We thought we would take a look at some of the best designed color compositions from across the web. Organized by base color, we searched through the CSS galleries over at Design Meltdown and CSS drive to find some websites whose color palettes we think are great.
BLACK + WHITE
As more people are using bicycles as their main form of transportation, especially within metropolitan areas where most people only travel a few miles everyday, sharing the roads has become more of an issue.
In an attempt to raise public awareness and start a dialog about the rights of cyclists and the problems with our current road sharing systems, people across the country, and across the world, are creating Ghost Bikes as a memorial to those who have been struck or killed while riding on the public streets.
Photo by Howard Kaplan
What Are Ghost Bikes
Ghost Bikes are bikes that have been built from scrap or donated parts that can no longer be reused. They are stripped of all unnecessary parts that could potentially be desicrated or reclaimed for scrapes, painted stark white, then fixed to the site where a cyclist has been hit or killed.
Photo by wiki
The History of Ghost Bikes
The first ghost bike was erected in St. Louis, Missouri in 2003 by Patrick Van Der Tuin. He got the idea after witnessing a cyclist get hit by a car in the bike lane. He painted and placed a bike frame with a hand painted sign using red lettering which read: "Cyclist Struck Here." Since then, similar projects have started across the US and other cities worldwide.
Today we are featuring the work of Josef Albers the famous Bauhaus teacher, painter and designer. Julie Cloutier a young artist with an eye for finding color inspiration in daily life, and Mike Womack, an interactive artist who plays between the lines of sculpture and painting to crate a unique experience of color.
Josef Albers was a professor at the famous Bauhaus before immigrating to the United States after the Nazi's closure of the school in 1933.
Once arriving in the United States, Albers began teaching at Black Mountain College in North Carolina, where his students included, Robert Rauschenberg, Cy Twombly, Ray Johnson and Susan Weil.
He most famous work, and the work featured here, is from his 'Homage to the Square' series, which included hundreds of paintings and prints that explored the interaction of color presented simply on squares. The mediums and techniques changed slightly over the 25 year span that he devoted to the series, starting as oil paintings on Masonite panel, Albers also produced the work as lithographs, and finally, as screen-prints.
Taking inspiration from her daily observations of living in New York City, Julie paired up photos with color swatches to create this wonderful little book.
Imagine distinguishing a dozen primary colors, seeing ultraviolet and infrared, and perceiving six different types of polarized light. For the giant Mantis shrimp of Australia's Great Barrier Reef, the world is colorful beyond human imagination. Reuters reports a new study by Swiss and Australian marine biologists, suggesting that Mantis shrimps need to detect minute changes in color and polarization to detect nearly invisible prey in murky seawater. They probably also use color to send sexual signals during mating. The scientific report is available online at the Public Library of Science Journal.
Photo by CybersamX
The typical mantis shrimp has emerald green eyes and a pale green or orange body, with bright yellow outlines.
- Mantis shrimp have the fastest kick in the animal kingdom: 75 feet per second. They can punch a hole through aquarium glass.
- Mantis shrimp are named for their resemblance to the praying mantis insect.
- Their coloration varies to match their habitats. The golden mantis is green when it dwells in sea grasses but tan in sandy areas. The crevice-dwelling rock mantis varies from dark green to black.
- Mantis shrimp tend to be active hunters at night.
Photo by sandstep
Here are some color palettes inspired by the Mantis shrimps:
What is color? Is it purely a portion of the electromagnetic spectrum, divisible into nanometers of wavelength and lux of intensity? Or is it a vocabulary that allows us to describe the world around us? Is color art, science, or both?
Is Blue Always Blue?
In 1984, George Orwell invented ‘Newspeak,’ a language that makes alternative thinking impossible by removing the words used to describe such thought: if you have no word for ‘revolution,’ you will not start one... Newspeak was based on the idea of ‘linguistic relativism,’ the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis. Anthropological linguist Edward Sapir and his student, Benjamin Whorf, were convinced that our language constructs our reality: that we see the world through the lens of our own language and anything not encompassed by our language is – to us, at least – unthinkable. Do we live within the confines of our own linguistic reality?
Color terms have long been a favorite testing ground for proponents and opponents of linguistic relativism alike. The color vocabularies of the world’s languages are, well, colorful, and far from identical. Russian discriminates between ‘light blue’ goluboy (голубой) and ‘dark blue’ siniy (синий). Dani, an Indonesian language, has but two words for color: mili, usually associated with dark colors, and mola, usually associated with light colors (it is more complex than this, but that’s the gist). Yet despite these fun linguistic anecdotes, generally speaking, we all share the same color palette. In the late 1970s, the World Color Survey looked at 110 languages from non-industrialized countries worldwide (it is thought that color saturation in industrialized nations skews results for languages like English and French). The survey found that when all the data was plotted, six cross-linguistic peaks emerged, corresponding to English’s pink/red, brown, yellow, green, blue, and purple. Some peaks were taller than others, and some languages had color terms that did not fit into the major peaks, but the survey provided evidence that we’re all more or less looking at the same rainbow.
