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For those of you following Leatrice Eisemen's training schedule, her 4-Day Color Training Program is off to a start this very morning in Burbank, CA. LindaHolt and ModernMuse (aka Michelle Stroescu), the two COLOURlovers who won full and half scholarship for the class back in November are excitedly enjoying their first day of learning and meeting Leatrice.
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To tide you all over until we get to do a followup with both Linda and Michelle about the class experience, Leatrice kindly took the time to answer the intriguing questions each winner had asked at the time of receiving the announcement that they had won.
Q & A From LindaHolt
Linda: I would love to know what the process is and what goes into choosing the Color of The Year?
Leatrice: I literally travel the world looking for clues. If I see a color that I think is ascending in importance, I make special note of it and then look for evidence in it gaining momentum. Fashion is always a good indicator, but it is not the only design area that must be examined. There are so much creative design areas that must be considered including graphics, the world of art, product design, home furnishings and so on . Another very important part of the choice is tapping into the “zeitgeist ‘ of the world around us and the emotional message that the color imparts. For example, with the that big gray elephant (the economy) still looming large and the concern that is being felt internationally, we would not want to choose a color that could be a “downer’. Instead we listen to people’s aspirations and try to give them a color that, at least symbolically, satisfies and encourages their needs and hopes.
We have come to the nail biting finale of the Full Color Training Scholarship Contest where two winners will get to spend four days saturated in color with Leatrice Eiseman (colorexpert.com) in Burbank, California. COLOURlovers were asked to submit a palette they connected to their life, how color impacts their life as well as how they would like to use color more, to impact the lives of others.
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We asked each finalist what they would expect to bring back from the class to apply to both their life personally and if applicable, professionally. Lastly, if they had any questions for Leatrice Eiseman. I have included these responses below. So without further adieu, because I know many of you stayed up waiting to hear...
First Place - Full Scholarship: Linda Holt
Occupation: Designer / Photographer
What she does: Owner of New Light Redesign (newlightredesign.com).
Location: Massachusetts, USA
"My intention should I win would be to apply my new color knowledge in my business. I have been doing interior color consulting for the past year but I want to take it to the next level. Like I mentioned in my application, I feel like the more I learn about color the more I realize there is to learn. Since my eye was trained for so many years as a photographer to see color as "light", the switch over to seeing color as pigment has been profound for me. I never knew until I bought Leatrice's books that color affects our moods. I guess I knew it intuitively but I am just fascinated by the whole psychology of color. Please please please pick me...I REALLY want to come. I promise I will work hard and be a good student!"
Linda's Questions for Leatrice:
1. Has Leatrice had a life long love of color and what was her path to becoming the "guru" she is today?
2. What inspires her when it comes to choosing color pallets?
3. What is the process for Pantone in choosing the much anticipated "color of the year"?
Linda has had this class on her calendar every year for at least the past two years. It is a lifetime dream for her to attend. Congratulations Linda!
First place will receive a fully paid scholarship for tuition to the Color + Design Training Program, plus a copy of the book, PANTONE® The 20th Century in Color, by Leatrice (co-authored with Keith Recker).
When it comes to your marketing arsenal as a businessperson, one of the greatest workhorses you have is your business card. From prospects to customers, your business card tells the world who you are and what you do. The question is: is it telling the story you want it to?
What Makes an Effective Business Card
What makes an effective business card has changed over time. In 2000, American Psycho taught us that clean, white or eggshell cards were the creme de la creme of business status symbols.
These days, people are turning to color as a way to stand out and be more memorable to contacts.
So, how do you choose when and where to use color or what color to use, for that matter?
If you’re a big film, tv, or theatre buff, you’ve probably witnessed a fair amount of subtext. This principle can be applied to more than just those mediums though! Today, we explore how you use the lens of subtext to look at your website and improve your digital presence by uniting your color scheme with your actual text.
First though, what is subtext? Think about it as the underlying theme or message in a conversation. In film, it can be seen with lighting choices, costumes, a character’s body language and really anything that isn’t apart of the actual dialog. I’ll use the movie Jurassic Park as an example.
There are some colors, when paired together, that just look good. They make sense, they match. There are also those colors which, put side by side, make your eyes burn. Ok, maybe not actually burn, but you know what I mean.
The question is: why? Why do certain color combinations look serene or exciting and others garish or completely boring? I want to explore the why of color combinations, some of the science and some of the psychology and how you, as a business person, can put those colors to work for you.
Covering Some Color Basics - Intro to Color Theory 101
Before we dive into the “why” of certain color schemes and how to use them to speak to your potential clients, let’s cover some color basics to make sure we’re all on the same page. COLOURlover pros and veterans, feel free to jump to the next section.
For the purpose of this post, I’ll be using the Red/Yellow/Blue color model as the primary colors on our subtractive color wheel (this subtractive wheel is what painters and artists use). For a look at the use of the Cyan/Magenta/Yellow color model used by printers, feel free to take a look at our recents posts discussing RGB versus CMYK conversions.
