September 30, 2013 § 4 Comments
September 30, 2013
Who doesn’t love a list?
Every year, twice a year, I teach a class on color and design. In the preparations for the class I compile a list of books that I have found to be integral in my pursuit of color knowledge. It is a very long list (12 pages) so I decided to pick eight books that I think are important for those who are looking to grow their knowledge and understanding of color.
1). A Natural History of the Senses by Diane Ackerman
2). Color and Human Response by Faber Birren
3). Color Psychology & Color Therapy by Faber Birren
4). Color Graphics; The Power of Color in Graphic Design by Karen Triedman and Cheryl Dangel Cullen
5). Colour/Travels Through the Paintbox by Victoria Finlay
6). A Perfect Red by Amy Butler Greenfield
7). Living With Color by Deryck Healy
8). Designing Across Cultures-How to Create Effective Graphics for Diverse Ethnic Groups by Ronnie Lipton
I would love to hear about your favorite color books. Are any of these books on your “must read” list?
What books would you include in your top ten list of color books?
For my complete list of books sign up for my next Color/Design course in to be held in Burbank, January 2014.
August 19, 2013 § 7 Comments
August 19, 2013
How many times have you heard that “gray is the new black“, or “brown is the new black” or even “red is the new black”? I can tell you that in my professional career I have heard this said season after season. The truth is black is a constant, staple, mainstay, and essential to every wardrobe.
I just roll my eyes when I hear comments like these because black is part of the color foundation of material society.
Black is here and never went anywhere and won’t be going any time soon.
However, earlier this week I was going through my archives and found that I, at one time, had indeed written: “Black is Back!” for the first edition of a newsletter that I edited as the newly-appointed executive director of the Pantone Color Institute. But it was at a time (1986) when black had truly had been diminished for a short time, at least, interior and fashion-wise and was coming back in full force. The following is an excerpt that includes comments from some of the designers (fashion and interior) that I spoke with who shared their thoughts about black.
“Black has become the greatest neutral, it brings an accent point into a space. To me, black is a very exciting and lively hue. I believe it is also powerful and authoritative.”-Vicente Wolf of Patino-Wolf Associates.
Donna Karan believes black provides the perfect foundation upon which to assemble a wardrobe or single outfit. Black defines the silhouette and goes with everything. Like a painter’s canvas, it is the essential backdrop on which to build.
Designer Halston comments: “Black is the most classic and eternal-it is all colors. Black cannot be penetrated. It is the ultimate color in high fashion.” He states he could use it all the time. There is no replacement. The most important and interesting piece in his collection is always black. He likes to work while wearing black because it does not compete with other colors. As long as he has been in the industry, black has always been his number one seller.
The dichotomy of black is also shown through historical happenings. The Reagans, Princess Di and Prince Charles have helped to make black-tie formality fashionable again. At the opposite end of the social scale, young people, from beatniks to rockers to punks, have adopted black as a symbol of the negation of a society.
Whether the ultimate in chic, or in the expression of adolescent defiance, black wields a powerful psychological force in the current world of design and color.
These sentiments about black are just as true today as they were more than 25 years ago!!
What role does black play in your wardrobe? Do you use black in your decor?
August 9, 2013 § 2 Comments
August 9, 2013
The color wheel is the basis of all color combinations. This circular arrangement of the spectrum visually illustrates the basic principles of color. That is part of what makes this cartoon color infographic from Slate Online Magazine (click the link at the bottom), so wonderful.
As most people are familiar with the color wheel it makes perfect sense to color code cartoon characters, especially if you are looking to create a space for your child or inner child, the color wheel is a great place to start.
As a parent, a visual like this could make quick work of (re)decorating your child’s personal space. Even if your child’s favorite character hasn’t made the cut on this graphic you can still draw inspiration from this cartoon color wheel or any color wheel.
It is really important for children to have input into the color schemes of their rooms. It’s a wonderful exercise in creativity and a real confidence booster in their ability to do this. In addition, it really helps to set the stage for their participation in color and design projects when they get older.
It has been said that the greatest of all inventions is the wheel. I would say that the color wheel is next. For most people, much of color “knowledge” is based on instinctive responses, cultural conditioning, and those aspects of color that we seem to absorb without much conscious thought. yet there is a great deal we can learn about color that is based on certain artistic and harmonious concepts.
July 31, 2013 § 2 Comments
July 31, 2013
I was perusing the Huffington Post when I spotted the story (link at the bottom) on vintage travel posters and was reminded of some of the wonderful posters that we came across when we were doing research for my latest book Pantone The 20th Century in Color.
There is something magically transportive in seeing these fantastic illustrations of life in far away places. The colors, mood, and feeling all come together to entice the eager traveller to get away. The following is an excerpt from the book that can be found in a section addressing the colorful 1920s called “Destinations.”
