Human Color Forecaster Or Robot Stand-In? Who Would You Trust With Your Brand Identity?

April 21, 2014 § 3 Comments


April 21, 2014

 

As a general rule, evolutionary alterations are less risky than revolutionary changes. However, with changing times and expectations in the marketplace, some risk-taking can be a real attention getter. It should be a calculated, thoughtful and intelligent change that can be backed up with a meaningful rationale. 

This is not something I can see a robot taking into consideration.

Earlier in April Esquire.com posted an article by Andrew Luecke called Welcome to the High Stakes World of Color And Branding. The following quote is from Andrew’s article, “A paper by researchers at the Institute of Textiles and Clothing at Hong Kong Polytechnic University found that due in part to the accelerated production schedule of fast fashion, color forecasting that “depends on the personal experience and judgment of the field of experts,…is often found underperforming,” while “artificial intelligence models, especially artificial neural network and fuzzy logic models‚… help to improve the forecasting of fashion color trends.”

Look a little closer at the motivation of the study, “fast fashion” and saving money. Have we learned nothing about our obsession with cheap, in light of the tragedies in Bangladesh?

The argument can be made in support of robots doing the work for humans. I’m not sure this would be the smart decision when it comes to making color decisions. Change for the sake of change is not necessarily a good idea, and I’ll tell you why.

Color is not the only means of attracting attention. There are other considerations as well:

the shape of the package

the “fit” in the hand

the texture (rough or smooth)

the finish (shiny or matte)

the perceived weight of the object

the graphics

All of the above can be further enhanced and made even more suggestive by the proper, intelligent use of color. A very important aspect of these visual tempters is called the “sensorial cues.” These cues link colors to all the senses and conjure up thoughts and perceptions of how the product will taste, smell, feel and in some cases, sound.

When the senses play such a large role in our daily choices, it is easy to see why a robot would not make a good color consultant. Human emotion and reaction cannot be sensed by a robot. The dialogue between client and consultant can often lead to discoveries of negative color responses. The discovery of negative color association is best handled with care and compassion, which can lead to new ideas on color and one’s perception. I couldn’t imagine trying to communicate those negative color responses to a computer. Could you?

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Some things are better left to a human being who is capable of emotional understanding and color psychology. I can’t help but think of how frustrating self-checkout is at the store. I wouldn’t leave such emotional work to a machine. Your feelings matter and communicating those feelings to a robot seems counter productive.

Numbers and algorithms cannot make up for the human experience. Not to mention the lives that are spared by not supporting such unsafe work practices and consumer drive.

Who Picks the Colors That Make You Spend Your Dough? – Welcome to the High Stakes World of Color and Branding – Esquire.

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Vetting Color Studies: Red Plate, White Plate, Or Blue Plate Special?

January 27, 2014 § 5 Comments


January 27, 2014

I am always intrigued by trending or popular stories that are making their way around the web. I have been known to indulge in my fair share of sharing of colorful infographics and eye catching imagery, thank you, Pinterest. But once the initial glow of awe has dissipated it is then when the real work gets started.

In the color business it is crucial that information be correct when it comes to color as our upbringing and personal experiences shape our lives and perceptions of things. Often our personal feelings can override our objective behavior and we can set things into motion that may not be exactly as they appear. This is especially important in color matching when you are seeing things online versus in person. It is here that I might add the disclaimer that everything you read/see on the internet is not true.

Let’s talk specifically about the most recent color goodie from Google Alerts, that came across my computer screen titled ‘Forget the blue plate special: Have the red plate dieter’s meal’ by Tom Jacobs for Salon.com.

Are these plate studies confusing you?

Are these plate studies confusing you?

Here is an excerpt. “…the takeaway from a recent study by researchers from the University of Parma in Italy, published in the journal Appetite.

The researchers served test subjects popcorn and chips on crockery of various colors, and found that the snackers sampled smaller amounts when the items were offered on red plates. The subjects reported the same level of enjoyment of the treats regardless of what they were served on, suggesting the plate color made the difference.

The researchers theorize that red—due to either cultural associations such as traffic lights or biological ones such as blood—is linked in our minds with “danger and prohibition.” 

It sounds compelling. Let’s take a closer look at the actual study. Here is the Abstract.

“Recent literature suggests that individuals may consume less food when this is served on red plates. We explored this intriguing effect in three experiments. Independent groups of participants were presented with constant amounts of popcorns, chocolate chips, or moisturizing cream, on red, blue, or white plates. They were asked to sample the foods (by tasting them) or the cream (by rubbing it on the hand and forearm) as they wished and to complete mock “sensory analysis” questionnaires. Results confirmed that red plates reduce taste-related consumption and extended this effect to the touch-related consumption of moisturizing cream. Suggesting that the effect was not due to a decrease in the consciously experienced appeal of products on red plates, overall appreciation of the foods or cream did not differ according to plate color. After careful photometric measures of the materials used for each food-plate pairing, we determined that food and cream consumption was not predicted by Michelson (achromatic) contrast. Although the origin of the intriguing effect of the color red on consumption remains unclear, our results may prove useful to future potential explanations.”

