Color Inspiration: Sushi

Color Inspiration: Sushi

Food seems a popular source of color inspiration here at COLOURlovers and one of my favorites types of food is sushi.

So while searching for other COLOURlovers who might also be sushi lovers, I was pleasantly surprised to be in good company after stumbling across subsomatic’s all-you-can-eat-sushi post. And, after a quick keyword: sushi search, I discovered 130+ palettes inspired by sushi!

Raw Fish?

OK, for some, the words raw and fish hardly sound appetizing but fresh raw fish is served in many ways and in many different countries and cultures. Carpaccio, ceviche, poke, tartare, gravlax are just a few.

But, sushi is not raw fish. In Japan, sliced fresh raw fish served alone is called sashimi. Also, sushi can be sushi with fish — cooked or uncooked — or without fish. What makes sushi different from sashimi is the sushi rice (rice with vinegar or shari). Since sushi is created in a variety of ways depending on the combination of ingredients, sliced fresh raw fish prepared with sushi rice is just one variation of this culinary art form.

Red Snapper sashimi
img by ulterior epicure

Fast Food Origins

While often perceived as designer food especially when dolled up and served in upscale establishments, sushi as it is known today, originates from the streets of Tokyo. It all started with one man with a simple stall:

Yohei Hanaya, was the first person to shape vinegared rice with his hands and then crown it with a slice of raw fish - prompted, it's said, by impatient customers, who couldn't be bothered to wait for the traditional pressing in a box.

(Source: The Observer Food Monthly)

Apparently his creativity became all the rage simply because of convenience. It was the finger food 1820’s Tokyo. And, even then because of the lack of refrigeration, debate continues about how much of Mr. Hanaya’s sushi fish was actually served raw.

Global Variation on a Theme

Nigiri sushi hasn’t changed much in the last couple of centuries and still remains one of the more popular types of sushi perhaps only second to maki sushi.

For those not familiar with the difference, here’s a quick rundown (with photos) of some of the more common types of sushi:

Nigiri sushi: Prepared with a small mound of sushi rice formed by the hands into an oval shape with a topping such as sliced fish. A small amount of wasabi is placed between the sushi rice and topping. Sometimes it is wrapped with thin band of nori, a type of seaweed.
Plate of Nigri Sushi
img by kenyai

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Interview with Richard Sarson - Graphic Artist

Interview with Richard Sarson - Graphic Artist

Richard Sarson  

Richard Sarson
Location: London, UK
Originally hails from: Midlands, UK
Education: BA '04 and MA '06 from the Royal College of Art

I stumbled upon Richard Sarson’s work via Circa1979 and was immediately entranced. His work is hypnotic and intriguing in its complexity created with simple materials and forms. Richard was kind enough to share a bit of his methodology, inspirations, and admit a small fear of colour.

CL: Please tell us a bit about your background:

Sarson: I am a graphic artist living in London. I create work across the fields of art and design and by doing so attempt to question established methods of production and ways of thinking.

CL: How did you find your way into design?

Sarson: I have always enjoyed drawing and I think I was set on an art-based path right from the start. My interest in design has evolved due to a combination of an obsessional personality and a love for composition in art.

Richard Sarson’s “Secret”

CL: Most creative people tend to cringe or joke about math and science. Your work seems heavily influenced or constructed upon it. What is your take on the relationship between science and art?

Sarson: Often they are seen as opposites, scientific order versus artistic chaos, to me they are very similar in the sense that they are both composed of loose-ends and bits that don't add up. Science and art both have an imposing authority to them but really they are just someone thinking 'what happens if I do that?'. How the microwave was invented is not really that far in spirit from Marcel Duchamp putting a bicycle wheel on a stool and in the process questioning the whole idea of art. I tend to work in scientific way, often I will spend time on a drawing as an experiment simply to see what it will look like, sometimes it is a good outcome other times not so good, then I move on. I like to work on newsprint and use cheap materials because there is no precious, art-like quality about it, each one is an experiment that doesn't really have an end point.


CL: Circles have made a frequent appearance in your work. Why circles?

