Crayola has been the standard for crayons, and at least partially responsible for bringing color naming to the mainstream for 126 years now. The crayons and color names have come a long way from the standard 8 color crayon box of black, blue, red, green, brown, yellow, violet, and orange.
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Over the years they've added plenty of new colors to their line of wax crayons but not all of those can still be found today. Some of those colors have been discontinued or renamed, for various reasons, and since 1998 they've maintain a core collection of 120 colors, (check out our post 'All 120 Crayon Names and Color Codes' here in the COLOURlovers blog to see them all and grab their digital code equivalents).
The retired colors.
Retired colors are tucked away in the Crayola Hall of Fame but that's no place for color! So here we look back at those colors that are no longer at our finger tips but can live forever in our digital coloring books. Click on the colors to grab their digital equivalent from the COLOURlovers' library.
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
Books, besides being nice to look at, offer us a way to keep up with the ever changing industries that we are a part of. In the long format of a book authors have time to fully explain and relate their ideas in a way that allows readers to completely understand concepts, unlike the guessing or fill-in-the-blanks game we often have to play in to understand many message from the short format blog post or tweet. Books give the readers time to think about how their own knowledge and ideas fit or collide with that of the authors, and whether or not the information contained in the book is really worth the cover price or if it is merely a pride piece by some ego. This happens often, especially now with the low cost, no-hassel publishing that we have now-a-days.
When you want your website or business identity's color scheme to be fun, entertaining, or even little outrageous, you need not look any further than those highly addictive mobile games for a little color inspiration. From high flying birds to classic games with new color variations, mobile game's often use color palettes that are bright, funky, primary based and still highly usable. Here are a few games currently on top of the mobile gaming world and their color paletts that add to the fun and keep us all playing over, and over, and over, and...
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By feeding silkworms a mulberry mixture containing fluorescent dye, scientists are able to harvest brightly coloured silk.
The environmentalists like it cause it cuts back on the water use and harsh chemicals needed for the dyeing process. Scientists like it for the potential to create silk with antibacterial, anticoagulant and anti-inflammatory properties that could be used in wound dressing or even as biomedical frameworks for repairing damaged tissues. We like for both those reasons. Plus, we especially like it because of how colorful they are.
Here's some silkworm color love inspired by science and these 'intrinsically colored and luminescent silk worms'.
By feeding them mixtures containing dyes, researchers have helped silkworms spin fluorescent, coloured silk.
By feeding silkworms a mulberry mixture containing fluorescent dye, Natalia's team was able to harvest brightly coloured silk that is structurally unaffected, but which also has luminescent, or glowing, properties. The dye molecules are ingrained within the silk filaments to create permanent colour.
Image credits: Institute of Materials Research and Engineering
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If you're currently working on a color scheme for a website or business identity and are looking for colors to use you can keep up with the color trends by looking here on COLOURlovers and keeping up with websites featured on sites like designcreme, there are many others such sites.
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Placing importance on simple messages, typography, and color, hand painted signs and advertisements can add a lot to a business identity. Sometimes the signs outlive there businesses, as with the ongoing interest of so-called 'Ghost Signs', hand painted signs leftover from the period of popularity which ended in 70's. Many of these signs still remain in their original locations. Left for nostalgia, appreciation of the artistry or indifference by owners, Ghost Signs are faded reminders of the past, and a source for inspiration for those who see hand painted signs as a important now as the once were.
50 Signs by Colin Dunn
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.
Nick Campbell is the founder of an iPhone App company called BananaCameraCo, he runs a motion design education site called Greyscalegorilla, talks about the business of creativity on Nickvegas.tv, and speaks to students and creatives about how to be creative and get paid to do what you love. ...And all this came about AFTER he already had his "dream job" as an animator and a photographer making title sequences and TV commercials.
His business(es), all started as complementing side projects to his work as a motion designer under the the simple ideas to "help creatives and creators make cool sh$@" and “as I learn it, so do you.” From this he has developed a number of products and mobile apps all stemming from his core focuses. Everything from fun apps like ShakeItPhoto and CrossProcess that reach a general audience, to Photoshop for Photographers and Vintage Films for Looks reaching amateur and professional photographers, to even more technical industry focused products like HDRI Light Kit Pro and HDRI Studio made specific for the program Cinema 4D used by motion designers.