The results were “unclear.” I wonder why that part didn’t make it into the article.

I hope none of you ran out to get those red plates. I too get excited about new studies (especially those on color) that come out but I have learned to take the extra time to trace the information back to the original study to fact check as the information has a way of getting twisted just enough to create a buzz.

We may be a nation in need of dietary assistance but preying on our insecurities and color assumptions or misinformation, is not the way to go about it. As seekers of color truths, it is our responsibility to change the color conversation to properly reflect colors’ true psychology.

What Is Your Favorite Color?

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?

Something Old. Something New. Something Borrowed That’s Not True About Blue

May 2, 2012 § 3 Comments


May 2, 2012

I hope my readers will forgive my taking a moment to vent. I love that there is more information available on the web concerning color psychology, when it is properly vetted and accurate. But I really dislike the propagation of information that is based on old information and urban legends. For example, the following article appeared on a graphic design website . It is attractively done and I am certain that these people mean well, are interested in educating others and are trying to show the importance of color, so please read the following copy and look for my comments at the end.

 

 

{BLUE} The color of peace and tranquility. It’s been stated that people are more productive in blue rooms. Although, be careful. It can cause feelings of sadness…we don’t want to cause people to have “A case of the Monday’s”. While blue can calm people, it can also decrease your appetite. People typically stay away from blue foods (aside from blueberries and plums)…blue is usually an indication that something has spoiled or is poisonous. If you want to eat less, eat off of a blue plate. 

{FUN BLUE FACT}: In Columbia, Blue is associated with soap. Yep, soap. Can’t get more random than that!

 Leatrice Eiseman says:

Love that you are promoting the use of color and helping to educate people about it, but sorry–there are no definitive studies about blue suppressing appetite. As matter of fact, blue china and dinnerware is a big seller all over the world, cobalt blue glasses and glass plates are very popular (think Williams Sonoma and Mexican glassware) so you would think there would lots of thin people as a result, whereas people are getting fatter, especially in U.S. That is an urban legend, especially when blue berry flavors are mixed in smoothies, drinks and with yogurts. There are blue potatoes now, blue corn chips, blue m&ms, blue sweet enticements on cakes and pastries. My advice is not to pick up on the old urban legends without checking more recent and credible info. I have written seven books on color, have three websites and a blog and am always looking at more current info to update the old legends that simply are no longer true.

 

One more point; as I point out in my books, not all blues speak of serenity. There are electric blues,that, just as the name implies, speak of excitement and high energy.

What Colors Will Make Me Look Sexy?

March 1, 2012 § 1 Comment


March 1, 2012

 

I wrote in a previous post about a woman’s response to men in red shirts titled Why He’s So Hot where I noted that “Red is a very expressive colour, ” adding that it represents passion, love and sex. Plus, wearing this sensual hue can add a subtle flush to skin tone.”

Today, in the Huffington Post there is an article about women in red titled Red Dress Effect where they share a study out of the University of Rochester in New York state that says “Red dresses muddle men’s minds….” Color studies always fascinate me and this one got me thinking about a question I was asked many years ago, “What colors will make me look sexy?”

Below is my response from The Color Answer Book.

What one person finds appealing, another may not. However, the color that shows up most frequently on color word association tests as the sexiest shade is a vibrant Lipstick Red. It’s a sexual signal that many animals and birds use to attract the opposite sex and, interestingly, humans do as well. They flush and blush, turning red with embarrassment or sexual energy. They use cosmetic enhancements like reddish lips, nails (fingers and toes), and cheeks.

It is the color that most represents sensuality in many cultures as it is often used symbolically to broadcast availability or preparation for marriage and mating rites. The use of red as a sexual signal by primitive tribes for body painting and dyes ultimately translated to a more sophisticated use of sensuous red in modern day makeup and clothing.

Do you wear red to entice the opposite sex? Does wearing red make you feel empowered?

For more on the psychology of color you might be interested in Color: Messages and Meanings.

Red Dress Effect: Women In Red Deemed Open To Sexual Advances, Study Of Men Shows.

Milky Way White Like Snow Falling On Cedars In The Late Day

January 19, 2012 § Leave a comment


January 19, 2012

In my book Color: Messages and Meanings, I discuss color families and the messages they are sending. In color studies white is described as pure and pristine. As in the utter quiet of falling show, white expresses silence and the almost total lack of sound. It is a conciliatory color which is why the following study of the Milky Way is so fascinating.

