Looking for a Christmas present that a designer will appreciate? Try “PANTONE®: The 20th Century in Full Color” (Chronicle Books) by color experts Leatrice Eiseman and Keith Recker. The book takes readers on a color-palette tour of the last century presenting a decade-by-decade account of fads, fashions, films, social and art movements, objects, and events and the colors associated with them. Each subject is presented with color chips of the palette, complete with exact Pantone numbers — e.g., Buttercup Yellow (PANTONE 12-0752), Nile Green (PANTONE14-0121), Lipstick Red (PANTONE 19-1764). Perusing this book, it becomes apparent that color is very much a part of our collective memory, evoking a sense of time and place and the emotional climate of the era. It’s a unique way of seeing the 20th century.
Here authors Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, and Keith Recker, Pantone color and trend consultant, join us for a brief interview.
Extending a brand into global markets isn’t a straightforward process. Product makers have to consider all kinds of cultural and language barriers. Can the letterforms be read? Can the name be pronounced? Does it have a pleasing or harsh sound when spoken? Does the name mean something else in another language? (An example is the famous case of the Chevy Nova, which in Mexico translates to “doesn’t go.”) Then there is the challenge of trying to maintain some graphic consistency so the brand is truly global and not the same product that looks different in every regional market.
Consider how Carlsberg Beer and Coca-Cola graphically translated their logotypes into multiple languages, for example. LogoDesignLove brought the Carlsberg comparisons to our attention. With Carlsberg, note the way that the designers tried to carry over the signature style of the brand — the flat-top squared-off “C,” tri-leaf accent pattern, the swash decorative flourish under the type, the brushstroke-like serif on the last “r.” Although the letterforms differ dramatically from language to language, the various logotypes have a family look that suggests their roots stem from the original Danish Carlsberg logo.
Monday the world reached an important milestone. The global population hit seven billion people, with the birth of a 5.5 pound baby girl in the Philippines. In anticipation of topping the seven billion mark, National Geographic Magazine has been presenting a year-long editorial series on population, with articles and videos on how this affects demographics, food security, climate change, fertility trends and managing biodiversity. This is one of its videos. By the way, since Monday’s historic event, the world population has gone up by more than a half million people and is climbing by about five births a second.
Today design trends ricochet around the globe instantaneously, thanks to the Internet. But a look at these posters, advertisements and magazine covers produced in Japan in the 1920s and 1930s show the integration of art movements from European cultures, including Constructivism, Surrealism and Cubism. The graphic works — which appeared in “Modernism on Paper: Japanese Graphic Design of the 1920s-30s” by Naomichi Kawabata – represent a period when communication design was emerging in Japan. The posters and ads from this period are sometimes referred to as “city art,” because merchants wanted to appeal to urban consumers by departing from traditional pictorial naturalism and embracing message-driven avant-garde visuals that implied that they were keeping pace with styles from the West. The aesthetics and composition communicated this awareness of the larger world and established many of the principles of early graphic design in Japan.
When it comes to branding commercial aircraft, the tail comes before the nose. The tailfin is the tallest part of the plane. It’s the last thing people on the ground see as the plane lifts off. And pretty much the only part they see when the plane is parked buy adobe acrobat nose first at the gate. It is a flying billboard, which is why airline branding experts focus most of their attention on designing memorable graphics for the tail. See if you can match the airline with these tails. Answers on next page.
With the global population expected to top 7 billion people in 2011, National Geographic magazine has produced a 7-part year-long series providing a profile of the world’s population. The information is fascinating, and from a design point of view, it shows the effective graphic use of the magazine’s yellow and black brand colors and yellow rectangular frame logo, which has been around since the magazine began publishing in 1888. From a marketing strategy perspective, it gives us a lot to think about.
Over the next few years, it is likely that many countries will be redesigning their travel passports. The purpose isn’t to make them more attractive, which certainly they can use, but to deter increasingly more sophisticated and dangerous counterfeiters.
Along with hi-res micro images, encrypted biometric information, hidden data chips and other security devices, passports are being issued with different full-color images on every page. They aren’t just any kind of image, but ones using microprinting, holograms, fluorescent dyes, thermochromatic inks, ornamental patterns made with a geometric lathe, intaglio, watermarks, and magnetic inks, among other techniques. All this is for public safety, but since nations are investing millions of dollars anyway, it would be nice if they gave some thought to the aesthetic quality of the new design while they are at it. Like currency and postage stamps, passports can be used to communicate the beauty, style and uniqueness of the issuing country.
With the kick-off of New York Fashion Week, Pantone has come out with its report on spring 2011 color trends. Their survey of prominent fashion hues suggests that apparel designers have been influenced this season by colors evocative of exotic destinations like Africa, India, Peru and Turkey. Pairing warm-cool complementary shades that are opposites on the color wheel, the spring palette is lively yet muted.
