Color Matters Blog

Color is always doing something. Sometimes color screams out a message, sometimes it casts a subliminal spell. So, what's happening in the world of color today? Yesterday? Tomorrow? What are the facts, what are the myths?
FEB
23

Something New to Pink About?

Pink has been all over the news recently. Some of it is powerful and inspiring but the same old dirty little lies about pink continue to be spread. We begin with color news you can’t use:

Liar Liar – The Color Wheel Is on Fire
(The same old nasty alternative facts about pink)
Cool Down Pink

pink jail

The article states: "Are you quick-tempered? Have bouts of aggression? The reason could be lack of pink in your environment! According to psychologist Daniela Spath a certain shade of pink calms the nerves, including in aggressive prisoners."

So wrong!

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3321 Hits
APR
26

In the future, every color will be world-famous for 15 minutes

Andy Warhol - a master of color
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96208 Hits
MAR
30

A Color that’s Worth $80,000,000

If you've ever wondered if color can make a multi-million dollar difference, check out this example of a special shade of blue.
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116197 Hits
MAR
16

Working with Color: Bailouts and Branding

Which color is the best for a product?

I love interviews with the press because there’s always one challenging question that requires a good answer. Last week, the interviewer asked, “How do you get your color consultation projects?” I replied that half the time, there’s a color disaster underway and someone contacts me. Typically, “the boss” has chosen his or her favorite color for the logo (or the product, packaging, etc.) and a member of the staff senses that there is something terribly wrong with the choice.

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22174 Hits
FEB
24

When is a color racially offensive?

Racial Insensitivity - Colors 

The recent controversy surrounding the aboriginal costumes worn by Russian ice dancers Domnina and Shabalin raises questions of cultural theft, authenticity of the steps, and appropriate costumes. Some Australian aboriginal leaders have claimed that the pair’s brown-toned costumes adorned with leaves and white aboriginal-style markings were offensive and far from authentic. On the other hand, the Russian duo’s coach explained that the term "aboriginal" translates from Latin language and means "from the beginning" and that they tried to represent a picture of the time when aboriginal people were in the world - with no reference to any country or custom. Nevertheless, in spite of changing the hue of their original costumes from a dark brown (intended to make their skins look darker) to a paler shade, which better matched the Russians' natural skin tone, the controversy still rages.

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144909 Hits
FEB
12

There’s More Than Love at the Heart of Red

red-fuchsia

"Monkey Butt Red" and "Flaming Fuchsia" made the news recently - at least in the automotive industry. These are the names of colors created by Toyota and Dodge for the debut of their elite sports cars. Consider the possibility that these colors and their names were intended to generate a lot of press.

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36069 Hits
FEB
03

Shattering a Colorblind View of the Past

Dinosaur and Archer

For nearly two centuries, scholars have been arguing that beige and white were not the true colors of antiquity. The Parthenon in Athens and the Forum in Rome might have been almost gaudy. Unfortunately, such ideas have never influenced Hollywood or many experts. For example, in "Gladiator," when Russell Crowe strides down the streets of ancient Rome, circa A.D. 180, he's backed up by the proper complement of white marble. In almost every view of the past, textbooks included, the ancient world comes off as monochrome.

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37045 Hits
JAN
12

Color Karma for the Next Decade

Crystal Ball Color Karma

Where will color go in 2010? What about the next decade? Will we be under the influence of trends or will the timeless powers of color rule? I’m sure you’ll agree that it will be both - and it all depends on many factors. The good thing about trends is that they inject new life into the color wheel. Yes, but what goes around comes around again and that’s my first take on color karma for the next decade.

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27179 Hits
NOV
27

Push the color red as far as it can go?

Chris Chou Mandala

One of my unfulfilled dreams as a colorist has been to pack as many colors as possible into a painting that breaks the barrier of “it’s too pretty to be considered as serious art.”

When I was working on my M.F.A., the "anti-aesthetic" ruled. The art that was sanctioned by the intelligentsia was far from lovely. Matisse’s famous philosophy - that a painting should be like a comfortable armchair - was taboo. There was no going back to the luxurious color harmonies of Matisse and Monet in the French impressionist era or the lush abstractions of deKooning or Rothko in the mid-twentieth century.

