June 9, 2014 § Leave a comment
June 9, 2014
Are you still watching AMC’s Mad Men? “Waterloo,” marked the mid-season finale of season seven, and it was a good one.
For those of you who watch and follow the show, this episode was Peggy Olson’s beautiful transformation from meek employee to masterful messenger of change, in more ways than one.
About 17 minutes into the show there is a moment between Peggy and her young neighbor, Julio, that illuminates a common question that women have been asking themselves for decades.
No, it isn’t “Does my bottom look big in these pants?”
What do I wear?
She didn’t exactly ask this question but her query was about which outfit she should wear. Her options were a lovely charcoal gray suit dress that is “more manly” as she puts it, or another look, which is more colorful, stylish (for the time), and decidedly more comfortable (she won’t “sweat in it”).
It was at this moment in the show that I was inspired to write this blog post. You see, this season/episode takes place in 1969 and this was a decade before personal color theories were adapted and applied to wardrobe and cosmetic choice.
It occurs to me that this moment (late 60s) is one that could have been a pivotal point in the need for a personal coloring system, and I will tell you why.
The 1960s were a time when women were making their way in the workforce and it is this male-dominated workforce where we, as women, had to learn how to compete.
Whether we were the secretary (often the case) or the executive (not so often), as the woman in the office, our struggle was not just for equal pay, or the great job, but also how to be taken seriously, as a woman and not a sex object. The question then becomes how to project power without losing our personality or color?
I digress on that and go back to Peggy.
When Peggy was asking the question of which outfit to wear it wasn’t just about the clothes but it was also about making an impression, FINALLY having the shot at the spotlight, and feeling comfortable and confident enough to stand in front of a room full of men. Vindication at last!
How do we project confidence in a room full of men and not be objectified but still project femininity and be true to who we are? One word, COLOR.
I won’t spoil the show for you but I can say that her colorful choice was well embraced and I look forward to 2015, when the show comes back for its final season, to see how Peggy’s choices affect her future at SCD& P.
Move over Don, make way for women!
May 1, 2014 § Leave a comment
May 1, 2014
Here is a little color tidbit from the Smithsonian.
“In the animal world as in fashion. bright color makes a bold statement. The vivid hues of the strawberry poison dart frog declare, ‘If you eat me, it could be the last thing you ever do!’ And that is no bluff.”
Click the link below for the full story on the colorful and often poisonous amphibians of Central and South America.
April 21, 2014 § 3 Comments
April 21, 2014
As a general rule, evolutionary alterations are less risky than revolutionary changes. However, with changing times and expectations in the marketplace, some risk-taking can be a real attention getter. It should be a calculated, thoughtful and intelligent change that can be backed up with a meaningful rationale.
This is not something I can see a robot taking into consideration.
Earlier in April Esquire.com posted an article by Andrew Luecke called Welcome to the High Stakes World of Color And Branding. The following quote is from Andrew’s article, “A paper by researchers at the Institute of Textiles and Clothing at Hong Kong Polytechnic University found that due in part to the accelerated production schedule of fast fashion, color forecasting that “depends on the personal experience and judgment of the field of experts,…is often found underperforming,” while “artificial intelligence models, especially artificial neural network and fuzzy logic models‚… help to improve the forecasting of fashion color trends.”
Look a little closer at the motivation of the study, “fast fashion” and saving money. Have we learned nothing about our obsession with cheap, in light of the tragedies in Bangladesh?
The argument can be made in support of robots doing the work for humans. I’m not sure this would be the smart decision when it comes to making color decisions. Change for the sake of change is not necessarily a good idea, and I’ll tell you why.
Color is not the only means of attracting attention. There are other considerations as well:
the shape of the package
the “fit” in the hand
the texture (rough or smooth)
the finish (shiny or matte)
the perceived weight of the object
All of the above can be further enhanced and made even more suggestive by the proper, intelligent use of color. A very important aspect of these visual tempters is called the “sensorial cues.” These cues link colors to all the senses and conjure up thoughts and perceptions of how the product will taste, smell, feel and in some cases, sound.
When the senses play such a large role in our daily choices, it is easy to see why a robot would not make a good color consultant. Human emotion and reaction cannot be sensed by a robot. The dialogue between client and consultant can often lead to discoveries of negative color responses. The discovery of negative color association is best handled with care and compassion, which can lead to new ideas on color and one’s perception. I couldn’t imagine trying to communicate those negative color responses to a computer. Could you?