The Red/Yellow/Blue color model is what most of us grew up learning. Arranged in correspondence with the wavelengths of light, the original color wheel was invented by Isaac Newton. We wrote a complete history of the various color wheels recently, if you are curious and want to know more.
The color wheel that most are familiar with usually looks like this:
Secondary colors on this wheel are made by combining 2 primary colors. Likewise, tertiary colors are formed by mixing a primary and a secondary hue.
Source: Eva Williams
We’ve all seen it. We go for a visit to the doctor and the walls are a lovely, quintessential pale mint green. We go to grab a burger and milkshake somewhere and the decor boasts the archetypal red, black, white, and chrome (I’m looking at you, Five Guys, Checkers, McDonald's, Steak ‘n Shake, and In-N-Out Burger!). We sit down with a banker, lawyer, or sales representative and are surrounded by dark wood and conventional creams.
(right column: medical-logos.com & logodesignteam)
It seems that every industry has its color cliches, its norms. The question for up-and-coming businesses is whether to conform to these colorful essentials or break tradition and stand out from the crowd. Both options have their positives and negatives.
Branching Into a New Color Palette
There are certainly benefits to thinking outside the corporate color box. Not least of which would be that a new business would be easy to distinguish from others in its niche.
If every other beachside hotel in Florida makes use of pale sea-foam greens, muted oranges, and faded pinks, an upstart oceanfront bed and breakfast might do well to opt for fully saturated sunrise hues. And if every dentist office in the tri-state area chooses iconic mint green for its soothing effects, perhaps the new dentist in town could stake its claim through calming lavender tones. As we’ve established, most businesses fall neatly in either a red or blue pile. So, going for anything outside those two hues instantly lends itself to differentiation and notice.
Using Stereotypes to Your Advantage
Any small business owner will tell you that just getting their company doors open is a feat unto itself. And that doesn’t include branding, colors, or any of the things that us creatives consider fun. It’s just filing all the appropriate paperwork and jumping through the various hoops and red tape associated with opening a business. It makes sense then that so many businesses tend toward the colors already in use in their field. After all, those businesses have already gone through the branding gauntlet and come out successful on the other side.
Another aspect to the trend towards the familiar comes in catering to the needs of the consumer. If dark blue tends to be the color of financial institutions, customers come to expect it. When they enter a business exhibiting the colors common to a particular business, it reinforces for the customer that they’ve found exactly what they were looking for.
So, what do you think, lovers? Is it worth the risk to stand outside the substantial kingdoms of red and blue or is paying homage to the tried-and-true hues a better business decision? Are there any color cliches in the small business world that I didn’t talk about?
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In only four short days those of us in the United States of America will be celebrating the 235th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Along with all the history, reverence, and jubilation that accompanies such a commemoration, anyone who takes a simple trip to the grocery store will also find themselves surrounded by the familiar and patriotic hues of red, white, and blue. From the bank to the post office to the local shopping center, those three colors will be on full display.
While it is expected that businesses large and small will smatter their storefronts and window displays with the colors of United States’ federal banner, what about the rest of the year? What might those colors convey on non-holidays both solo and together?
As it turns out, the same colors that stir feelings of fidelity to country during federal holidays fare well the rest of the year as well.
Last September we posted a blog on The Colors of the Web. In that article, which analyzed where brands from the top 100 sites in the world fell on the color spectrum, the color red ran a close second to none other than blue.
Red, like blue, is a powerful color, easily identifiable and evocative. As a primary color, it is direct, easy to recognize, and maintains the integrity of the hue across many mediums. Culturally, red elicits strong emotions: in the West it is often the color associated with passion, love, warmth, vitality, and danger; in the East, red is often the color of prosperity and joy.
For businesses, red is a strong choice and one used by corporations large and small. Some well known brands that use red to great effect include:
In branding for small businesses, the importance of color continuity across mediums cannot be overstated. Color is one of the first ways a person identifies a company’s brand. Making sure those colors are seen as often as possible in as many spaces as possible is one of the best ways for an organization to increase brand recognition, build trust, and encourage loyalty in the long-term.
One of the best examples of branding through color is from one of our clients at Rise, Hart & Huntington Orlando Tattoo Company. Rise is my Orlando web design company whose main focus is to engage our client's communities through the digital space.
Who is H&H?
Founded in 2007, Hart & Huntington Orlando Tattoo Company is a division of celebrity motocross and off-road truck racer Carey Hart’s Hart & Huntington Tattoo Company. If that sounds familiar to you, you may have seen Hart & Huntington Vegas featured on A&E’s television series Inked. H&H Orlando delivers a clean, professional tattoo shop staffed with the best artists in the world.
After our initial meetings with H&H Orlando owner Chris Turck, we set about the business of honing in on look and feel that he and his team wanted to project to the world.
One of the ways we work with clients to finalize their overall design, including color choice, is to mock up one or two mood boards. A mood board is a poster that represents what a website may look and feel like. It isn’t an actual homepage design but gives the impression, through color, text, and images, of how one might want their site to look and the emotions or moods they want it to evoke.
For H&H Orlando we created two very different mood boards.
One, a bright, playful take, reminiscent of some of the excellent artwork created by their talented staff.
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