08.04.14 : MATERIALS : RECYCLED TV CATHODE RAY TUBES INTO TILES

Managing the waste disposal of obsolete electronics is one of the major environmental issues of our era. It’s a time when the excitement of science & technology overshadowed any consideration of cradle-to-cradle planning.

Fireclay Tiles saw an opportunity to turn this problem into a resource and has recycled the cathode ray tubes from television screens and monitor that have now been replace by flat screens.

Adding white pigment to the CRT glass they lighten the natural colour to perfect mid grey neutral. What we love is the not so


 

perfect visual texture achieved. It gives a real depth the character to the tile akin to a mineral that is highlighted by the mix of polished and unpolished tiles together.

They're tough as well and the material can withstand temperatures of 1,600 to 1,700 degrees Fahrenheit making it ideal for both residential and commercial applications indoors and out.

Via Designboom

01.04.14 : NEW COLOUR, TREND & DESIGN DIARY

Our latest colour, trend & design quarterly diary is now online for free download here.  This issue we look at material trends, update on the development of contemporary traditionalism and preview Milan Design Week. We’ve added exhibitions and events in art & design intended to inspire & inform future forecasting.

If you'd like to receive this diary by free subscription and find out more Clarity InColour news, please sign up to our mailing list on the bottom right of your screen.
 

We'd like to say a special thank you to artist Adam Burns (cover image). He's part of the Taint exhibition at the GRAD and we love his use of dynamic urban colour & form in oil & impasto on acrylic.
 

20.03.14 : MARTIN PARR IN BLACK, WHITE & COLOUR

Just back from an hour of visual delights and wry British humour delivered by subjective photographer, Martin Parr courtesy of The Art of Dining pop up restaurant. ‘Say Cheese’ recreates some of Parr’s famous macro-documentation of British foods. In his own words, he went out of his way to find the most disgusting examples of it that he could find, but the menu including the likes of cumin scones and Thai beef broth is anything but.

This morning Parr took us through his career to date starting with a dedication from his Yorkshire grandfather, a keen amateur photographer and his early works with the ‘Non Conformists’ at Hebden Bridge and ‘Bad Weather’ in black and white. He showed us two shots of the same bandstand one with flash and one without that perfectly illustrated the innate power of presentation the photographer has to change a seen. Not everything is always, as it seems.

He admits that at the time, to be a serous photographer you needed to work in Black & White, but in 1982 he made the leap to colour with his series ‘The Last Resort’ shot in New Brighton.

On the wave of mass consumerism during the UK’s Thatcher years, he continued to critique this phenomenon through his shots of housewives in the skirt department of Marks & Spencer and families in supermarkets across Europe and Russia. His colours reflect trends of the time and serve as a insight marker for future.

A collector with a touch of the obsessive, Parr has a huge catalogue of ‘bad’ merchandise, from his Saddam Hussein watches, Osama Bin Laden blood orange drink, photo-trays to ‘boring’ postcards. He has a love of irony and the strangely familiar.

We also learnt that broccoli was ‘the’ vegetable of the 1980’s. What do you think we’ll be reflecting on in the next 30 years?

martinparr.com

 

The Art Of Dining #SayCheese still has some tickets available for next week in the bar. To find out more contact theartofdining.co.uk  

 

 

17.03.14 : A NOD OF GREEN TO ST PATRICK

With the streets awash in green around the world for the Irish celebration of St Patrick's Day, we thought we'd show you one of the tones of this revered hue that we're particularly fond of at the moment.

Recently we went to see Clarity InColour favourites, Front Rugs as they presented new collections from both Jan Kath and Michaela Schleypen in their London showroom on Bruton Place. When we got there we were lucky enough to get a guided tour through her collection by Michaela herself.

Michaela has a wonderful appreciation of colour tonality and perception that enhances the three dimensionality of her hand-tufted and carved rugs. She finds inspiration in the extraordinary to the banal. Spectacular coral reefs from nature to the outfit of Gabriele Susanne Kerner aka Nena (99 Luftballons) a recent judge on Germany’s The Voice.

