April 2, 2017 § Leave a comment
The International Home and Housewares show is one of our favorite destinations every March. This show is not just about potato peelers, that is for sure. There are some fabulous new products presented every year, from kitchen appliances (including glamorous espresso makers), to tabletop, (both elegant and casual), to wellness products, and hundreds of other items.
It is held at McCormick Place in Chicago, one of my favorite venues for its beautifully staged ballroom decorated with plants or floral arrangements and special lighting to reflect the Pantone color of the year. This year it was decorated with plants, most appropriate to “Greenery.” There were many of my color friends in the audience, some of whom have not missed a show since I first started to speak there 19 years ago!
Bridget Frizee of Kehoe Design in Chicago, Lee Eiseman, Melissa Bolt
Melissa Bolt, my associate, went with me. I am forever grateful for the design and imagery she puts together, including the arrangement of the colors that show the origin and direction of the eight color palettes for home that I presented for 2018. Large boards showing the forecasted palettes are also mounted in the Lakeside area of McCormick, each one complete with coordinating products in display cases.
We enjoy looking at some of the displays for new products that are also mounted at the show. This year one of the winners was Nicole Norris, a college student who designed a new ironing board. We certainly do see that as a winning idea!
On the first day for my keynote, I was introduced by Perry Reynolds, Vice President of Marketing and Trade Development, my good buddy, who is retiring and his cheery personality will be sorely missed. On the second day, I was introduced by Vicky Matranga, another delightful friend, who is Design Programs Coordinator for IHA where she manages the Student Design Competition and the Housewares Design Awards, coordinates displays, and organizes the DesignTheater and design-related events for the annual show. Vicky is also a collector of housewares items with an attic full of the products that grandma would have thought very high tech in her day (such as waffle irons and steam irons and Waring Blendors (yes, it is spelled with an “o”— a bit of a branding technique in those days.)
Many of you asked where my necklace came from. I recently discovered a local (Seattle) jewelry artist named Melanie Brauner for Verso www.versojewelry.com. What a talent!
July 21, 2014 § 1 Comment
July 21, 2014
Building a case for “slime green”
If you were playing a word association game, what would be your immediate response to the word “green?” Would you visualize the brilliant blue-green of a tropical ocean, a verdant bed of velvety moss, silver-green willow branches, the lush deep green of a pine scented arbor, the sophisticated sparkle of emeralds, or the sickly yellow-green associated with nausea and mold or slimy, scary creatures?
As the range of green is enormous, so are the possibilities of positive or negative associations.
If you are one who views the yellow-greens as “slimy” and associate the color with negative associations, this blog post is for you.
In my book Colors For Your Every Mood, I wrote about “Slimy Green” and the many associations (see opening paragraph) with the color being connected to things of an unappealing nature. Today, I would like to discuss a few positive attributes of “slime green.”
As the color may differ for each purpose, the greens that fall in the bright, neon, and fluorescent family are best suited for safety.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the National Safety Council recommend that kids and adults “…always wear neon, fluorescent, or other bright colors when riding day or night.”
One bicycle enthusiast’s blog titled “THE DECIDEDLY UNFASHIONABLE CHARTREUSE SAFETY VEST” where he writes about the joys/pains of wearing such a color: safety versus fashion?
It’s not much of a choice, when you think about it.
Another area to highlight (pun intended) is the use of highly-visible clothing as worn by workers who are around moving vehicles.
The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) identifies their criteria for “high-visibility safety apparel” as any clothing worn that has highly reflective properties or a color that is easily discernible from any background.” They also have this to say about the standard:
“The International Safety Equipment Association (ISEA) is ‘the trade association for manufacturers of safety and personal protective equipment’. ISEA is accredited by the ANSI as a standard developing organization.”
So, the next time you are turning your nose up at the sight of those sulfuric yellow-greens, keep in mind that the color is keeping your loved ones alive whether they are in the field or on the streets.
Remember: with color it is CONTEXT, CONTEXT, CONTEXT.
Did I change your mind on yellow-green?
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?
December 13, 2012 § 2 Comments
December 13, 2012
Lorraine DePasque is a Style/Trends editor for instoremag.com. She has interviewed me many times before and we are often on the same “wavelength” when it comes to spotting trends. This was especially evident when it came to Emerald. I often tell people at my presentations to look to high end jewelry for future influence.
