Can you remember a time when people used to write letters—by hand! Or, read books made of paper, glue and ink? As our increasingly digital world seems to be moving farther and farther away from traditional print media, companies like Paperlux step in to remind us that nothing can replace the touch, smell, weight, and color of a real hold-it-in-your-hands magazine.
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When the graphic design magazine Novum commissioned Paperlux to come up with an innovative magazine cover, the creative juices kicked into overdrive and the result is truly something spectacular to see and feel.
Paperlux, a design studio based in Hamburg, Germany, was seeking a way to focus on the palpable nature of paper. The result was a very tactile approach as a way to draw people to a colorful product sporting a geometric design that makes you ache to just reach out and feel it for yourself.
Geodesic sphere at Epcot Center in Walt Disney World (left - source)
The design was fashioned after what is called a geodesic dome (source). Although the magazine represents a much flatter version of the dome, it still has the texture and look of the real thing.
Pumpkin orange and midnight black—the predominant colors of Halloween combine the Autumn season with darkness and scary entities.
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But how did these colors really come to dominate this most unusual holiday? The truth is, when it comes to the question of the origin of the Halloween colors, it can be hard to separate the opinions from the facts.
The most common opinion about where the colors originated is steeped in the rich history of the Celtics and the Druids, with the burning of unbleached beeswax candles (orange) and ceremonial caskets draped in a black cloth.
Feng Shui candles are said to help create peace in the center of your house (source)
Now, let’s step into the world of Feng Shui, where a balance of energy reigns supreme. Believers of Feng Shui feel that the colors of orange and black were chosen because they are on opposite sides of the energy spectrum: orange is warm, happy, lively, and brings to mind the bounty of the fall harvest, while black represents mystery, void, power and protection (source).
The most obvious answer to this question is that the classic color of Autumn is orange, while black can be equated with the approaching darkness of winter.
And, if you want to get really extreme, some people claim that black and orange were the only colors left after Christmas took red and green, and Easter took all of the pastels.
Of course, Halloween colors are not just limited to orange and black, you will also see a lot of blood red, eerie green, ghostly white and deep purples. So, where do these colors come into play? Here is a plausible explanation.
Celtic wheel of the year (source)
Going back to the Celtic festival of Samhain in 700 B.C., it signified the end of the harvest and the approaching of winter, or the end of one year and the start of another. The Celts believed that ancestral spirits joined them on this day when the past and the present are about to cross paths, which is why it was also considered a “day of the dead.”(source)
All of the Halloween colors seem to implicate some kind of connection to death and dying. Red is a classic implication of blood, fire and demons, while green represents goblins, monsters, and zombies. Purple draws in a bit of the supernatural and mysticism, while white reflects ghosts, mummies and a full moon.
Stepping away from color for a moment, Halloween is also dominated by an abundance of Jack-o-lanterns and children out trick-or-treating. These traditions also have an interesting origin.
Stingy Jack (source)
Jack-o-lanterns trace back to the Irish myth of Stingy Jack who died and, finding himself rejected by both heaven and hell, was forced to roam the darkness seeking a resting place for his soul. Legend has it that he hollowed out a turnip and used it to carry a coal to light his way. This said, the first Jack-o-lanterns were carved in turnips, and only changed to pumpkins when the tradition was brought to America.
Trick-or-treating came about during the Great Irish Potato Famine. On Halloween, peasants would beg for food from the wealthy. They played practical jokes on those that refused to give them something. So, to avoid being tricked, the wealthy gave out cookies, candies, and fruit. It is easy to see how this turned into modern-day trick-or-treating. (source)
No matter what history tells us, the Halloween color palette we see today is warm, bright, fun, and sometimes a little spooky. Each color has a place in the holiday and can find a place in your life as well, whether you are wearing it, eating it, decorating with it, or simply reading about it. So, have a happy, safe and colorful Halloween!
header credit: purple bats
The launch of Mattel’s first line of Hot Wheels cars in 1968 was the beginning of what would become a big part of many of our childhoods. Almost 45 years later, Mattel estimates that about 41 million kids have grown up with their model toy cars, while the faithful enthusiasts have become collectors as adults. So, what was the secret to Hot Wheels' success?