What we fell for was her Braid collection, based on plaiting and braiding in hair as the visuals suggest in Olive Gold. With a soft lustre that highlights the interwoven form of the sculpture, the background olive with its verdant undertone is a joy in comfort, luxury and balance.

www.wearefront.com

 

 

 

The quality of this hue perfectly translates into coatings, surfaces, electronics and packaging. If you'd like to know what other colour trends we're forecasting for business andf manufacturing, please contact us on marketing@clarityincolour.com

08.02.14 : SUSI BELLAMY

Last week Clarity InColour Founder & Creative Director Justine Fox, explained the origins of trend forecasting, the process and future to attendees of the Colour Group GB’s Colour In Fashion & Design session. Also on the schedule was artist Susi Bellamy.

Susi’s background is rooted in fashion publishing. At the prestigious Condé Nast to be more precise. Here she worked with fashion legends like David Bailey, Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell. Fast forward 20 years and Susi has diverted her creativity from the pages of a magazine to the artboard of her studio in Northumberland.

She’s taken a lot of the skills from publishing into the world of fine art in her exploration of colour as a commodity. Using fashion

colour palettes as her pivot, she plays with scale and three-dimensionality within structure in large scale installations in Crown Paints emulsion. Photography of these exude the sense of drama and composition with a fashion shoot. Colour is now the model.

Susi’s work is being exhibited net week alongside fellow abstractionist Theresa Poulton in 2 On Abstraction at the Gallery North Project Space, Squires Annexe, NE1 8ST. Private View: 11.02.14. Open: 12-13.02.14

www.susibellamy.com

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30.01.14 : LARGE FORMAT PRINTING

Today we've been experimenting with some of IKEA's new stools and Colour Marketing Services large format printer. It prints in white, which is brilliant for sharp opaque surface prints. What we really love when printing natural materials is that we can ditch the white and build up layers to create stained effects. It means we can still see the beauty of the original substrate coming through.
 

The stools are quite small products, but the printer can work up to a size of 1,250 x 2,500 x 50mm on pretty much any material. It's ideal for cladding, signage or tables in hospitality or office environments to continue the company message through an interiors scheme.

If you'd like to speak about how we can help brand your environment please contact us on marketing@clarityincolour.com
 

20.01.14 : ROYAL COLLEGE OF ART : WORK IN PROGRESS

We love collecting student business cards and these from textile designer Moa Maria Inez Gullmarstam are really special.

The saturation of ink adds visual depth to a rich combination of colour and tips a wink to the shift in trend coming.

What better way to remind people who you are than to give them an exquisite fragment of the work itself.
 

moa.gullmarstan@network.rca.ac.uk

www.rca.ac.uk


For more information on Clarity InColour’s colour and trend reporting and forecasting for business please contact marketing@clarityincolour.com

16.01.14 : THE ROYAL COLLEGE OF ART : WORK IN PROGRESS

This week The School Of Material at London's RCA is showing their postgraduate work in progress and Clarity InColour went down to take a look at what we can expect to see in this summer's show.

Stand out work for us was Flavie Audi’s ‘Cosmic’ (pictured above) and ‘Clouds Above’ in clear and black glass with fine silver. We loved the surface simplicity of Landon Peck’s ‘Solid Line Forms’, an exploration of slip casting in high-fired earthenware.

For colour, Rachel Cox is one to watch with combinations of parchment, ochre and sky accented in teal and neon pink. Her ceramics are influenced by the haphazard patterning in signage within London’s urban landscape that she renders in layers of textural effect and semi-opaque glazes.


 

RCA Summer Shows:

Fashion 28-9.05.14

Exhibition 18-29.06.14

www.flavieaudi.com

www.landonpeck.com

www.rca.ac.uk

www.rachelcoxceramics.com

For more information on Clarity InColour’s colour and trend reporting and forecasting for business please contact marketing@clarityincolour.com

17.12.13 : GOODBYE 2013 : HELLO 2014

As 2013 comes to a close we’d like to say thank you for an amazing year to all of you who have contributed and inspired us.

We recently reviewed the colours materials and finishes that stood out for us in 2013 for a client (more difficult than you think when you're always in the future). Each image we selected brought back the people that we met and the brilliant stories they had to tell. It reminded us that true innovation comes from opportunity and sheer hard work.

 

This holiday season our colour palette reflects what 2013 has meant for us. Energetic, exciting, thoughtful and it's gone by in a flash. 2014 we're ready!

We’d love to hear more about your 2013. What stood out for you in colour and design. Come and chat to us on Twitter @clarityincolour or Facebook Clarity-InColour.