I had a chance to ask Nick a few questions about how, out of his client and agency work, he developed his own products, started spreading the know-how through blogs and podcasts, and created an effective business model out of it all.
A quick rundown of the progression of your work, please.
I graduated from Illinois Institute or Arts in 2005 with one of those degrees that don't mean anything. "Digital Media" or something like that, I didn't take enough design classes. I worked around town a bit and ended up at my dream job at Digital Kitchen animating title sequences and awesome TV commercials with some of the most talented people in the city (world?). I was clearly the worst designer there, but luckily they were willing to take me under their wing and teach me how to be awesome like them.
Meanwhile, in "internet land", I started a photoblog called Greyscalegorilla where I posted a photo per day for about three years. I also started posting Photoshop tutorials to the site for people asking me how I processed my photos. Of course, word got around that I also knew After Effects and Cinema 4D, so I posted tutorials of that, too. Well, it seemed as if there were PLENTY of Photoshop and After Effects tutorials floating around the web, but when it came to Cinema 4D, I was one of only a few. Especially when it came to showing how to use 3D for Motion Graphics and Logo Design instead of flying spaceships and crap like that. The site took off like crazy.
During all this, I also started dabbling in making iPhone apps. At the time, the iPhone app store was new and I wanted in. I made a Polaroid simulator called ShakeItPhoto and it was starting to do pretty well, that was really exciting.
I had a blog that people liked, an iPhone App people liked and a full time job that I liked. Lucky me! But, there was a problem. I didn't have enough time. I decided to leave the full time job and focus full time on the blog and the iPhone apps. It was hard decision, but I had to try it or I would hate myself later.
What percentage of your work is for clients and what percentage is for personal business and other non-business or more artistic projects?
After I left Digital Kitchen, I have had no clients. All my income has been from my own projects and products. Sometimes I do work for my friends if they need a quick logo animation or something like that. But it's never for money. Always for favors or beer. It's quite liberating actually. I didn't get into this stuff for clients, I got into it to make cool stuff.
Educating others has become a big part of your business model, and you're not just educating people about your own products but offering useful tutorials, open forums with feedback to others learning, etc... Has this helped your business grow? Does this interaction help you come up with new ideas for teaching topics and new product development?
The speaking and educating part has been an exciting part of this year. I get to talk to students and try to help them though this crazy design stuff. There are so many things that I wish people would have told me when I got started in all this. Now, I get to be that guy. It's weird, but fun. As far as being good for business. I think there is an aspect of that. People get to know me though the live show, podcast and speaking gigs. They trust me or at least like what I am saying. Then, when I have something to sell that people think is useful, like an iPhone app or a plugin, they trust me that it's not a peice of crap. Really though, the education thing is fun enough to do separately from selling a bunch of stuff.
With some of your products in mind... Why can slight color variations make such a huge difference visually and emotively?
Color is hugely important in the work I do. When using most software, lights and colors usually default to 100% black or white and most people tend to leave things there. Even in Photoshop, the defaults are 100% black and 100% white. When people make things "Black" or "White" they tend to use these defaults. It almost always makes for a boring and unrealistic design. One thing I talk a lot about is the idea that nothing in real life is 100% black or white. You should always add color and variation to everything you design. Adding slight variations in blacks and whites go a long way to making things more realistic and interesting. This took me a long time to figure out, but it's one of those things that makes a huge difference.
What's coming next for you?
What's next? I hope to continue posting fun or interesting stuff to my blog and to continue making more Photo based iPhone apps. I am also playing around with the idea of brining some of my iPhone Apps to the new Apple App store for use on desktops and laptops. Our CrossProcess app will probably be first out. It will allow you to take any of your digital photos and turn them into photos that look like they were shot on film and processed in the wrong chemicals. It gives them a really cool color and adds a TON of contrast. I'm really excited about that one.
Pulled from the tag for his product, CrossProcess, the phrase "Normal Colors are For Babies" sums up quite well Nick's career path, i'd say. While many could never think of leaving a dream job, Nick choose to, and ended up supporting himself and a greater community of creatives in process.
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