Fashion color trends do not necessarily cross over into other product categories such as household goods or wall paints, but many designers find them useful to track because they help them coordinate everything from point-of-purchase displays and packaging to editorial layouts. Being aware of the most up-to-date fashion colors helps suggest a contemporary look and keeping the Pantone formula numbers handy makes it easier to match what’s “in.”
We happened across a video on social media done by Erik Qualman and were blown away. Then we noticed that it was produced in 2009, which is so last year! Fortunately, Equalman Productions came out with this revised version in 2010 – probably also outdated, but less so.
The takeaway message is that traditional consumer research, advertising and marketing methods are quickly becoming ineffective and irrelevant. If we aren’t factoring social media into our marketing plan, we’ll be left behind.
This week the U.S. Treasury unveiled new $100 currency redesigned to discourage counterfeiting. If counterfeiters are deterred by ugliness, this should do the trick.
Okay, we understand the need to incorporate high-tech security features, but was it really necessary to make statesman Ben Franklin look like comedian Jack Benny? Who’s idea was it to stick the Liberty Bell in an orange inkwell and feature the back side of Independence Hall instead of the front? And why was Franklin dressed in a lavender jacket and shoved off-center so an offensive blue 3-D security ribbon could run down the middle? It seems like our most revered American symbols are being mocked.
Still… if anyone offered to give us a suitcase filled with ugly new $100s if we’d stop complaining about the bad design, we’d gladly accept.
Hong Kong recently unveiled its newly revamped brand identity – a stylized version of its previous fiery dragon logo, which had been in use since 2001. The new dragon appears friendlier and has a colorful kite-like tail and boasts the tagline “Asia’s World City.” It looks less exotic than the old logo, but more welcoming.
That got us to wondering what other national tourism brands were out there, and what we found told us a lot about how countries try to appeal to foreign travelers. When we lined up 50 or more national logos, similar visual themes emerged. This said more about what some nations thought tourists wanted to see than about what made them distinct as a destination. On the whole, there was an inordinate use of breezy brushstroke lettering, bright tropical colors, “sunny” O’s and dotted I’s, and hearts and flowers. Some felt appropriate to the flavor, personality and tempo of the place. Others like the logos of former Soviet bloc countries felt generic and not reflective of a region that many associate with rich earthy colors, mysterious architecture and temperature extremes. A beach culture it’s not.
When nations consider their exportable resources, design is often far down the list, but a 2008 study conducted by the Victoria government in Australia revealed that over $300 million in state revenue can be directly attributed to design-related exports. The state ’s design sector, centered in Melbourne, contributes $7 billion annually to the economy and employs more than 76,000 Victorians – this in a country with a population of just 21.5 million people. The study made apparent that design talent is a highly desirable and exportable commodity. The Australian creative industry could be as marketable abroad as iron ore and manufactured goods.
Australian designers have skills sought in many parts of the world, particularly in rapidly industrializing areas like neighboring Southeast Asia. In fact, the vast geographic size of Australia actually makes the flying distance from Melbourne to Singapore or Indonesia shorter than from Melbourne to Perth. As it is, many studios in Singapore are heavily staffed by Australian designers.
Understanding where the market is and where it is heading is critical to every aspect of design and business. Savvy marketers look for clues everywhere and draw connections to launch new products, tailor their brand messages, and determine which industries will thrive. This intriguing video provides statistics that are shocking and thought-provoking…but what do they mean? What are the ramifications for commerce and design, mar-com and management? We don’t know, but we feel they are important to consider.
With so many people feeling blue because their 401Ks have tanked, what color is likely to resonate with the public today?Color forecaster Laura Guido-Clark, who has consulted on the “skin” (color, material, finish) of everything from cars to computers, toothbrushes to carpets, uses a process she calls “climatology” to survey the economic, political, emotional and social temperature of the times to arrive at a palette that consumers will find satisfying and exciting.Guido-Clark tells the San Francisco Design Center’s 3DMagazine, “We are in a time of deep introspection and fear is running as an undercurrent, but hope is what keeps us going. Optimism is the polar opposite of despair, and we will see people drawn to colors that reflect that reaching out for a brighter future.Deep, vibrant and saturated colors such as raspberries, yellows, oranges, royal blues and purples are important. You are also starting to see a softening of the palette with grayed pastels — perhaps our way of landing softly in tough times. People are also being drawn to pliable materials such as wire and sculpted metals that show flexibility and a willingness to bend and change. We will be mixing more metals in unique ways and breaking rules as we come to terms with a new way of thinking. We also expect that earthy textures, woods, deep piles and fabrics with a rich, tactile surface will be more appealing as people seek to make their homes feel like they are cocooning and safe from outside forces.” www.lgcdesign.com