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18026 Hits
NOV
04

Here comes trouble: Paint matching apps for the iPhone

iPhone-banner

It’s supposed to solve the dilemma of winding up with all those cans of paint in colors that are too bold, too dingy, or not quite right. Both Benjamin Moore's Ben Color Capture and Sherwin-Williams' ColorSnap applications for the iPhone work the same way: Take a picture with your iPhone, zoom in on an area of color that you want to match in paint. Click “match” and the application gives you a range of paint options just like a real paint strip from their catalogue (either Moore or Sherwin). On the plus side, it shows the color’s nearest neighbors, in both lighter and darker shades.

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80743 Hits
OCT
27

A Color Heaven

Bermuda
Three weeks ago, I presented a seminar about color in Bermuda. I’ll admit that I’m quite spoiled by living in the color paradise of Hawaii. I’m not easily swept off my feet, but the colors of Bermuda - everything from sand to architecture - were stunning and classy, at that.

Real men wear pink - pink shirts and even pink shorts. In fact the logo on the airport terminal is a pair of pink Bermuda shorts. Aside from wearing apparel, many of the beaches are pink and so are the homes and many of the commercial buildings.

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23228 Hits
OCT
14

Monkey Butt Red?

Monkey Butt Red

It’s the new red … and it’s the color Toyota chose for the FT-86 sports car. Yes, it really is the red color of a Japanese monkey’s backside and if you can pronounce it, it’s “shoujyouhi” red.

Just when we’re getting used to a new genre of creative – but not always descriptive - color terms, such as "Fiji Weegee Fawn" for nail polish, "Freedom Trail" for paint, and "Peter Pan" for candles, Toyota's reference point for this new hue is beyond bizarre.

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28983 Hits
SEP
10

Liar, Liar, the Color Wheel is on Fire


Too-Many-Colors

Does the web provide an open door for "color experts" to dish out bad advice? Maybe in the dark days before the web, the color wheel was on fire but no one could see it. Whatever the case may be - and on the heels of last week’s Benjamin Moore report - there’s a new one.

The latest bad advice is based on the assumption that the "old rules" about how to use and combine colors are out the window. Here’s the exact quote from an interior design professional:

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19435 Hits
SEP
09

Busted! What is the color of trustworthy information?

Color inside brains


Wikipedia just announced that they will allow a color-coding for text that has been declared untrustworthy. Orange will be used to highlight unreliable text, with more reliable text given a lighter shade. Text earns "trust" over time, and moves from orange to white.

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56036 Hits
AUG
20

In Memoriam: Kodachrome and Polaroid

Poladroid 

2009 marks the end of two photographic wonders and the amazing colors they produced. Digital photography has rendered them obsolete.

In June, Eastman Kodak company announced that its Kodachrome film would be no more. This was the slide film that gave us such beautiful bright colors and it's the film Paul Simon idolized in the classic line of a song, "Mama don't take my Kodachrome away."

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18029 Hits
AUG
04

Wet Dog

Wet Dog

wet dogs

When I was in art school, a professor commented that my painting looked like a soggy dog. That was a compliment! I was struggling to find my artistic center and had poured turpentine on an oil painting (still wet and workable) and saved the results.

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17520 Hits
JUL
27

Color Infringement: Microsoft vs. Google

Chrome vs Windows color logo

Lawyers for Microsoft, Inc. have filed a lawsuit against Google, claiming the company's new Chrome OS color scheme infringes on the Windows logo color scheme.

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66837 Hits
JUL
17

Changing the Colors of GM's Logo

GM Logo

It was rumored that GM may consider changing the color of its logo from blue to green when it emerged from bankruptcy. Apparently, that’s not going to happen.

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98379 Hits
JUL
10

Hues that cry for freedom

Hues that cry for freedom

colors of revolution 

Green is the color that is still at the forefront of demonstrations in Iran and across the world in protest of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's controversial victory in June's presidential elections.

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32936 Hits
JUN
25

A new identity for green

Green protest Iran

Green has emerged as the color of protest in Iran. The pictures describe more than any words in this blog. (Note: Green is the signature color of Mir Hossain Mousavi, the main rival of President Ahmadinejad in the Iranian elections.)

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19425 Hits
JUN
11

Color Hall of Shame: The Tragic State of Research on Color Effects

Thirty years of research on individual reactions to colors in the environment has produced contradictory findings. Some research has concluded that people who can "screen out" irrelevant information in their environment are not easily stressed out (or aroused) by warm colors such as pale orange walls, whereas "low-screeners" are more aroused by the same orange walls.

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18555 Hits