Though post-WWI nationalism made international travel a little more complicated, improvements in train and ship lines gave it a stylish sense of luxury and adventure. The forward march of technology also made speed part of the thrill.
Graphic designers did their part to build desire for cities like Paris and London with elegant posters that glamorized both destinations and their inhabitants-who all seemed to wear the latest fashions. Resorts like Nice and Vichy also benefitted from such marketing: resort towns that relatively few had heard of became worldwide household names.
The color language found in travel posters of the day frequently employed the coppery tones of suntans and the warm neutrals of sand and sunlight. Silvery greens gave elegant life to oceans and rivers, and olives and browns to the landscape.
July 16, 2013 § 1 Comment
July 15, 2013
For most people a green path leads inevitably to thoughts of nature. Mother nature painted more green on earth than any other color. It is the hue of foliage, grass, and growing plants; of graceful sheltering trees, dappled meadow and clinging vines; the shade of forest and jungle. It is the color of the country as opposed to the city; the romance of Robin Hood, wood urchins, elves, gnomes, and leprechauns; the pride of the Irish patriot and St. Patrick’s Day.
The sight of green is inexorably linked to the sense of smell-freshly mown lawn, pine needles, and wet leaves after a sudden summer shower, a splash of lime and a crushed sprig of mint. Because our sense are intertwined, scents and colors are inevitably tied, one sense suggesting a specific color to another. We can look at a bottle of perfume and sense how it will smell before we sniff it. We can’t help but associate a green fragrance with freshness and nature.
Most everyone knows how our endorphins kick in when we do something physical, like taking a walk in the woods filled with greenery. And there is much evidence to support the effect of green around us, including studies that tell us that being surrounded by green encourages us to breathe slowly and deeply, slowing the production of stress hormones. We certainly all need that in today’s fast-paced world.
The Japanese have been using a technique called “Shinrinyoku” or “forest bathing.” It’s not about taking a bath in the forest in the usual sense, but more about encouraging healthy lifestyles and reducing stress. Experts in that country also believe that forest bathing can improve the immune system. So it’s not just about eating your greens, but surrounding yourself with green—a worthy prescription for well-being.
June 27, 2013 § Leave a comment
June 27, 2013
I have been seeing more articles about personal shopping gaining in popularity and since that “attaches” itself to color/image consulting, I thought it would be a great time for me to talk about how I got my own consultation business rolling.
When I first started, I did various aspects of personal image and color consulting. I found out that once you have a client in one area and they develop a confidence in your abilities to help them, you can offer them other services, such as closet organizing (and who doesn’t need that!?), even color in their interiors. They, in turn, can recommend you to friends to keep a consulting service growing. All of this can fall under one umbrella and eventually expand into color consulting for consumer products, as it did for me. Training is necessary to hone these specific skills, but it can start very simply with personal/image consulting and/or personal shopping.
Dana Hall, Divisional VP of Sales and Service at Holt Renfrew stores in Canada, shares some thoughts on personal shopping. “The most important aspect of personal shopping is the relationship and trust built between the client and the staff, Hall says. She recalls instances where personal shoppers visited a client’s house to go through their existing wardrobe, sent merchandise to a customer at their office or home, hosted a private designer appearance, or attended a fashion shows with clients.”
It is through this kind of trust that other opportunities could arise. As has been the case with me.
While the link is mostly about department store services, personal shopping is a job opportunity that could lead to doing color consulting, closet organizing, expanding contacts or eventually going out on your own.
Color informs, brings instant comprehension, calls attention, delivers information, and creates an identity. This is true in all aspects of life whether personally or on a larger scale for product development.
Do you have a passion for color? Have you ever considered a career in color consulting?
May 23, 2013 § 3 Comments
May 23, 2013
This is really exciting news. I wonder how long it will be before we see the practical application of this new blue pigment. Some laboratory testing involves outcomes that are not always planned. The following is from a northwestern university very close to my home state of Washington.
“An accidental discovery in a laboratory at Oregon State University has apparently solved a quest that over thousands of years has absorbed the energies of ancient Egyptians, the Han dynasty in China, Mayan cultures and more – the creation of a near-perfect blue pigment.
Through much of recorded human history, people around the world have sought inorganic compounds that could be used to paint things blue, often with limited success. Most had environmental or durability issues. Cobalt blue, developed in France in the early 1800s, can be carcinogenic. Prussian blue can release cyanide. Other blue pigments are not stable when exposed to heat or acidic conditions.
But chemists at OSU have discovered new compounds based on manganese that should address all of those concerns. They are safer to produce, much more durable, and should lead to more environmentally benign blue pigments than any being used now or in the past. They can survive at extraordinarily high temperatures and don’t fade after a week in an acid bath.”
Click the link below for more information.