In the article from BBCnews.com, Jeffrey Newman of the University of Pittsburgh elaborates on the importance of color to astronomers.

Astronomers have discovered that it is called the Milky Way for a reason. The actual color is white. Specifically a white “like spring snow at an hour after sunrise or before sunset.”

Jeffrey Newman states that; “For astronomers, one of the most important parameters is actually the colour of the galaxy.”

It isn’t just important to astronomers, it is important to color lovers too!

Click the link at the bottom for more.

BBC News – Astronomers weigh in on Milky Way’s true colours.

Such A Tart!

January 12, 2012 § 2 Comments


January 12, 2012

Just as there are trends in fashion, technology and color there are also food trends. Whether it be in spices or the development of a new hybrid fruit or vegetable the epicurean world is growing and changing too. I am always intrigued with food trends and studies as I am a conscious consumer and take health and well being very seriously. I have written on the subject of color and food in my book: The Color Answer Book where I answer the question “can the color of fruit and vegetables be an indicator of their healing powers”?

Ongoing research indicates that eating a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables can be extremely beneficial to our optimum health and healing. The color itself is an indicator of its curative powers. For example, eating red and purple fruits has been shown to help prevent heart disease and cancer.

Take a look at what http://www.choosecherries.com/ has to say about cherries.

“Cherries are not only good for you, but they’re also on trend as a homegrown “Super Fruit.” According to recent data, more than 9 out of 10 Americans want to know where their food comes from, nearly 80 percent say they’re purchasing “locally produced” products, and the majority is defining “local” as grown in America. And cherries deliver.

A growing body of science reveals tart cherries, enjoyed as either dried, frozen cherries or cherry juice, have among the highest levels of disease-fighting antioxidants, when compared to other fruits. They also contain other important nutrients such as beta carotene (19 times more than blueberries or strawberries) vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, iron, fiber and folate.

Emerging evidence links cherries to many important health benefits – from helping to ease the pain of arthritis and gout, to reducing risk factors for heart disease, diabetes and certain cancers.”

So as your momma always told you to “eat your veggies”, let’s include the cherries, too.

Trends: Flavor Trends for 2012.

Every Girl’s Crazy About A Colorfully Dressed Man

January 13, 2011 § 2 Comments


January 13, 2011

I have never seen such a beautiful display of peacocking. Wow!  I’m not sure if that is what you would call this but I couldn’t resist. Enjoy this link to men in all their color glory! Who could resist?

Apparently not me!


Photo from Style.com shot by Tommy Ton

Tommy Ton Shoots the Scene at the Menswear Shows.

What do you think? Do you like a man who isn’t afraid of Color?

Food coloring: Do synthetic food colors cause hyperactivity?

January 3, 2011 § 2 Comments


January 3, 2011



We here at the eiseman color blog are very interested in all things related to color. Over the weekend, we found this story about food coloring that was fascinating. Lee has been sharing the ideas of Ben Feingold with her classes for years.

Years ago I heard that Red dye No5 was the worst (extreme word for effect) thing and it should be avoided at all cost. Then this weekend we picked up a book by Michael Pollen called Food Rules that shares some simple thoughts on food like not eating cereal that turns the milk colors. I like it, simple to understand.


The children will not be pleased with this one. Consider this informative color tidbit food for thought.

Click the link for more.

Food coloring: Do synthetic food colors cause hyperactivity? – chicagotribune.com.

Black Is The New Brown

December 27, 2010 § Leave a comment


December 27, 2010

For those of you who know me, you know that I am a devout pescatarian-no meat eater. Veggies, lentils, fungi, fruit, multigrain, fish, no sugar and non-fat (except for the good fat) diet.  I am always looking for healthy tips, especially those involving color, so when Whole Living magazine published and article claiming that Black is the New Brown, my ears and eyes, perked up!—Lee

Louisiana State University researchers have found that “Black rice may unseat brown as the healthiest option”.


“Like brown rice, black rice has an outer layer of antioxidant-rich bran, which has been shown to help lower cholesterol. Unlike the bran found in brown rice, however, black-rice bran contains anthocyanins, the purple and reddish pigments also found in blueberries, grapes, and acai. These compounds decrease the risk of heart disease and cancer, among other health benefits. In fact, a spoonful of black-rice bran contains more anthocyanin antioxidants than a spoonful of blueberries…”

“A recent study of mice found that a diet that included 10 percent black-rice bran reduced swelling of inflamed skin, adding fuel to the theory that black rice may also help prevent diseases associated with chronic inflammation, such as diabetes.”

Do you have a favorite recipe that contains black rice?

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