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For starters, a constant stream of new models and concepts has enabled Hot Wheels to remain competitive. Its rivalry with Matchbox, which had a 15-year head start debuting in 1953, has resulted in a very colorful history that has transformed our entire preconception of what model toy vehicles should or should not be.
Hot Wheels 1968 Advertisement Featuring the Cheetah (source)
Often referred to by collectors as the “Sweet 16,” the first 16 cars that were released featured metallic “spectraflame” paintwork in such exotic colors as Antifreeze, Magenta and Hot Pink. Soon to follow were a collection of 48 cars released in the 1970s, which included the Paddy Wagon and models with rotating crash-panels called Crack-Ups.
Weddings are expensive. How many times have you heard you ask yourself "HOW much is/are...(insert photography, flowers, invites, food, etc)...going to cost?!" So it is no wonder the most popular question I get asked is, "How do I save money on my wedding flowers and still have a beautiful event?" My two favorite answers to that question are, use high impact colors and interesting details.
Compare this lovely bouquet I designed a couple of years ago in shades of white:
Photo by Sarah Maren
To this bouquet I designed for a Fall wedding with high impact oranges and reds:
Photo by Kight Photographers
There is a plethora of information out there from former CEO's and case studies about the many reasons why businesses fail or how to avoid failure of your small business, bad color and design is not usually one of the reasons given, but with more and more businesses existing exclusively online, color, design, and UX/UI is an issue for businesses today. It's no longer enough just to have a website. Your website is directly connected to the success of your business, and it needs to be treated as such with frequent updates, quick reactions to changing markets and, especially, the changing demands of your customers.
Today, we look at the color, design of a few companies that failed last year, and the reasons why. These highlighted companies were featured in the The New York Times article, How Six Companies Failed to Survive 2010. While many of the reasons they failed span beyond design an usability it's always a good idea to keep yourself familiar with all the pitfalls of running a business. You can read the full explanations and find out more about each company in the original article on nytimes.com.
Wesabe.com - Mr. Hedlund acknowledges, Mint had a better name and better design and was easier to use.“We wanted to help people,” he said, “but it was too much work to get that help.” - nytimes.com
The work of Daniera ter Haar & Christoph Brach, who have become better known by the name of one of their projects, Raw Color, is highly prismatic, covering the spectrum between art, design, photography and color research by mixing the powerful colors of vegetables, innovative color harvesting processes, with unique applications for print and textiles. Each project is created with an astute design sense and captured with stunningly composed photography.
The Eindhoven, Netherlands based team uses color as the 'connection between their different practices' posing questions like, 'what is the nature of a color and what is the connection to its physical state?' This post focuses on their use of photography. In a pervious post we covered their research on vegetable pigments, and we will cover their design work in an upcoming post.
This photo series is playing with the perception of stuffed birds. The written word is a reference to the former voice signature of each bird, the peeping. In Ornithology (the study of birds) this is specified by each bird species. These animals being exposed to the camera are now nothing more than an image of themselves, they are no longer flying or whistling. Via a mix of colours, letters and birds evolves an image from universal language. Our starting point was the historical collection stuffed animals from MEC in Eindhoven. 'Peep' is presented at the exhibition 'Stuffed' during the Dutch Design Week 2008, were all the participating designers are inspired from the stuffed animals, translated into their own designs. After this exhibition 'Stuffed' went on tour and was on show at Salone del Mobile, Milano 2009 and at the NAI, Maastricht 2009.