Sarson: I think the simplicity of a circle is beautiful. I don't intentionally focus upon that shape. My drawings are more about the points where the compass sits; I work in a structured way so the framework is usually the thing most visible. There is also something really lovely about drawing a line and finding yourself right back where you started.

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Pantone Colors Found in the Real Life

Pantone Colors Found in the Real Life

When it comes to Pantone + COLOURlovers, you could say we both love color... but I think of them more as the parents from the 50s who live long happy lives together but sleep in separate beds... as we might be more of the free-lovin hippies of the 60s... not that there is anything wrong with that. All kidding aside Pantone does a pretty crazy job of allowing people to translate colors across industries. If you want the yellow of your website, to match the yellow of your car's paint to the yellow of your favorite yellow speedos... they've created color software and specifications to make sure you always get the perfect hue.

Thanks to Tina at SwissMiss I found a wonderful photo of leaves matches to their pantone colors and sought out to find more photos of people comparing colors in their real lives to their pantone cousins.

Chris Glass is a creative guy who takes lots of fun photos... one I particularly love is one he took back in Oct. that showcases the range of colors a single tree can produce as the seasons change.

"I’m obsessing over all the maples that are turning slowly this season–their tops red, fading to green. So much that I felt compelled to collect samples from a single tree."

img by chrisglass
First Changes Fully Fall

Pantone Matching Photoset by RIVET sf

Linked from Chris' page was a Pantone Matching Photoset with lots of fun office color finds.

img by mdsf_gone_wild

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Blonde Pony Tails: The Human-Horse Connection

Blonde Pony Tails: The Human-Horse Connection

Humans have been fascinated by white horses for millennia. Geneticists have now pinpointed the "genetic architecture" that connects blonde manes in people and equines. The study of white horses goes all the way back to ancient Rome, where depigmented horses were identified as "candidus" (white) or "glaucus" (gray). The PLoS Genetics journal notes that two thousand years ago, the white horse was held sacred by the Saxons. It served as an augur for the German tribes, its behavior considered a sign of divine approval or disapproval. The white horse was so revered that it featured on the flags of Lower Saxony and North Rhine-Westphalia. Even earlier, white horses were celebrated by the Celts in Great Britain. The White Horse of Uffington (Oxfordshire, England) is Bronze Age hillside artefact, dating back approximately 3,000 years. The figure of a 374-foot long horse (perhaps representing the Celtic horse goddess Epona) was cut into the soil, its white coat naturally pigmented by the chalk beneath the turf.

cwalker71.jpgimg by cwalker71.

The PLoS Genetics journal points out that most white horses carry a "graying-with-age mutation." They are born with a solid-coloured coat which turns white by age of four to six. However, occasionally a pony is born with a solid white coat. Take, for example, the solid white mare named Cigale, born in 1957 out of solid brown parents from the Swiss Franches-Montagnes Horse population. Geneticists have studied all of Cigale's white-born descendants and isolated an inherited mutation in their pigment forming cells. Different horse populations, such as white Thoroughbreds, Arabians, and Camarillo White Horses, reveal independent pigmentation mutation events. In other words, the white horses in each equine family exhibit their own special brand of mutation leading to their white coats. But the common chromosomal factor appears to be what geneticists call the KIT gene, responsible not only for white horses but also for blonde people.White horses appear in the religious literature of many lands. Here's a small sampling:

  • In the New Testament's Book of Revelation, one of the four horsemen of the Apocalypse rides a white horse.
  • In Japan, the white horse is a Shinto symbol of purity and divine authority.
  • In Islam, the Prophet ascended to heaven on the back of a white horse.
  • In Hinduism, the god Kalki rides a white horse while brandishing a comet-like sword.
  • In Nordic lore, the god Odin rises a white horse named Sleipnir.
  • In Greek mythology, the white and winged Pegasus sprang from the blood of Medusa when Perseus decapitated her.

Here is some blonde ponytail inspiration from the COLOURlovers library:White Horse White Horseswhite horse sign PeaceOf White Horsesplatinum blonde golden the pony boyWhite horses ponytail.smoked white hair Ride A White Horsehorsey Sixth White HorseCover img by superdove.