Photo by -sel-
Why is Blue 'Blue?'
Human eyes have two kinds of photoreceptor cells: rods and cones. Rod cells have one type of photosensitive pigment that allows us to differentiate between light and dark and helps us detect motion. Cone cells have three types of photosensitive pigments – red, green, and blue – that allow us to see in color and in detail. Together, they tell us everything they see in the visible spectrum. But biology is only half the equation. When you look at something – the sky, for instance – your rods and cones set in motion a complex psychological process that enables you to describe what you see. This is true for all stimuli, but we’ll focus on color here.
So let’s look at the sky and see what happens. Step one is perception: your rods and cones take in the color. They tell your brain that they have perceived reflected light with a wavelength of, say, 465 nanometers. Step two is categorization: you must place what you see along the visible spectrum. Your brain says this is BLUE (all caps means it is a color category, not a color itself). Step three is lexicalization: you put that category into words: “The sky is so blue today!” The lexicalization process allows for both synonymy (RED includes both crimson and carmine) and polysemy (teal falls under both the BLUE and the GREEN categories).
But what about the Russians? Or the Dani in Indonesia? We know that neither has a word for the BLUE category, but do they still have the category?
We love color lovers, especially when they love COLOURLovers, and extra especially when they integrate COLOURlovers into their love of spreading the love of color. Such as, our member wearpalettes.
There once was a blog named The Sartorialist who changed the way fashion was viewed and how trends were passed along from city to city, for the better, we hope, as we hope all things are for the better.
One day, a graphic designer by the name of Daniel thought it would be a good idea to archive the inspirational colors of the clothing that he was seeing. Daniel turned to The Sartorialist and their archive of photos to start his journey into the creation of wear palettes. Little did he know that such an idea, was such an idea. One that would touch the hearts of so many, simply with color.
This is the story of daniel and the blog wear palettes.
About Wear Palettes
wear palettes is a blog for color and fashion inspiration. Drawing from the archives of street fashion photos from The Sartorialist, the blog has collected nearly 1600 different palettes, and allows you to search the archive using 22 different tags, if you are looking for color specific inspiration. The creator behind wear palettes is Daniel, a Swiss graphic design student who first had the idea of a clothing color database for one of his school projects.
I sat down with Daniel, at our respective computers located halfway across the world from eachother, to have an intimate chat about wear palettes, COLOURlovers, and fashion.
COLOURlovers Meets wear palettes
COLOURlovers:Tell me about wear palettes?
Daniel: It is a collection, a database of palettes taken from The Sartorialist street fashion pictures. It has almost 1600 units and I update it everyday. Also, the palettes are categorized by color and you can sort through the palettes for colors you are looking for.
As many of you know, it feels almost counterintuitive to use words to describe color. With endless possibilities of different shades and tones, one can seemingly only speak of primary colors and hope that the reader is creating the correct mixture in their head. As difficult as it may be to describe a specific color, describing the importance, and personal impact, of color all together is somewhat more of a manageable task, and many words have been said by all types of people who share a love for color, and recognize the impact it has on all of us.
We thought we would catch up on some of the top colors, palettes and patterns currently ciruclating through the community, and share some words about color from a few famous figures.
Mere colour, unspoiled by meaning, and unallied with definite form, can speak to the soul in a thousand different ways. - Oscar Wilde
White is not a mere absence of color; it is a shining and affirmative thing, as fierce as red, as definite as black. God paints in many colors; but He never paints so gorgeously, I had almost said so gaudily, as when He paints in white. - Gilbert Keith Chesterton
Colors, like features, follow the changes of the emotions. - Pablo Picasso
Why do two colors, put one next to the other, sing? Can one really explain this? no. Just as one can never learn how to paint. - Pablo Picasso
Painting is something that takes place among the colors, and one has to leave them alone completely, so that they can settle the matter among themselves. Their intercourse: this is the whole of painting. Whoever meddles, arranges, injects his human deliberation, his wit, his advocacy, his intellectual agility in any way, is already disturbing and clouding their activity. - Rainer Maria Rilke
The purest and most thoughtful minds are those which love color the most. - John Ruskin
Whether religion figures prominently into your life or you choose to try to solve the mysteries of existence without its guidance, anyone can admit there is something about the act of believing in a power greater than yourself that has tremendous appeal. Faith can lead people to express their feelings about what they believe in in a myriad of ways. One of the ways seems to be through color, as many of the world's religions display a vivid palette in the ways and hows of their worship.