April 3, 2013 § Leave a comment
April 3, 2013
We know that most people who love learning about color are particularly fascinated by the history and background of various hues. Let’s have a quick lesson on blue and culture from my book Colors For Your Every Mood.
It was not until 4500 B.C. in Mesopotamia that blue emerged as a decorative hue. Brilliant blue threads were used in ancient Peruvian embroideries circa 800 B.C. While thousands of miles away, blue was used in linen fabrics found in the caves of the Dead Sea Scrolls.
Indigo replaced woad in importance as a dye in the Middle Ages because it proved to be more hardy and reliable. It also made blue a more available color. Marco Polo was fascinated by the production of indigo in India where it was produced in great quantities and its quality desired. The color was extracted by plucking out a species of the herb by the roots, putting it into tubs of water and other ingredients and leaving it to rot. The reality of this glamorous color, admired by all the world, was some very labor and animal-intensive effort. The tubs of water containing the dye were also filled with a mixture of fruits, wood ash, or putrefied urine (camel urine was specially effective!) The dye-bath was actually a pale yellow, but oxidation eventually turned the textiles to blue.
Now take a look at what a new discovery has revealed about the Maya and their secret recipe for blue.
March 25, 2013 § 1 Comment
March 25, 2013
As we all know, color is a fundamental element in makeup choice, specifically the undertone of the makeup. To better understand undertone it is important to note that there are essentially three general classifications: warm, cool or neutral. Undertones denote an underlying color within any given hue.
With my Color Clock system every Colortime® palette has warm, cool and neutral colors, even though AM (Sunrise) tones are predominantly cool, PM (Sunset) tones predominantly warm, and Midday (Sunlight) is a balance of both.
The other day I read an article featuring Bobbi Brown on Ellemagazine.com where she talks about her new Lilac Rose Collection. Brown states that “The Lilac Rose Collection isn’t just about purple. It features dusty pinks and heather grays, which are more natural shades of purple and are perfect for creating a feminine smoky eye. Plus, these shades have blue undertones, so they look flattering on all skin tones.”
Brown believes that a blue base of undertone is flattering to all skin types. This is a very interesting concept when there are actually three different undertones possible. But makeup, as we all know, is about experimentation and in the end, you really need to try before you buy to be certain that it’s going to work for you. And there are ways to “crossover” into any of the three classifications for special effects, which are discussed in my book, More Alive With Color.
My dear friend and colleague Judith August wrote a book called Gotcha Covered! The Compact Guide to Camouflage Makeup where she shares her makeup tips and techniques for using makeup to cover or hide areas that you may not want to be seen. In her book she has a whole chapter called Neutralizers and How They Work where she too sings the praises of Lavender as well as peachy orange and pink.
Judith suggests using lavender liquid foundation as a “neutralizer to even out discoloration. Lavender acts like a neutralizer blending the different areas and creating an even palette.” Pink is Judith’s secret weapon. She believes that “the surprising effect of the color pink is its ability to help us look 10 years younger.”
What do you think? Have you found that lavender is flattering on your skintone? Do you have the perfect shade of pink? What are some of your secret makeup weapons?
My advise is to let your Colortime® palette guide you to the best cosmetic colors for you. Click here to find out more about the Color Clock and Colortime®.
February 28, 2013 § Leave a comment
February 28, 2013
As a color/design consultant, forecaster and author, I always look to the art world for inspiration and direction, especially shows and exhibits that are garnering much attention in the art world. So I read with great interest on artdaily.com about one show that changed it all.
“The International Exhibition of Modern Art — which came to be known, simply, as the Armory Show — marked the dawn of Modernism in America. It was the first time the phrase “avant-garde” was used to describe painting and sculpture.
On the evening of the show’s opening, 4,000 guests milled around the makeshift galleries in the 69th Regiment Armory on Lexington Avenue.
Two-thirds of the paintings on view were by American artists. But it was the Europeans — Van Gogh, Gauguin, Cezanne, Picasso, Matisse, Duchamp — that caused a sensation.”
And what a sensation indeed! It was 100 years ago that art in the United States was forever changed. It was only one year later that Cubism would continue to evolve the world of art.
The serious, demanding intellectualism of the Cubist proposition was too important to be rendered in the decorative colors of the Fauves. Picasso and Georges Braque delivered their message in somber tones, along with the bits of wrapping paper, wallpaper, newspaper, and even sand, dirt, and house paint. Eventually, later Cubists like Robert Delaunay and Juan Gris introduced more vivid colors in a desire to capture the vibrant urban reality of pre-WWI Paris.
Nude Descending a Staircase (No.2) was the star of the Armory show and is a star in the book Pantone The 20th Century in Color. Take a minute to listen or read about the Armory Show from 1913. If that doesn’t quench your thirst you can click the link below to explore the website that the Smithsonian has put up that is a detailed timeline of archival material from that very show.