Craig ConleyAbout the Guest Author, Craig ConleyWebsite: http://www.OneLetterWords.comCraig is an independent scholar and author of dozens of strange and unusual books, including a unicorn field guide and a dictionary of magic words. He also loves color: Prof. Oddfellow
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New Year’s Colors: The Korean Hanbok

New Year’s Colors: The Korean Hanbok

Whether celebrated January 1st or the Lunar New Year (February 7, 2008), New Year’s Day (seol nal ) ranks high in Korean culture. It’s a celebratory family affair with the exchange of gifts (usually money), games, lots of food, wishes of fortune, and blessings.

It is also one of the special occasions when Koreans dress in the hanbok, the traditional Korean dress and pay respect to their elders (sehbe) with a deep bow and the greeting, “seheh boke mahnee pahdtu sae yoh”.

Korean dolls dressed in hanbok
img by bebouchard

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Colors of Bonnaroo: a Music and Arts Festival

Colors of Bonnaroo: a Music and Arts Festival

As another year closes, many bloggers are creating their Best of 2007 lists. My top choice in color this year isn’t a specific hue, palette, or pattern. The most vibrant example of a color community I experienced in 2007 was the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival in Manchester, Tennessee.

img by muzikspy

The photo above is of The Flaming Lips’ midnight-performance on Saturday of Bonnaroo, where super-heroes passed out piercing, red lazer-pointers to nearly 10,000 eager fans. The crowd was sea of bizarre costumes, balloons, bodies, and sweeping alien-blue lights, all crossed and marked by thousands of brilliant red lines. On stage, the equipment was painted bright orange, with outlines of yellow. A gang of fuzzy, red suit Santas cheered on the right, while on the left a group of green-headed aliens kicked and danced from the bottom of their white, feminine stockings to the top of their short, purple skirts.

Insane Amounts of Celebration

Although Bonnaroo has gotten too crowded, too publicized, too expensive, and unfortunately branded as a drug playground, the festival still beckons some of America’s youngest artists to celebrate the power of music.

img by joshunter

Nestled in the Tennessee hills, Bonnaroo doesn’t give artists a chance to present their work, especially now that RV campers are excluded from the regular campers, as much as it gathers artists to remind them that there are thousands of like-minded individuals scattered all over the greater midwest, and even the world.

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Color and Typography in Good Design

Color and Typography in Good Design

Typography is a significant issue for designers. On many projects, finding just the right font, size, spacing, etc. can require considerable time and attention. In addition to typography, color is also a major factor in the success of the design. What is sometimes overlooked is the combination of color and typography and the effect that it has on the overall project.

Font Size, Line Height & Contrast

Before we even get to the color and contrast elements of typography, we first should look at how dramatic a small font increase and line height increase can improve readability and reduce eye fatigue. The first example below uses 11pt font with matching 11pt line height. The second example uses 12pt font with 13pt line height. Example two is significantly easier to read.

Example 1: (11pt Font, 11pt Line Height)
The next moment a hideous, grinding speech, as of some monstrous machine running without oil, burst from the big telescreen at the end of the room. It was a noise that set one's teeth on edge and bristled the hair at the back of one's neck. The Hate had started.

(12pt Font, 13pt Line Height)
The next moment a hideous, grinding speech, as of some monstrous machine running without oil, burst from the big telescreen at the end of the room. It was a noise that set one's teeth on edge and bristled the hair at the back of one's neck. The Hate had started.

Even with well sized type and line heights, choosing a font color and background color with low contrast can make reading difficult and stresses the eyes of the reader.

(12pt Font, 13pt Line Height - Low Contrast)
The hallway smelt of boiled cabbage and old rag mats. At one end of it a coloured poster, too large for indoor display, had been tacked to the wall. It depicted simply an enormous face, more than a metre wide: the face of a man of about forty-five, with a heavy black moustache and ruggedly handsome features. Winston made for the stairs. It was no use trying the lift. Even at the best of times it was seldom working, and at present the electric current was cut off during daylight hours.

