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Today, more than ever, companies need to separate themselves from the others who share the same crowded marketplaces, and it is being done with branding and creating a unique and easily recognizable visual identity. The visual identity of a business can be one of its most valuable intangible assets, and big part of that visual identity is color.
Referring to Business Week's 'Best Global Brands 2007' (link to PDF) report, which ranks "brands which place high importance on managing the economic value of their intangible assets, and primary their brands, consistently out preform basic economic measures," we selected what may be the most easily identifiable logos in the corporate world today, then stripped them of every line and gradient to pullout just the color palettes. See if they are just as strong without the logo itself.
With more and more artists being commissioned to create original work for some of the largest skateboarding companies in the market, the skateboard deck is becoming a highly sought after medium by both artists and collectors. We thought we would take a look at some of the more colorful decks currently influencing both skateboards and art collectors. The images from Chocolate and Alien Workshop are accompanied by the writing of Sean Cliver as he talks about his life as a skateboard designer and his inspiration behind Disposable: A history of Skateboard Art, his current book highlighting over 1,000 skate board graphics from the last 30 years.
Disposable: A history of Skateboard Art: The Making Of
In my late teens and early twenties, my attitude was all piss and vinegar,
and the only time worth living or acknowledging was the present—
the classic attributes of any skateboarder, I guess. Then, without
even realizing it, 15 years passed and I found myself going, “Whoa,
how the hell did that happen?!” With this spatial wedge of time driven
between my insolent years of youthful abandon and present state of
being (which now includes a wife, son, and slightly more long-term perspective
on life), I fell into a pronounced period of reflection—mostly just
wondering how I made it out alive. Leafing through my catalog of memories—
an increasingly difficult thing to do living in California, where seasons
are nonexistent and the endless sunshine bleaches all recollections
to an indiscernible haze of months and years—I established the
one constant in all my prominent life experiences: skateboard graphics.
To make a long story short—at least for now, that is—I was just an
average kid from Wisconsin who first staked his claim in life on art and
then years later skateboarding. The combination of these two elements
ignited an unbelievable journey that would first and foremost involve
winning an “art contest” advertised by Powell Peralta in 1988, whereupon
I moved straight from the sticks of the Midwest to the spasmodic
heart of the skateboard industry in California. There I somehow managed
to live, thrive, and survive as an artist throughout one of the most
amazing and tumultuous eras in the history of skateboarding, when
graphics transformed into formidable marketing tools and pushed all
possible boundaries from sex, drugs, violence, race, religion, politics,
and copyright laws.
In honor of this month's release of the United States' redesigned five dollar bill I have been scouring through the 191 currently circulating currencies of the 192 member states of the United Nations to find some of the most colorful, unique and dramatic bank notes.
The New Five
Photo from moneycenteral.msn.com
The redesigned $5 bill was unveiled on September 20, 2007, and was issued on March 13, 2008. Previously covered here on COLOURlovers, the redesign involves some very noticeable changes, mostly for security reasons, but also in an attempt to make the bill more friendly to the visually impaired.
The new five incorporates the use of micro printing of type to make it more difficult to copy. On the front, "FIVE DOLLARS" is written inside the left and right borders. "E PLURIBUS UNUM" is printed at the top of the shield. "USA" is between the columns of the shield and "USA FIVE" is printed on the edge of the most noticeable change, the giant purple "5".
Photo from moneycenteral.msn.com
The giant purple "5". Yes, well, it was added to help those who are visually impaired but it may just leave more of us wishing that we were. Not that I necessarily dislike it, mostly I'm not too concerned with what the money looks like since I'm not collecting it for its aesthetic qualities, but a more reasonable choice, or at least a more colorful choice, would have been just to make the whole thing purple and start color coding all of the bills, much like many, if not most, other countries do. Maybe the Government doesn't want to get too far away from our 'greenback'.
One Interesting thing about the new five is the use of the EURion constellation which many photocopiers will refuse to copy. This pattern, which is used for the series of little yellow "05"s, is used on many other currencies as well.
Other changes to the bill include the increased use of water marks and an added security strip like those already used for higher denominations.
Compared to those previous drab gray and green bills the US has made some colorful changes to the currency, but it is still nothing compared to the beautifully crafted and colored currencies of Venezuela, Switzerland, and Kyrgyzstan.
The Bolívar Fuerte
The Bolívar Fuerte is the new currency of Venezuela since January 1, 2008. It replaced the old Bolívar which was the currency between 1879 and 2007. My personal favorite currency, it is a great example of the amazing bright and colorful notes that are seen throughout many South America countries.
The Bolívar Fuerte includes illustrations of Francisco de Miranda, Pedro Camejo, Cacique Guaicaipuro, Luisa Cáceres de Arismendi, Simón Rodríguez and Simón Bolívar, on the fronts. On the backsides, the notes feature Amazon river dolphins, a giant armadillo, an American Harpy eagle, the hawks bill turtle, a spectacled bear and the red siskin.
I've always been fascinated with the cover font color choices magazine editors make. We've begun to index those choices in our Magazine Color Trends section, but we thought we would look at some of the most iconic covers in history. In 2005, the 40 greatest magazine covers of the last 40 years were unveiled at the 2005 American Magazine Conference (AMC) in Puerto Rico, by the American Society of Magazine Editors (ASME) and AMC. Looking at the top 20 has shed some light on some of the most interesting color choices in the industry. Starting with number twenty, we'll take a trip back through the world of publication color.
#20 Blue (October 1997)
Armin Vit at Speak Up took an amazing look at the 25 movie posters of the top grossing movies of all time.
Not only did he organize the top 25 posters and break them down to simple palettes... He even created a larger image that showed the percentage of color usage for each film rating. Mr. Vit might just be our new best COLOURfriend.
Armin: "I looked for the final theatrical posters - as opposed to teaser or character-specific posters — which most fully represented what people saw on the streets or in movie theaters. Once lined up, I went over them one by one selecting a) the overall or background color, b) one or two of the most visible colors, and c) one or two accent colors. Ignoring any minimum-impact colors along the way. After picking out the colors, I arranged them, via gradients, on a horizontal bar, using the background color as the base and then eyeballing the "amount" of the rest of the colors to create an approximation of the colors you would see if you squinted at the poster or if you had really blurry vision."