HICKIES® For Everyone!

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.


Olympics Past And Present

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.

1984 | GINORMUS.

Design Principles: Color

August 2, 2012 § 2 Comments

August 2, 2012


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.

Neanderthal Sees Red: A Love Story Of Sorts

July 25, 2012 § Leave a comment

July 25, 2012

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.

Bling It On! Shoe Me?

July 19, 2012 § 1 Comment

July 19, 2012

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).

Color/Design Student’s Artistic Creations

July 11, 2012 § 1 Comment

July 11, 2012

In light of the fact that I am a day away from my bi-annual Color/Design class, this one held in our own colorful haven of gorgeous gardens on Bainbridge Island, WA, I received a timely email from one of last summer’s graduates. Jim Dempsey is a floral designer who has made a name for himself in the floral industry. Jim has been spending the last five years studying handcrafts like weaving and paper folding, to name a few, and their connection to floristry. This has proven to be an area of interest to American Institute of Floral Designers (AFID) who has chosen his concept as their topic for their National Symposium next July 2013.

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.

Surrealists Shocking Flacon

July 2, 2012 § 2 Comments

July 2, 2012

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
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?

Land Art Lost And Found

June 26, 2012 § Leave a comment

June 26, 2012

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).

The Comics To Cartoon Clothing

June 18, 2012 § Leave a comment

June 18, 2012

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.

Color Touches Everyone

June 5, 2012 § Leave a comment

June 5, 2012


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.

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