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

Posts tagged ‘color theory’

A walk on the red side.

Lately I’ve been taking to walk one of our local conservation properties in the morning. The old farm property consists of fields, wetlands and woods preserved for eternity, for the habitat of a wide variety of plants, birds and animals. it also affords those of use who enjoy nature, to walk, birdwatch and otherwise envelop ourselves in the tranquility and peace that is found within a natural environment.

Every season there is something different to see. In early Spring most vibrant are the red-winged blackbirds with their stunning carmine red epaulets. They flit about strutting their stuff, establishing territories in their little part of the wetlands. They are some of my favorite birds, at least today.

Red Winged Blackbird, New Hampshire

Their flashy color is unmatched in its brightness, you can see these guys showing off from a great distance. I think the red almost glows because it is so perfectly set off by the stripe of buttery yellow and ink black of the rest of its feathers. The combination is truly a remarkable one, and I look forward to their return to our swamps every year.

Like designers, birds often use colors to get their job done. By dancing around and flashing their feathers they attract mates, ward off enemies and communicate lots of complex messages that we humans have only really begun to understand. In combination with song these messages are impossible to miss, and enjoyable to witness.

They also – like us – have great deadlines to meet. Up here in the North country, there are only a few short months to find a mate, nest and bring up a proper brood or two of chicks. Its important work, and they stop at nothing to ensure that they are successful, and sadly sometimes do whatever they can to ensure that their competition is not. But its a birds life, and they live it well. And I enjoy watching the process. Red Winged Black bird New Hampshire

Each morning on my walks I always find something inspiring to bring back with me to the studio. Today it is a few photographs and the knowledge that there is a world outside these walls that is so rich with material for the senses. It’s what keeps me going no matter what my own deadlines and obligations of today might be.

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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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