For more information on seminars or how we can help your business contact us on marketing@clarityincolour.com

21.11.13 : 3 WAYS WITH COLOUR

IN BRAND : your colours should be a true reflection of your brand's values, don’t try to second guess your customers’ tastes on this one. Are you fun, futuristic, reliable or value for money? What colours do you associate with these personality traits? We’ve used a selection of different hues in our own Clarity InColour logo across the website to demonstrate how a brand's voice changes through colour. Harmonised colour palettes work better for customer loyalty and brand longevity than being on trend. Make sure that you have consistent colour reproduction across all media channels to keep the message clear.

IN HOME INTERIORS : your colours should work in a similar way to brand. They should reflect the personalities of the people who live there and not the editor of your favourite magazine. Who uses that room the most and what do they do in there? Is your bathroom for rest and relaxation or the place that fires you up for day? We need balance though and as constantly changing beings, we’re always on the look for the new. Accent trend colours in same familial language as the main colour scheme to address the adventure in our nature.

IN COMMERCIAL SPACES : your colours have two vital main functions. Firstly they need to support the purpose. If it’s for retail, your product is the hero so what colour showcases this to its best and this applies to the light too. A concentration based task like accountancy needs the colour scheme to fade back in a similar way highlighting the process instead. Secondly colour needs to work with direction and orientation. Especially important with an aging population is understanding limited abilities and demonstrating due diligence in LRV ratios and patternig without sacrificing aesthetics.

Sign up to our mailing list at the bottom right of the page to receive a further 3 COLOUR WAYS or contact us on marketing@clarityincolour.com to see how we can improve your colour communication and revenue.

22.10.13 : Designer Baking STUDIOLAV

One of great things about design festivals is that you quite often find things that you weren’t looking for and never knew you wanted. The gems.

This is where Designer Baking comes into play. If you’re UK based you may have been all of a dither recently with the Great British Bake Off. If you’re not then we bet you got something similar going on in your area. STUDIOLAV’s latest offering for the home fuses the trend for perfecting these lost arts of domesticity with an appreciation of traditional fashion textiles.

Loukas Angelou and Vasso Asfi run their multidisciplinary design studio out of east London, having met at Central St Martins School Of Art. They confess to being lovers of neutral colour

schemes, exploring the relationship between shadow, form and materials with a sense of irony and curiosity. This project stems from a brief by the Skoufa Gallery in Athens to designers to produce a new piece of ‘folklore’ using the ubiquitous olive wood as the main ingredient.

And so emerged the Designer Baking kitchen stamps. The stark graphics based on traditional Herringbone and Houndstooth with the pyramid structure of the piece work wonderfully with the warmth of olive wood. They reveal the beautiful grain in surprising ways and the colour will deepen and develop over time as they are used, loved and passed down through the generations.

www.studiolav.com

14.10.13 : Decorex 2013

In our final blog of LDF 2013, we return freshly warmed by the early autumn Mediterranean sun to reflect on the luxurious end of the exhibition circuit - Decorex.

A new venue, we admit to taking the scenic route via High St Kensington (has great stores) and through the impressive avenue of embassies (for future the most direct route is Lancaster Gate). When we arrived it was reassuringly familiar but had an extra feeling of spaciousness that meant you could stand back and really admire the scale of the some of the work.

Rugs were a huge love for us at Decorex. Already a firm Clarity InColour favorite Tania Johnson Design presented the steamy and seductive Glass Collection. Working predominantly with silk wool mixes, textural photography is translated into evocative hand knotted rugs. They look elegantly simple in golden neutrals, but this belies the expert Nepalese craftsmanship that goes into each design.  Tania Johnson Design avidly supports GoodWeave (www.goodweave.org), which aims to eliminate child labour and improve the conditions of adults.

More rug love was found over at The Rug Company for the new Poppy Day Alexander McQueen collection. As well as the hypnotic kaleidoscopic patterning, we loved the masculine/feminine colour styling presented. Once you’ve finished admiring the Blake-like design from afar and get up close to the tufts you discover a myriad of colour within each piece that creates almost a shadowing effect of tonality.

