October 19, 2012 § 2 Comments
October 19, 2012
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.
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.”
Do you watch Boardwalk Empire? Who is your favorite character?
October 10, 2012 § 1 Comment
October 10, 2012
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 5, 2012 § 2 Comments
October 5, 2012
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.
September 26, 2012 § 2 Comments
September 26, 2012
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?
September 12, 2012 § Leave a comment
September 12, 2012
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.
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.
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.
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.
September 6, 2012 § Leave a comment
September 6, 2012
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?
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 22, 2012 § 1 Comment
August 22, 2012
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.
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 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.
August 9, 2012 § 1 Comment
August 9, 2012
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.