Some things are better left to a human being who is capable of emotional understanding and color psychology. I can’t help but think of how frustrating self-checkout is at the store. I wouldn’t leave such emotional work to a machine. Your feelings matter and communicating those feelings to a robot seems counter productive.
Numbers and algorithms cannot make up for the human experience. Not to mention the lives that are spared by not supporting such unsafe work practices and consumer drive.
April 10, 2014 § Leave a comment
April 10, 2014
March 30th was the final day of the Emerald City Comicon. Comic books and pop culture were center stage for three full days. This event may not be for everyone but this show sells out year after year for all three days. The lure of actors, animation, art, gaming and color is something that spans many generations.
When it comes to studying trends there are at times clear and obvious areas to look to find trends. It is not always the obvious where a trend direction is found. The entertainment industry is a big contributor to driving trends. Movies are full of inspiration ranging from fashion, décor (set design) and even color trends. Sometimes the characters/actors themselves can be the object of desire. Ultimately, when all the components come together it makes movie magic. It is in all of those components where the inspiration, trend and the fan are found.
Mainstream acceptance of what was once considered “nerd culture” is bringing this vibrant palette into the limelight. For example, shows like the Big Bang Theory and The Walking Dead are great directional indicators for trends. The reach of comics goes beyond the obvious to aspirational, with shows like Project Runway’s, Under The Gunn with Tim Gunn, where designers are tasked with a Marvel challenge. The reach of this genre is vast.
Fashionweekdaily.com reports that “This July, a fashion show will be coming to San Diego’s Comic-Con for the first time. Officially called “The Her Universe Fashion Show” all submissions entered for consideration must be “Geek Couture” fashion, not a costume, and can be based on anything that is celebrated at Comic-Con.” One look at the Her Universe site and it is plain to see that this isn’t a concept, style, ideal or trend that will be disappearing any time soon.
Have you embraced you inner “geek” or “nerd” and joined in on the fun?
March 31, 2014 § Leave a comment
March 31, 2014
Remember in February when we talked about the Blue Mollusks? This discovery could certainly light up the night. I wonder if this will effect how the tree appears in the daytime? Will it effect the bark as well?
What do you think? Do you like your trees glowing?
March 10, 2014 § Leave a comment
March 10, 2014
A couple of weekends ago I was catching up on some television and stumbled onto The Graham Norton Show. I was initially taken in by the vibrant colors he uses on his show and, interestingly enough, on his website. This almost-but-not-quite Radiant Orchid hue is quite captivating and it creates a very luscious environment that is the perfect “eye candy” backdrop to his invigorating but sometimes silly talk show. But there are times we need some relaxing silly stuff.
Not only was the stage enticing, his line up that night was exceptional. Matt Damon, Bill Murray and Hugh Bonneville were there to talk about The Monuments Men, a book I am currently reading.
What really got me giggling was the fact that three of the four people on the stage including Graham Norton himself, were all wearing a similar shade of red. That fact was not lost on Hugh and was not even mentioned until nearly 27 minutes in. Hugh refers to this shade as a deep red. I would place it in the Eggplant, Oxblood Red, Port or Cordovan range.
Eggplant (aka Aubergine), is considered a classic in the world of fashion. It is one of the Crossover colors that is explained in my book, “More Alive With Color”. This is a color that looks good on all skin tones and it is a hue that is readily seen in nature and works well with many other colors.
On another interesting Hugh Bonneville note, as the Earl of Grantham on Downton Abbey, he is a very aristocratic character and wears a range of traditional English colors on the show. There has been a lot of purple on Downton Abbey—especially first in the mauves because it is considered the color of “half mourning after a death,” worn after a prescribed period of time. Lady Mary, the lord’s widowed daughter, wears black immediately after her husband’s passing, then moves on to mauve as her grief dissipates somewhat and then ultimately blossoms forth in more elegant purples and purplish wines.
Take a moment or an hour to watch the clip or the entire Graham Norton show as it was certainly worth the respite from my preparations for presentations at the Housewares Show to be held in Chicago from March 15 through the 18th. If you don’t have an hour to watch his show, the really funny stuff begins at 27:20.
Anyone got a woolly jumper and a lippy I can borrow?
