Just one designers ramblings about things that inspire me, observations, and advice about marketing.

Archive for March, 2010

An underwatery observation

Today I was lucky enough to be treated to lunch by a friend, who also happens to be an artist who like me, works with color on a daily basis.

We chose a seafood place with a good rep, neither of us had been in before. Upon being seated, we both looked about the place and voiced our approval of our surroundings. “Underwatery” was the word of choice. And it truly fit.

The eatery is in an old mill building with giant windows and impossibly high ceilings, and the designer used every bit of height to create a rich and soft interior space.

There were aquas and muted teals, filmy cotton fabrics hung high from the ceiling in shades of muted blues and gray purples. Seating was done in tones of rich earthy browns – a modern trend when paired with turquoisey blues. And sparkling here and there were touches of metallics- copper and gold, sparsely used and just reflective enough without being jarring.

The whole atmosphere was relaxing and soothing and upscale, and did somehow echo of the sea. It was done well without kitsch or sterotype. There were no fishing nets or plastic crabs as is so often the case in a New England fish restaurant. It really was classic and inventive and soothing. It’s amazing how the right colors can just fit a place, a mood or a meal.


What have we done to the color green?

Color. We are surrounded by it every day. And it effects us in ways that we don’t even realize.

Color evokes emotion, triggers memories, sets a mood, makes a statement. And its something that we often respond to, without even knowing it.

Designers and marketing professionals know this, and we use colors or a lack of color to our best advantage. By choosing the right hues, we tug at your emotions, we soothe or excite, and we can even make you hungry. Manipulative? Maybe. Effective? Absolutely.

As a designer and an artist, I find color irresistible and fascinating. So I am using this venue to discuss color in all its many facets.

Welcome to my first edition, green.

Although I love green in most of its various forms, lately I think it has been suffering a bit from overuse. And this worries me. Like black, It has become a color with far more meaning than the hue it vibrates.

It carries with it a lot of responsibility. To “be green” now means to be a good steward of the earth, or at least to try to be. These days when one sees green on a package or advertisement, we know that generally, we are looking at something eco-friendly, fresh, natural or healthy.

But is it being used so much that it is beginning to become invisible? Are we over saturating the marketplace with green?

Historically green has lots of other meanings that we seem to have overlooked lately. Over the years, green has been used to represent envy, money and greed. Then there is fertility, renewal, immaturity and even illness and health. Yes, at the same time.

There are a lot of contradictions here I know, but think about the shades of green out there. They can be bright and vital, or sickly gaunt and leering. They can be deep and rich, or subtle and soft, dull and mute, or jarringly bright. So much can be done with this color, but lately most uses seem to be that middle bright, springy green. A color I like, but I wonder if people are still seeing and responding to it. Or maybe I have been re-programmed to only see the eco-green. Hmm. I wonder.

I wonder if today’s cultural eco-use of the color green has changed the way we perceive it for good. Have we stopped using it for those more traditional effects because of the new cultural meanings? If so, can we ever go back?

Today, people are drawn toward freshness, earthiness and eco-friendliness with good reason. And the shades of green chosen seem much more positive these days than when it was used to denote greed and envy. I think its a good turn of events really, unless by using it we dilute its meaning.

What do you think?

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