We had a really great chat with weaver Soraya Shah at Studio Four NYC. It was the colour that made us stop in the first place.  That smudgy coral blush that we’ve seen everywhere was unusually paired and mixed with a deep marine green. Soraya explained that she often chose colours outside her comfort zone that challenge her to create a cohesive collection. This technique certainly seems to be working; these hand-woven textiles and rugs are an absolute joy.

Little Greene has gone all grey. In their latest collection launched this September they’ve been exploring the holy grail of current consumer paint taste – the perfect grey. We loved this year’s paintbrush display on the stand with is bulls-eye colour spot fading through the spectrum into the shadows. It does reflect how the adaptive grey works beautifully in the supporting role as you’re drawn back again and again to the colour.

Finally we couldn’t finish our LDF 2013 series without a mention of the Giles Miller Studio especially in such a tactile Decorex environment. We love the rich simplicity of colour used here from softly burnished metallic, woods and glazed ceramics. These almost seem to come alive by the alternating angles and movement of the tiles themselves. And that’s just what colour should always be seen as – alive.

Decorex 2014 returns to Perks Field & The Orangery at Kensington Palace 21-24th September.

We’ve got loads more information and inspiration from LDF 2013. If you’d like to know more about show reports from Decorex or any other exhibitions, please contact us on marketing@clarityincolour.com

 

www.decorex.com

www.gilesmiller.com

www.littlegreene.com

www.londondesignfestival.com

www.studiofournyc.com

www.taniajohnsondesign.com

www.therugcompany.com/uk

26.09.13 : Designersblock 2013

Clarity InColour's Justine Fox was privileged to take part in Designersblock's new series of seminars Listen, Watch & Share at this year's London Design Festival. Exploring the role of young designers within the trend forecasting industry we spent a lot of time understanding the projects in the days leading up to the exhibition. This is one of our presentation slides illustrating just one direction in colour, surface and materials. We really got very involved in the work of The Fifth Element which gives a huge amount of indicators to future trends and societal movements - we'll share a taster of that information in the coming weeks, but if you would like to speak to us about detailed bespoke projects please contact us on marketing@clarityincolour.com

26.09.13 : Tent Super Brands 2013

We hit Tent for Swingtag Sunday, dodging the usual Brick Lane beigel-hunting drifters in favour of design inspiration.  Meandering through gorgeous craftsmanship we noticed a few common threads of colour and here are just a few.

Munna, showing in Super Brands had a quietly stoic offering in colour and texture of their upholstery. Inspired by the roaring 20’s, these fast paced types needed that calming backdrop for all their antics. Howard Hughes’ adventurous spirit provides the inspiration for their masculine sofa in dusted navy while the softer ivory skin tones of their club chair echo the colour a woman’s neck peeping from beneath her bobbed hair. Accents of ultra glossy copper and brass allure to decadent times.

Erica Wakerly’s wallpaper has been a long time favourite and now she’s experimenting with wall panels in her collaboration with illustrator Polly Dunbar. Stepping away from her children’s book day job, Dunbar has created these whimsical stem flowers with geisha features in tonal metallic, verdigris and a punch of neon pink. More incarnations of this project will be released next year. We can’t wait.

Inca Starzinsky’s stand made us stop and stare at a riot of unusual colour combinations. We spotted these printed acrylic necklaces that reminded us of the movement in soft dreamlike, hazy nostalgic colour use in art photography at the moment. It is a current obsession at Clarity InColour.

Kerry Hastings Ceramics had a wonderful mix of high polish metallic with soft powdered finishes and the colour palette reflected this mood in smoky jades, charcoals, and mauves.

We love the work being done by Lex Pott and David Derksen that explores real colour as it’s created by exposure, reaction and interaction of materials with the world. The Transience Mirrors project explores the full spectrum of colour revealed through the oxidisation process. Definitely one for the ultra-colour geek with a love of beautiful design.

Moving on and along with Soderlund Davidson on their conveyor-belt stand. Two things struck us here, with the ever-changing view of the ceramics, it really allowed you to see

the versatility of the colour collection with pops of cool colour. Secondly was that we didn’t see a cuddly toy.

Tortus Copenhagen presented the most gorgeous and cohesive range of colour. Again the powdered pastels here had a slightly grubby edge that made them doubly desirable – trebly so when you take in the softly striping colour gradation of each piece.