February 19, 2014 § 1 Comment
February 19, 2014
Last January, Christine Peters, a marketing consultant in the financial services industry joined my class in Burbank, California. Interestingly, Christine has more than just a passion for color-she actually experiences a phenomenon called synesthesia. It is such a fascinating topic. I just did a report on synesthesia to a forecast group in London. There are personal variations of this condition and it is important to know about those variations so I invited Christine to guest blog on the topic.
Cross-Wired And Color-Crazed By Christine Peters
I’ve always had a love for magazines. The glossy pages, the styled photos, and the bite-sized content create the perfect recipe to help me unwind. Some people like to end a stressful day watching a favorite TV show, or enjoying a glass of the finest merlot. Instead, I reach for a magazine for my fix, and flip, flip, flip through the pages over and over savoring every inch. However, despite my lifelong passion for magazines, I never would have imagined a magazine could, and would, change my life.
In the spring of 2010 I was on a business trip to NYC, and as I trekked through LaGuardia a magazine titled The Brain caught my eye (who knew there was such a thing as a magazine about brains!) It was obviously a must have for me after a long and stressful day.
I boarded my plane and started flipping away, and found an article that was of particular interest called The Cross-Wired Brain. It was about an unusual condition called synesthesia. As I read more and more, I had that magazine life-changing-aha moment.
What I experience ALL THE TIME is not the norm for most humans. What I experience is actually called grapheme-color synesthesia “in which the visual appearance of a written letter or number triggers an experience of color”. I was astounded – both at the fact that this was considered an unusual condition and at the fact that I had never, ever heard of it, but have been experiencing it my whole life.
Essentially, for me, everything has a color inside my mind that is usually not the same color my eyes see! Each day is filled with rainbows of color. Each word has a color that may or may not be the color represented by the colors of its individual letters. And again, it is usually not the same color as it appears when I look at it. This can be complicated and yet wildly colorful which, for me, is the best part.
While reading that article it struck me that having grapheme-color synesthesia has shaped my life and decisions in ways that I have never even realized. Generally speaking, I sometimes can get tripped up by indecision, and now I believe it is largely due to the many colors on my mind! For example, naming my children was especially difficult because the letters in each name needed to have just the right color harmony. I thought every new parent had that same dilemma!
As another example, buying a car can be strange and riddled with indecision too. The word car in my mind is bright yellow (C), light green (A) and a deep, dark purple (R). Not quite the colors you would typically consider when heading to a dealership. To complicate things the brand name of the car has it’s own color as well.
I also tend to remember things by color. So if I remind myself to grab my keys, I will be thinking about the colors orange and red (K is an orange color and the letter S is bright red and they both overpower the colors for E and Y) For some reason, the vowels all have lighter colors in my mind’s eye. The more information I have to think about or remember, the more colors I have on my mind.
Given my new revelation, I started to pay close attention to how I process colors and information on a day-to-day basis. I can be swayed to choose one thing over another based on the colors I think of in my mind. And colors I see in my mind can even affect how I feel. I started to research the psychology of color, which ultimately led me to Lee Eiseman’s 4-day Color/Design class. Color can be so strong and powerful that it can affect moods, influence behaviors, and even drive purchasing decisions. It has always been natural for me to think about color given my “superpowers”. Now that I realize other people don’t quite have these same intrinsic ideas about color, I’m more motivated than ever to understand how color plays a role in every day life.
I am grateful for this gift. Knowing I am synesthetic has helped me explore my own creativity and passion for color and literally see my world now through a different lens!
February 3, 2014 § 1 Comment
February 3, 2014
Enjoy this little color tidbit.
“The blue mussel mollusk creates a unique amino acid, which formulates a strong thread, connecting it to rocks in the ocean. By remaining attached to the rocks, mussels withstand the pounding waves of the surf. The mussel “glue” is created at ambient temperatures, under ambient pressures, and in a wet environment. Looking to nature, researchers were able to mimic the mussel recipe, creating a soy-based and formaldehyde-free adhesive now used in its products.”
Click the link below to read more.
January 27, 2014 § 5 Comments
January 27, 2014
I am always intrigued by trending or popular stories that are making their way around the web. I have been known to indulge in my fair share of sharing of colorful infographics and eye catching imagery, thank you, Pinterest. But once the initial glow of awe has dissipated it is then when the real work gets started.
In the color business it is crucial that information be correct when it comes to color as our upbringing and personal experiences shape our lives and perceptions of things. Often our personal feelings can override our objective behavior and we can set things into motion that may not be exactly as they appear. This is especially important in color matching when you are seeing things online versus in person. It is here that I might add the disclaimer that everything you read/see on the internet is not true.