Photo by wonderlane
The Robes of Monks
Tibetan monks are one of the first things one thinks of when it comes to the presence of color in religion. Their saffron robes make for a bright contrast to the solemnity of their practice. Buddha was said to have worn a monk's robe made of patches of donated cloth, so the monks wear these robes in honor of his memory, and also to draw contrast between themselves and the physical world in their quest to attain enlightenment.
Another familiar image is of the Gelukpa monks, who are of the same sect as the Dalai Lama. These monks often wear yellow, pointed hats that draw to mind the image of a plumed helmet. Chinese and Korean monks wear brown or blue robes instead of the more commonly recognized orange that Tibet favors, and Japanese monks wear black or grey robes, leaving strong color out altogether.
Photo by anna pearson
While most people also think of Tibet when then think of prayer flags, they are believed to have originated from Tibet's oldest religion, Bön, which actually predates Buddhism. There are two types of prayer flags: Lung Ta, which are the horizontal flags, and Darchor, which are vertical. Lung Ta are commonly hung on a long line that resembles a clothesline, while Darchor are usually hung on poles along their vertical edge.
For years scientist have known that chameleons' ability to change color served three purposes: camouflage, body heat regulation, and social communication. However, the most widely accepted hypothesis as to what drove this adaptation, up until now, was camouflage, but some recent research has brought new light as to why chameleons have become know as the color changers that they are, and scientist now believe that social communication is the main driver behind this adaptation.
There are more than 160 species of Chameleons known, and their body size and shape varies widely from 1 inch up to 31 inches. Most of them can be found in Africa, Madagascar and other tropical areas. While chameleons have many unique physical features, such as their independently moving eyes and extremely long tongues, their ability to change color has always been the most fascinating.
Photo by sukanto debnath
All chameleons are able to change color, with different species exhibiting different color ranges that include pink, blue, red, orange, green, black, brown and yellow.
Chameleons have specialized cells, collectively called chromatophores, that lie in layers under their transparent outer skin. The cells in the upper layer, called xanthophores and erythrophores, contain yellow and red pigments respectively. Below these is another layer of cells called iridophores or guanophores, and they contain the colourless crystalline substance guanine. These reflect, among others, the blue part of incident light. If the upper layer of chromatophores appears mainly yellow, the reflected light becomes green (blue plus yellow). A layer of dark melanin containing melanophores is situated even deeper under the reflective iridophores. The melanophores influence the 'lightness' of the reflected light. All these pigment cells can rapidly relocate their pigments, thereby influencing the colour of the chameleon.
Photo by Pashka
Scientists ran experiments on 21 species of southern African dwarf chameleons to figure out why these color-changing abilities formed.
If camouflage drove the evolution of color change, the species of chameleon that display the greatest diversity of skin coloration would have the greatest variety of backgrounds to match their habitats.
I'll never forget the first time I discovered Tokidoki. It was about two years ago, and I was walking in downtown San Francisco with a friend when I saw a girl walking down the street in front of me carrying a Tokidoki bag. Being a fan of cute art and vivid colors, I followed her (discreetly!) for several blocks, trying to identify more about her fantastic purse. Of course, it wasn't long until I had solved the mystery, and soon enough I had more Tokidoki bags than I would ever need.
Italian Tokidoki creator Simone Legno founded his company in 2005 with the help of business partners Pooneh Moohajer and Ivan Arnold. The word Tokidoki means "sometimes" in Japanese, which Legno gives more background on in the form of a little enclosure card that comes with the majority of Tokidoki products. His story started back in 2003, when Pooneh Moohajer and her husband Ivan discovered Legno's website. Pooneh was the co-founder of popular cosmetics line Hard Candy, and she saw something distinctly marketable in Legno's design style.
Legno released his first collaboration with the company Le Sportsac in Spring 2006. The bags met a tremendous reaction from fans, who soon were rabid to collect any and all things Tokidoki. To this day, the bags that are out of print fetch up to $400 on Ebay. There are also multiple fan sites who categorize all the releases and aid collectors in finding the bags they want to add to the burgeoning collections. The best of these is Tokidoki blog, which not only updates on the bags but all the other collectibles as well. It's an excellent place to begin if you find you have a gnawing hunger to own one of these delightful creations.
Legno's signature style caught the eye of the designer toy world quickly as well, and soon many collectible sculptures were available. While he has collaborated with most major designers, the most popular series seems to be the one made by STRANGECo, who released two major lines, Cactus Friends and Moofia. The Cactus Friends were small animals wearing cactus-like armor, such as the little green dog Bastardino. The Moofia series was based around milk products. Fans reacted positively to these as well, as they were not only adorable but also affordable. Having been welcomed into the designer toy universe with open arms, Tokidoki found itself reaching a whole new group of fans.