We love a great story about colour and at Parris Wakefield Additions we weren’t disappointed. The inspiration for their latest collection Zig Zag is the environmental effects on a mountain range. Colours come from the  colour changes in the light of a day, through a season and within the flora and fauna of these mighty features.

We’ve got loads more information and inspiration from Tent Super Brands 2013. If you’d like to know more about our show reports please contact marketing@clarityincolour.com

 

www.cargocollective.com/emiliestahlcarlsen

www.davidderksen.nl

www.ericawakerly.co.uk

www.gubi.com

www.incastarzinsky.com

www.ingersteinnes.com

www.kerryhastings.com

www.lexpott.nl

www.munnadesign.com

www.parriswakefieldadditions.com

www.pollydunbar.com

www.soderlund-davidson.com

www.tortus-copenhagen.com

 

19.09.13 : Designjunction 2013

If 100% was all about the lighting for us then Designjunction gave our textile sensibilities a smack of pure joy in the colour department. Feeling a wonderful sense of the Bauhaus in geometrics softened by glossy impressionist hues. There was so much for us to love and here are just a few.

Lindsey Lang presented wonderful cement and granite tiles in tonal grey sand and bone with accents of spring yellow and blue. The wonder is also in the making – they might look like inlays, but I’m assured they’re not. They’re hardwearing enough to be suitable for interior and exterior. Pop them on your walls and floors. If you hurry, she’s also offering some show discounts.

Utopia & Utility gave us the most wonderful colour and material mix hand crafted from across the EU. Born out of the RCA final project by Pia Wustenberg she joined forces with her brother Moritz to take these beautiful objects into the market. They’ve been getting a huge amount of interest from the hospitality sector, so expect to see more of their work on your next trip.

We love Wallace Sewell. Chatting on the stand we discovered that their colour choices are mostly inspired by the work of the world’s great artists. Look out for their latest gallery collaboration with the British museum next month. Back to this collection, it’s their first upholstery collection and is produced in collaboration with Designtex. The gorgeous upholstered bench is courtesy of twentytwentyone.

Chichi at Cavalcanti had a really interesting view on colour and how important it is to get the right colour within the interior sector. For Designjunction her inspiration was the old sorting office itself where the show is housed. She liked the strength of shape and form in the structure and emulated this in the colour selection and dynamic of traditional fashion weaves. The result was stunningly powerful.

Our picture doesn’t show the colour choice from Modus to it’s finest but imagine this image several shades darker. It’s been a while since we saw the coloured blacks out if force but perhaps its time for these charred tones to take front stage again.  It’s something that we’ve seen adopted by young designers and we thought the colours looked stunning in a collection here.

Lubna Chowdhary’s tile installations were breath taking. The semi-translucency if the glaze with a darker edge set off this deco palette into luscious jewels of colour.

Zuzunaga the king of the pixel had an almost tribal palette with apple, pomegranate and chilli set against turquoise, black, steel and white. The collection had the feel of an electronic blend of a thousand cultures. We loved it.

We’ve got loads more colour stories and trend tips from the show. If you’d like a full report please contact marketing@clarityincolour.com for more information

 

 

www.cavalcanti.co.uk

www.designtex.com

www.kukka.co.uk

www.lindseylang.co.uk

www.lubnachowdhary.co.uk

www.modusfurniture.co.uk

www.twentytwentyone.com

www.utopiaandutility.eu

www.wallacesewell.com

www.zuzunaga.com

 

18.09.13 : 100% Design 2013

100% Design opened its doors today to kick off the trade exhibitions at London Design Festival. We were greeted by black, white and grey with everything in between in a stunning entrance lighting installation. Once inside we got chatting to some wonderful people today who have an inspiring creativity and love of design and importantly of colour.  Here are just a few.

Dornbracht launched their Sensory Sky to the UK is a cloud of impressive colour and wafts of seductive scent. We spoke to Nicole Edelmann who explained that colour is intrinsically linked to the sequencing of temperature control and their aromatic blends Readjust, Release and Rejoice. We loved the colour inspiration for Release – a beautiful day in yellow darkens into a summer storm with elements of lightening and then clears to calm skies. Dramatic.

Stephanie Ng’s Luna Lana lighting formed part of the Australian pavilion. Some of her recent colour combinations were influenced by a found visual research recording the colours worn by people in Europe’s fashionista hotspots.

