August 12, 2015 § Leave a comment
August 12, 2015
I was surfing the web last week when I found an article on Vera Neumann published by Elle.com in Mexico. If you’re not familiar with , you are in for a real treat.
In 2010 Susan Seid wrote a very beautiful book called Vera The Art and Life of an Icon. It is filled with wonderful and colorful photographs of Vera’s history. In it Susan states:
“Vera Neumann was an unlikely revolutionary–her tiny five-foot-tall frame typically dressed in mod tunics and a bold scarf, armed with a quick wit but a shy demeanor. But Vera—the innovator of cross-licensing and one of the most successful female entrepreneurs of her time–had a radical philosophy: fine art should be accessible to everyone, not just a select few. She believed that artwork should not be relegated to walls. Rather, people should surround themselves with art–wear it, eat off it, and sleep under it. And why not? Great art endures. It lifts your sprit and makes you feel better. Vera’s art certainly does. It is bright, happy, and inspirational.”
A year after Susan Seid’s book came out, I made note of Vera Neumann in my book Pantone: The 20th Century in Color. The chapter is aptly named “Colors and Coordinates,” where I said, “Designer and artist Vera Neumann didn’t seem to need any help understanding color interactions, or the way color creates a mood.”
Seid has quoted Vera as saying to the Washington Post in 1978, “Color is the language I speak best,” and, “Color is such a marvelous way of expressing emotion. We have so many problems in the world, color brings just a little bit of joy into our lives.”
I agree wholeheartedly.
If you are not familiar with Vera, a quick Google search will bring you into the colorful wonder of Vera Neumann.
Vera’s designs are still being licensed now, more than ten years after her death. Their longevity is her longevity. And for those of us who were around when she first came on the scene, it is a welcome reminder of a colorfully artistic era to see her famous logo still used today.
August 6, 2015 § Leave a comment
August 6, 2015
It has been just about one month since I wrapped up my summer color/design course. It is a busy few weeks after the class. We are putting stuff away, getting prepared for the next class and chatting about all of the wonderful people we’ve just met and the ones who have taken the course previously. It was in that discussion where we remembered one student in particular, whose experience in class had such a colorful impact on her daughter that she gave her young daughter an impromptu color/class in the days that followed. We did a blog post about their experience because it was too adorable and it showed us all (I am sure her mother knew) that a child’s love of color is insightful and shows no bounds. Color is an important factor in childhood development and one day could ultimately lead to a career that involves color, including consulting.
Click here for the original story.
We caught up with Amy Anderson and her daughter Sofia to find out how Sofia is using her color skills today. We thought it would be fun to do a Q&A and, as a budding color professional, Sofia nailed it. She has a true gift for color and her choices are just as on-trend today as they were then.
Below are their responses:
Are you enjoying your summer so far?
Yes, it’s awesome!
What have you been working on since your color class?
In my art class at school, I made an orange cheetah mask with papier-mâché and my self-portrait. At home, I’ve been working on my own logo for “Sofia’s Colors.” I love color and art!
Are you pleased to see that your magic yogurt maker color palette is all over the fashion scene?
Yes, I love neon because it’s very bright and I like bright colors. They make me feel happy and energized.
Are you wearing neon? If so, what is your favorite piece?
Yes! My neon pink cardigan sweater is my favorite. It goes with everything.
What is your next project?
I’m really excited about metallic colors. I really like my metallic silver Birkenstocks! I’m working on a palette for a new product I want to create like the magic yogurt maker. Last week I went to the Paint Lab and picked out metallic color swatches: fire opal metallic, amethyst, sapphire, tourmaline, topaz, ballroom gold, aluminum and emerald.
March 26, 2015 § 4 Comments
“The changing color of a chameleon’s body is an impressive sight—but how it happens has long been a significant scientific question without a compelling answer. Now, researchers have identified a thin layer of deformable nanocyrstals in their skin which gives rise to the phenomenon.”
The final portion of this blog post on the color changing trend is courtesy of technology trends.
Technology is also impacting product development with amazing effects in fabrics and fabrications. These products change color based on the heat generated by the wearer’s neural activity.
October 1, 2014 § 1 Comment
October 1, 2014
If you were looking at the Huffington Post last week, you may have read an article called “Fashion And Ballet Go So Well Together, And We Have The Sketches To Prove It”.
You may have been caught up in the wonder and glamour of the costumes and the sketches, just as I was. It all got me thinking about another time when ballet and fashion met. I wrote about it in the book Pantone The 20th Century in Color in the chapter called Theatrics.
Theatrics is all about the symbiotic relationship between Leon Bakst and The Ballet Russes Scheherazade. This was a complementary combination that sparked color and fashion trends.
Below is an excerpt from the chapter.
“Russian-born Bakst brought a fascination with folk art and Eastern sensibilities into his work. His patterns simplified Turkish, Persian, and Central Asian textiles into bold, modern geometry. Suzani embroideries were simplified into cotton prints of concentric circles. References to complicated ikat patterns were delivered in crisp applique or beading. Diaphanous, patterned scarves swirled suggestively around women’s costumes constructed with simple bras and hip bands rather than a stiff corset. Occasionally, as in star dancer Vaslav Nijinsky’s performance in Prelude a l’apres-midi d’un faune, sexualized choreography combined with Bakst’s designs challenged social mores of the day.
But his admirers were undaunted. His work elicited a fashion craze, which opened the way for brightly collared clothing with Orientalist touches like plunging V-necks, turbans, and tribal jewelry. His set designs were no less influential, and for many years to come, divans and floor cushions were used to evoke a bit of Scheherazade’s enchantment.”
It’s always fun to look at where trends are now and where they are headed but it can be just as fun looking back and following them along their colorful way.
Click the link below for more on fashion and the ballet.
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 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!
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 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 24, 2013 § 2 Comments
July 24, 2013
Prior to the 1940s and Alex Steinweiss, a graphic designer and art director known for inventing album cover art, records were sold in plain brown wrappers.
In the 60s, album covers and concert posters frequently emulated the LSD experience with frenetic collages, undulating type, and hallucinogenic color.
But even before that, somewhere in between the bold graphic Steinweiss style or the trippy visuals of Wes Wilson or Peter Max, there was something else brewing in the minds of the average American musician who was looking to put out an album.
The August issue of Print, a bimonthly magazine about visual culture and design, highlights the unsung heros of these albums.
The book Enjoy The Experience: Homemade Records 1958-1992 by Sinecure Books is a compilation of the best (worst ?) in album art. Editor Johan Kugelberg says this about the book “Enjoy the Experience explores a slice of American culture with tales from well-known musicians to more obscure artists, such as pizza parlor organists. Some of these record covers are really laugh-out-loud funny, and some of the music and people are too…”
Which of these genres speaks to your visual sensibilities? Do you have any albums that you have just for their cover art?