Let’s talk specifically about the most recent color goodie from Google Alerts, that came across my computer screen titled ‘Forget the blue plate special: Have the red plate dieter’s meal’ by Tom Jacobs for Salon.com.
Here is an excerpt. “…the takeaway from a recent study by researchers from the University of Parma in Italy, published in the journal Appetite.
The researchers served test subjects popcorn and chips on crockery of various colors, and found that the snackers sampled smaller amounts when the items were offered on red plates. The subjects reported the same level of enjoyment of the treats regardless of what they were served on, suggesting the plate color made the difference.
The researchers theorize that red—due to either cultural associations such as traffic lights or biological ones such as blood—is linked in our minds with “danger and prohibition.”
It sounds compelling. Let’s take a closer look at the actual study. Here is the Abstract.
“Recent literature suggests that individuals may consume less food when this is served on red plates. We explored this intriguing effect in three experiments. Independent groups of participants were presented with constant amounts of popcorns, chocolate chips, or moisturizing cream, on red, blue, or white plates. They were asked to sample the foods (by tasting them) or the cream (by rubbing it on the hand and forearm) as they wished and to complete mock “sensory analysis” questionnaires. Results confirmed that red plates reduce taste-related consumption and extended this effect to the touch-related consumption of moisturizing cream. Suggesting that the effect was not due to a decrease in the consciously experienced appeal of products on red plates, overall appreciation of the foods or cream did not differ according to plate color. After careful photometric measures of the materials used for each food-plate pairing, we determined that food and cream consumption was not predicted by Michelson (achromatic) contrast. Although the origin of the intriguing effect of the color red on consumption remains unclear, our results may prove useful to future potential explanations.”
The results were “unclear.” I wonder why that part didn’t make it into the article.
I hope none of you ran out to get those red plates. I too get excited about new studies (especially those on color) that come out but I have learned to take the extra time to trace the information back to the original study to fact check as the information has a way of getting twisted just enough to create a buzz.
We may be a nation in need of dietary assistance but preying on our insecurities and color assumptions or misinformation, is not the way to go about it. As seekers of color truths, it is our responsibility to change the color conversation to properly reflect colors’ true psychology.
January 2, 2014 § Leave a comment
January 3, 2014
In 2005, I did a Color/Design class here on Bainbridge Island (as I do every summer) for those wishing to expand their careers in color and had the good fortune to have a lovely woman named Irma from Indonesia enroll in the class. Needless to say, Bainbridge is a long way from Jakarta and I was delighted that she was motivated enough to come all that way to take the training program, especially because I had spent some time in Indonesia doing consulting and presentations for a very large cosmetic company founded by a woman named Martha Tilaar. She literally started her company on a shoe string budget with a recipe for skin cream passed on to her from her grandmother. She had seen my first book, more recently re-done as More Alive With Color, and decided to contact me about the possibility of coming to Indonesia to train her make-up artists and salespeople in color.
I happily took my first trip there in the late 80s and subsequently went back to Indonesia twice in the 90s (including Bali— but that’s another story) and enjoyed every moment there. This is a country rich in color heritage and the women are really quite beautiful. They are a mix of native Indonesian, some other mixed Asian cultures and Dutch. The furniture in their homes, the food they eat and the clothing they wear reflects those varied cultures. Ms. Tilaar was a fabulous hostess and I found out when I was there that she had quite a success story behind her. When she took me to one of her cosmetic-producing factories, she opened cauldrons of bubbling creams and had assigned color names from More Alive With Color. It was quite a colorful and amazing experience!
It is always gratifying to hear from former students, particularly when I have such fond memories of both Irma and her country, so I was happy to hear from her with an update on what she has been doing in the eight years since she took my class.
Among many other advancements in her career as a personal image and fashion consultant, she has been quite busy picking the colors for Garuda Indonesia’s crew uniforms. It was such an amazing coincidence that earlier in the year, July to be exact, she chose reddish purple as an additional color for the Maitre de Cabine uniform of Garuda Indonesia new cabin crew uniform (national flag carrier airline). Additionally in 2009 as part of the team of consultants for Garuda, Irma chose three colors for the new cabin crew uniform: turquoise, orange and blue (purser). After the launching of the new uniform in July 2010, she was thrilled knowing that turquoise was chosen as Color of the Year (2010) and Orange or Tangerine Tango for (2012).
Well done, Irma!