There is still something to be said (and seen!) when it comes to attracting foot traffic. If you have one of those businesses that requires you to leave your house you know exactly the kind of draw an attractive window display can have: "Oh, I was just walking by your shop and noticed your blank in the window." Without any actual research, i'm going to go ahead and say that product displays were the earliest form of visual promotion –a pile of soft grey furs draped over a conveniently located White Birch stump would have certainly helped me choose which fur trader to do business with, as opposed to the trader who had his furs stuffed into a rucksack or not on display at all!
There is a long history of window displays and the talents of window dressers. Born from visually communicating what products one was selling it has developed into an art; communicating the style and sensibilities of the strore's identity. Famed window displays at department stores in cities all over the world have pushed creativity for decades and today we see businesses connecting with artist and designers to create displays that effectively pull new customers or astray patrons into their shops.
The INDO Projects
Here are some projects that have been grabbing attention by one window display artist team in Chicago, The INDO Projects, and some other colorful examples of window displays found on The Window Shopper, The Window Display Blog & this post on My Modern Met.
One of our Woman’s History Month spotlights has fallen on Angélica Lanzini Xavier (COLOURlovers user: angelicallxx), an Influential Woman of Today who lives and teaches in the Guarapuava, State of Paraná, Brazil. She is a graduate of music with a post graduate degree in Teaching Methodology of Art. Now a teacher of the State Education Network, she is leading the next generation toward a more colourful future with her innovative teaching methods and passion for art in all its forms.
Why are bright, colorful things so cheerful and why is America so afraid of them? I've spent my whole life becoming fascinated by color and it's combinations, from fingerpaintings to oil paintings to colorful gemstone jewelry. I've often wondered why so many cultures embrace and celebrate color while my own seems to suppress and marginalize it. In Mexico, colorful living is standard practice, a way of releasing control over their lives and giving it back to God. In America, only the fringe live colorfully: artists, bohemians, hippies. Here, a colorful outfit is a sign of a dangerous mind, of an impulsive rule-breaker, of someone who's not afraid to stick out.
My mom had us playing with color as far back as I can remember. She'd set us up at the kitchen table with watercolors or crayons and we'd just go to town for hours! I remember that new boxes of sharp crayons or pristine, unmuddied watercolor sets were the most exciting presents. I used to get so distressed when, in my haste, I'd muddied up a once bright yellow pan of watercolor. Mom would always swoop in with a napkin and resuscitate my sunny friend. I suppose that this early training predisposed me to a love of colorful things.
Now I know that color exists in America, but the "adult" and the "professional" and the normal rhythm of our society lean toward quiet, somber, dignified colors. The next time you're in a crowd - look around - most outfits are composed of dark blues, greys, blacks, white, beige, khaki and forest and olive greens with the occasional red accent thrown in. Take a look at all those cars out on our roads - they paint the same picture. The next neighborhood you drive around - check out the house colors - equally drab. A culture of people who, by and large, play it safe and follow the rules and believe in protocol and proper conduct. Good news for personal safety, bad news for beauty.
The wonderful colors found everywhere in Mexican society are a natural extension of their whole cultural attitude of freedom and taking chances.
Corporate branding agencies have long valued the creation and use of Corporate Branding Standards Guides, or something lofty sounding like that. The idea behind the tool, often created as 400 page, richly illustrated books, was to communicate all the ways that the identity elements associated with the brand could and could not be used. This workhorse is often used by internal and external sources alike.
While I believe this has always been an essential item for even the smallest of firms, the web has certainly made the creation, scaling and communication of such a tool more affordable and less challenging.
While your branding standards guide may not need to be as elaborate as, say Apple, you should carefully consider and document the correct use of your identity elements in an effort to maintain consistency in all uses. I've seen two person firms struggle with using the same colors throughout basic stationary. Your style guide will help reinforce the proper use internally and act as a simple way to communicate standards to designers, printers and t-shirt shops.
I also believe a standards manual says that you think your brand is important and that's a message that will serve your culture well as you grow your brand.
You can make your guide as elaborate or casual as fits, but keep it simple and up to date and build it on the web.
Some of the more common elements you to consider addressing are: