Colour and Trends

October 14, 2013 § Leave a comment

In this workshop we focused on the use of colour, and the trends of colour in the market.

This is the slideshow we went through – TID1161 Margot session 2

Reasons Colour Is Important:

  • Physiological effect on your vision
  • Colours stimulate the eye at different levels
  • Colours react differently on top of other colours
  • Using dyes, paints or pixels designers manipulate visual perceptions to achieve a desired response
  • Companies invest huge amounts of money testing the responses to colour of customers and consumers

The Value of Colour:

Historically: In the past, it was very expensive to colour things, as the dyes and pigments were soured from exotic plants, animals, and rare minerals, which were largely imported.

Textiles: William Perkin developed synthetic dye in 1856, resistant to fading, and as a result was used in clothing.

“It was also indirectly responsible for enormous advances in medicine, perfumery, food, explosives, photography and other chemical products isolated from coal tar. As such it underpinned the growth of industrial giants such as AGFA, BASF, Bayer and ICI.”

– source from the RSC website, giving a history of colour

Art: 19th century development of synthetic paint ranges and the metal paint tube revolutionised art which could now be conducted in the field.

Printing methods: screen print and engraving was expensive for mass production, development of offset lithography printing and full colour in 1930/40s made more affordable.
Photography: 1970s colour photography still relatively expensive, first MoMA NYC show was William Eggleston’s supersaturated images of Memphis in 1976 (Eggleston Trust). Now replicated in Instagram filters.
Margot informed us that there is a colour museum in Bradford, which I was unaware of, living in Bradford myself, so I don’t really have an excuse not to go! It turns out I’ve walked past this place many a time, but never realised what it was.
Pantone colours can come in an array of different cards and papers, and depending on this card/paper, it can alter the colour itself, to get the most vibrant Pantone colours I would get coated paper swatches.
The value of colour in digital design, in the 21st century, is cheap, and there is unlimited access to colour and digital print and papers – this has allowed for the design industry to thrive in many ways, with minimal restrictions.
Margot told us about the film director Wes Anderson, who uses colour in a big way in his films, focusing much of the films attention on the aspect of colour, which is evident from watching the below clip, a trailer for ‘The Darjeeling Limited’.
Other films we were told to watch, as ‘homework’, include ‘Fantastic Mr. Fox’ and ‘The Royal Tenenbaum’.
Colour and Trends
– Movements that affect the ‘market’ of design and products.
– Social / political / economic / spiritual / ethical / ecological / technological.
– World events can change trends such as 9/11!
– Futurologists look at how the psyche of the consumer changes, and predict trends up to 5 years in advance.
– Backlash to existing trends, refresh and renew the ‘market’ eg 1998 the 13 flavours of AppleMac.
Hallmark is an example of how companies use trends – this is an extract from the ‘Christmas LOOK Book 2011’ which includes ‘Winter Garden’, ‘Indulgent Explorer’, and ‘Frosted Metropolis’ amongst others:
Further Research
– To understand more about colour and trends visit TrendHub on the third floor of the library.
– Visit the WGSN (Worth Global Style Network) via Unilearn > TrendHub (click this if you’re logged into UniLearn already)
– Visit SDC (Society of dyers and colourists) website and check out online resources

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