More Bad Contrast Examples:

Example 2: (12pt Font, 13pt Line Height - Low Contrast)
The hallway smelt of boiled cabbage and old rag mats. At one end of it a coloured poster, too large for indoor display, had been tacked to the wall. It depicted simply an enormous face, more than a metre wide: the face of a man of about forty-five, with a heavy black moustache and ruggedly handsome features. Winston made for the stairs. It was no use trying the lift. Even at the best of times it was seldom working, and at present the electric current was cut off during daylight hours.

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Hair Color: A History of Follicle Hue Adjusting

Hair Color: A History of Follicle Hue Adjusting

Hair color has long affected humans' social perception of each other, so it's no surprise that people have gone to great lengths to alter their hair color throughout history – from putting red earth in their hair to risking scalp burns from peroxide.

Natural Hair Colors

Two pigments give hair its natural color - eumelanin and pheomelanin. Eumelanin can be black or brown, and determines the darkness of hair color. Blonds have low concentrations of brown eumelanin, while brunettes have a high concentration of the pigment. Black hair contains more black eumelanin, while a low concentration of black eumelanin results in gray hair. The second type of pigment, pheomelanin, is red. Redheads, of course, have hair containing more pheomelanin than those with other hair colors; however, all human hair contains pheomelanin in varying concentrations.

Black Hair
By far the most common natural hair color, black hair occurs in people of all backgrounds and ethnicities.

Black Hair
by athena.

Brown Hair
Brown hair is also found all over the world, and is popularly associated with intelligence, trustworthiness, and success.

Brown Hair Color

Blond Hair
Natural blond hair is relatively rare, due to its association with recessive genes. It can range in color from pale platinum to a dark golden shade, and occurs in approximately 2% of the world population, with the majority of natural blonds being of European descent. Since early Christian times, blond hair has been associated with being angelic and youth. Today, it is also associated with glamour.

Natual Blonde Hair

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Color Science: Inventing New Colors?

Color Science: Inventing New Colors?

Is it humanly possible to invent a new color? Rochester Institute of Technology Professor Mark Fairchild says "yes"! In fact, he suggests that all observant people invent new colors at various times of their lives.

Dr. Fairchild explains: "As a color scientist, I think of colors as perceptions, that is things that we see. Of course those perceptions are not just caused by our brain (except when we are dreaming); they are caused by how our eyes and brain respond to the world around us. For color it is the light and objects that we are responding to. Most people would take this question to mean 'has anyone invented a light or object of a new color?' Personally, I have not, but I have invented new ways to understand and describe how we perceive and produce colors in places like the movies. Other people certainly have invented new materials that produce colors that people couldn't make before. Things like new paints, new inks, new kinds of televisions. That has happened often through the history of science. But, if we come back to color being a perception, then it is even easier to say that we invent new colors. I think we all do it quite often if we pay attention to the world around us. Have you ever had a time when you looked at something and it seemed like a totally new experience? Maybe a special rainbow, or a peculiar bird, or a strange way the light bounces around your room? If you have noticed a new experience like that, then I think you could say you have invented a new color. That is because color is truly a perception that is unique to you and any new color experiences could be considered 'inventions.' I like to just think of them as interesting parts of our world that make it fun to study science; in my case color science."

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Teardrops as Prisms of Color

Teardrops as Prisms of Color

Intense moments in life can bring tears of both joy and pain. There can also be tears of something that transcends bodily feelings and emotions. These are tears of realization, when a union of some sort transforms into communion, or a passion transforms into compassion. "Bliss" might be the best word for this tearful state of being, though words are too limited. One way to inspire such tears is to look deeply into someone's eyes and to hold the gaze.

A friend once shared the insight that teardrops are prisms, reflecting and refracting angles and colors of life that can't be seen with dry eyes. Mozambique author Mia Couto suggests that tearful eyes are liquid conduits to the world of the unconscious, and that through the prism of a teardrop you can see visions of things not as you wish they were but as they really are. It's as if teardrops dissolve away one's defensive walls to reveal the archetypes dwelling in the background, the mythology taking place beneath the surface of the workaday world.

Throughout the ages, the joys, pains, and revelations of life have invited artists to gaze through teardrop prisms and to share their visions. Following is a small sampling of teardrop-inspired color palettes from the COLOURlovers library.

bottled tears Blue tears

Tears Of A Dragon Happy Tears

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