (English version)

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.

Animal Defenders

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!

Animal Defenders

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.

Toti and I at the Color/Design class graduation ceremony.

We are extremely thankful to Lee to allow us to share our work with her followers and friends through this amazing window.

Veronica and I at the graduation. This is one of my favorite parts of the class.

Thanks a million, Lee!!

-Veronica Ettedgui & Toti Vollmer

December 13, 2012

What’s Your Sign? Is Your Birthstone Emerald? Color Me Curious.

Lorraine DePasque is a Style/Trends editor for instoremag.com. She has interviewed me many times before and we are often on the same “wavelength” when it comes to spotting trends. This was especially evident when it came to Emerald. I often tell people at my presentations to look to high end jewelry for future influence.

17-5641 Emerald Swatch-R

You can say that Lorraine had her (Emerald clad?) finger on the pulse of this one considering that she posted this blog back in April. Click the link below to read Lorraine’s rationale of Emerald in terms of jewelry.

Jewelry’s on the Road to Emerald City.

December 21, 2012

From Us

HappyHollydays copy

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