You can say that Lorraine had her (Emerald clad?) finger on the pulse of this one considering that she posted this blog back in April. Click the link below to read Lorraine’s rationale of Emerald in terms of jewelry.
November 26, 2012 § Leave a comment
November 26, 2012
Comic Books for Social Change
This is no news: comic books are a well-known powerful media to send social messages. There are many examples of successful experiences that connect them with positive social change all over the world.
Comic book characters have a lot of power because they can do anything and everything and also have the potential to engage a super broad audience in age, background, and reading skills. That, and our love of color, design, the environment, storytelling and teaching is what pushed Veronica and me into this adventure.
She is a graphic designer and illustrator, I am a teacher and a writer and together we founded and manage Musgo Comunicación Visual, a design studio based in Caracas. But we wanted to give something back, so we also teamed up to build Patrulla Verde, an environmental NGO devoted to producing free educational contents via the Web, some in print, as well as public speaking in schools, colleges, community centers, companies and even malls and public spaces.
We pooled together our talent and experience in an effort to send an environmental message conductive to action to children and adolescents in the Spanish-speaking community, which at least in our neck of the woods, lacks resources and local information and direction. Three years later we are trying to reach English speaking kids as well.
Vero created four endearing characters and together we made meaning out of them. Tomas represents all themes related to water, Zoe embodies renewable energy, Lucas defends biodiversity and Beto, the bunny, is the only “non-human”, and he gives voice to the other more than 10,000,000 species with whom we share the planet. His theme is global warming.
Choosing a color palette was a challenge because the characters had to each have their own identity but also, when pooled together into a vignette or drawing, they had to look in harmony, as part of a team.
Beto and Lucas are a twosome, they play together and joke together and that’s why they both wear the same red hat. Nobody else wears red, but for each one of the other two characters there are blues and greens that obviously talk about nature. Tomas’s orange hair and darker skin are in line with him being a laid back, beach-loving kid. And Zoe’s hot pink speaks of fun, bubbly, the color of an empowered girl that, although super feminine, is opinionated and fierce when she knows she is right.
Regarding the backgrounds, the predominant color of a page is always related to the mood and atmosphere of the storyline… which means that the writer, ejem! …that’ll be me, is the true trendsetter here, because it is she who decides if the situation is a comedy or a drama, if it’s day or night, indoors or outdoors, happy or sad. It is actually a lot of fun to set new challenges in each story for Vero!
In this particular issue, Animal Defenders, she chose happy bright colors for happy bright moments and darker ones that vary if it is just night or a scary situation, or a suspenseful, stressful one. When the characters are able to reflect upon their experience light comes again, but in a different way than in the happy beginning. This is a less saturated shade of yellow, paired with light grays because it is later in the day, and deeper into the kids’ thought process.
Learning about psychology of color in Lee’s seminars and workshops has proven to be an extremely powerful tool to better the work we do, and to engage the population we want to reach. Patrulla Verde-in this case Veronica-was even showcased in Green Graphics, a publication by Catalonian publisher Index Books (2011), for our characters, logo and image.
We are extremely thankful to Lee to allow us to share our work with her followers and friends through this amazing window.
Thanks a million, Lee!!
-Veronica Ettedgui & Toti Vollmer
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.
February 13, 2012 § 1 Comment
October 10, 2011 § Leave a comment
October 10, 2011
Patrick Di Justo from Wired Magazine shares some insight into a child’s toy box staple, Play-Doh. We thought it worthy of sharing especially because it mentions one of our favorite subjects and of course, that would be color.
Di Justo writes: “When introduced in 1956, Play-Doh came only in off-white. Red, blue and yellow were added in the next year, and a rainbow of other hues followed. Now it’s available in 43 colors, and all of them meet the American Society for Testing and Materials standard for nontoxicity.”
August 19, 2011 § 2 Comments
August 19, 2011
I know this isn’t the typical color story that we like to share but it was so visually interesting that we thought it just might work. I always thought of ants as more of a nuisance rather than backyard entertainment but Mohamed Babu has found a way to change that perception. Babu found if you have some sugar, food coloring, paraffin wax and a quick hand you have the opportunity to turn an ant swarm into an art form (of sorts).
I wonder if the ants had negative reactions to the red food coloring?