Ben Rousseau of Rousseau Design said that their colour collection was rooted in the lush hues of tulips. What we loved about the combination in their stand was the central iridescent acrylic piece. It seemed to reflect and absorb colour from its neighbours creating a myriad of soft tones. A clever LED also pushes coloured lighting up and beyond the shade creating beautiful ceiling patterning.

Schneid offer a great choice in their lighting. Choose your electrical cord colour, the type of wood you prefer and the shade. Don’t worry if you’d like to update your shade – they’re secured on magnets so can just be swapped out. New releases are silicon that seems alive with bubbling and movement. It comes in 5 soft pastel shades and black. That’s in the daylight of course. At night this 50’s palette morphs into fabulous 80’s neon.

We’ve got a huge amount of pictures, information and inspiration from the show. We’ll add some more pictures to our Facebook page and we’ll be following up with plenty blog notes. If you’d like a full report of the trends at the show please contact us on marketing@clarityincolour.com for more information.

 

 

www.dornbracht.com

www.stephaniengdesign.com

www.rousseau.co.uk

www.ivanacrivos.com.ar

www.schneid.org

16.09.13 : Jessica Zoob Dancing With Colour

We came across the work of artist Jessica Zoob recently and were instantly mesmerised by her use of colour and texture so much so that we had to share.

She describes herself as a modern impressionist using techniques in oils and glazes to layer colour, expose and build. The process takes time and has meaning in itself. This gives her work the softened edge of urbanism and loving attrition that we're also seeing in the work of emerging product designers at the moment.

From a colour perspective she uses a broad palette that could easily be seen in the abstract as too noisy to live with, but what Jessica does so wonderfully is to illustrate the importance of proportion.

Her expert handling sees serene blues and dusted plaster tones soothe while bursts of energetic colour make you grin. It reminds us of the long ago advice by a college weave tutor to always look for that glimpse of spice to treat the eye.

Jessica’s solo show Dancing With Colour opens at the Loughran Gallery 18th September – 12th October 2013. She’ll also be showing her work at Decorex during London Design Festival. We’ll definitely be making a visit.

http://www.jessicazoob.com

http://www.loughrangallery.co.uk

http://www.decorex.com

 

10.09.13 : Clarity InColour With Designersblock

Clarity InColour will be at Designersblock this London Design Festival as part of their Listen, Watch, Share conference.

The conference examining the relationships between Design and Education, Entrepreneurship, Science and Society will be at The Southbank Centre’s Sunley Room.

Justine Fox will be looking at the influence of young designers on the high street and how their ideas act as early indicators for societal mood changes that will affect what we want to buy in the future.

Come and see what Justine’s got tipped for Design & Society on Friday 20th 17.00-19.00.

To book your tickets visit The Southbank Centre here:

http://bit.ly/13FinNy

For more information on Designerblock London 2013 and The Fifth Element visit:

http://www.verydesignersblock.com

05.09.13 : Psalt Design Colour Memories

We love the idea of colour and memory going hand in hand here at Clarity InColour and that’s just what Sheffield based furniture and product design studio Psalt Design has given us in their latest collections ‘Juxta’ and ‘Myosotis’.

Juxta is a simple clock collection that mixes materials and finishes together just as the name suggests. The special touch here is that the colour of the matt-coated hands takes its direction from the painted timber ends at their local supply merchants. It’s a nod to the wood type of the clock face and the manufacturing process itself.

Juxta comes in glossy Ash, Oak and Maple with rich tones of red, blue and green.

Myosotis continues whistling a similar colour tune in Water Blue and Purple Red. Although both colours are reminiscent of a treasured first edition or family album – something especially for special things, Myosotis is actually a handmade magnetic sheet steel notice board. It’s folded towards the front to form a mini shelf for loose bits and comes with 3 brass magnets. We think it’s perfect for curating your monthly colour inspiration.

These and more products will be with Psalt Design at Tent London from 19th-22nd September as part of the London Design Festival 2013.

www.psaltdesign.co.uk

www.tentlondon.co.uk

www.londondesignfestival.com

23.07.2013 : CLARITY INCOLOUR'S FIRST BLOG ENTRY

Welcome to the 1st blog entry of our new website. We thought perhaps we’d go for something meaty to start off with. This is an extract from our recent paper for the AIC conference held last week in sunny Gateshead. 

Colourists have long tried to understand the human relationship with colour. How and why do we use it? Does it impact on how we behave or it is a reflection of how we feel? Is it simply the hue itself or do external factors fuel our desires to buy one particular shade, tone or tint? Running a simple P.E.S.T analysis of recent global developments is there a correlation between the
prevalent colours?

Political: The Cuban Missile Crisis 16-28th October 1962
This is reportedly the closest that the USSR and US ever came to nuclear war. With missile launchers under construction by USSR in Cuba, US created a ‘quarantine’ flotilla resulted in 13 days of tension watched by the world. 

After times of extreme pressure, one would assume there must be and equal and opposite action in response. Would one expect to see this is in the level of colour saturation or chromacity? From investigations, there does not appear to be a dramatic shift in the colours. Perhaps greens are less blue and have lightness but very little else. Ochre, poppy and amethyst all seem important colours - of more note is the changing silhouette and freedom within print. The move towards this futurism is difficult to pin on a feeling of relief from a crisis event and could related to the 1961 launch of man into space. New colour adoption
would be a slower process because of technological and
societal norms. 

Economic: Global Financial Crisis 2007-2008

2008 sees the work crash since the Great Depression 1929-1930. Lehman Brothers closes; Goldman Sacks and Morgan Stanley get banking status to avoid bankruptcy and Merrill Lynch are taken over. 

SS 2007 fashion shows just prior to the crash see vivid fun colours. Within the design industry, 2006 exhibitions like Salone del Mobile, 100% Design and New York Design Week show saturated lively hues, in particular it is noted blue-based lush greens, clean bright orange and light energetic red with ultramarine.

SS 2009, you see the same fashion designers considerably paring back level of colour shown. A large proportion shown was black, there is little other colour but what is shown appears more subdued, greyed off and less saturated. ‘Nude’ is the big driver of the season. Colour energy comes from highlights within print, applique and intarsia. The design industry showed an excess of white but green & orange were in evidence. Again it is noted that the hue becomes less saturated and greyed off. As with fashion, high value colours appear as accents or FMCGs. 

Sociological: Aging Population

A 2002 UN report for the World on Aging described this as an unprecedented global phenomenon that would have enduring effects on daily life. This effect, at different stages around the world, sees the number of UK pensioners due to double by 2050. Research centres like RCA’s Helen Hamlyn look at the impact this is having on design and how to address problems with colour perception in the elderly and those with dementia. As pattern can confuse, solid well-defined colour takes the lead. Functionality on Dyson and Egle Ugintaite is defined by intuitive action colour against grey while food manufacturer Via Roma use black, white and greyscale to create high contrast to their buyers. Aging vision can appear to desaturate colour, colour forecasters can intensify product colour to adjust to this. For food contrast, Gregor Timlin & Nic Rysenbry believe navy blue crockery to have least ill affect on food perception.

Technological: Biomimetic, Nano & Colour Effects

Biomimetic research leads the development of lustre, pearlescent and colour flip pigments and technologies. Understanding how the natural world engineers colour effects helps to find more efficient, safer and sustainable solutions both in performance and aesthetics. 

Beetle-like dichromic architectural cladding used by UN Studio captures the movement of the sun, bounces movement around the wearer of this Jonathan Saunders skirt and Merck emphasises the aerodynamic power with high colour intensity of its special effect pigments. Within composites like DuPont’s Corian, patented processes create visual texture with lustre effects. The exposure to multi-dimensional effects influences designers like Tom Dixon to blend this new visual language with traditional points of reference.

Image Credits

American Apparell Jacky Ad Campaign
Assunta Lanzavecchia Wai
Design For Dementia Gregor Timlin
DuPont Corian & Zodiaq 2013 Colour US Launch
Dyson DC50
Graphic design for Via Roma Pasta and Sauces by United* for A&P:
Jonathan Saunders SS2013
La Defense Offices Almere, Netherlands by Unstudio 
Merck Pigments Cube & Aviation
Selection from online fashion sources including Galliano, Kane, Lacroix, McCartney, McQueen, Sander Ungaro,  Interior design shows from Core77 & retro fashion from Pininterest
The Aid by Egle Ugintaite winner of FUJITSU grand prize
Together Lanzavecchia Wai
Tom Dixon Lustre Pendents

 

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