How do you make herbs and spices tantalizing on a visual and auditory level? Asked by Schwartz Flavour Shots to create an ad that turned its seasonings into a complete sensory experience, Grey London unleashed Schwartz herbs and spices in an explosion of colors choreographed to a classical arrangement by M.J. Cole of Soho Music. Directed by Partizan’s Chris Cairns, the Schwartz Flavour Shots commercial used pyrotechnic designers to trigger 140 separate explosions of spices. Several sacks of black peppercorn, turmeric, cardamom, paprika, ginger, cumin seeds, chili and coriander were synchronized to blast off on cue to the notes and chords of Cole’s piano score. Filmed at Pinewood Studios in the UK, the commercial had to be shot in one take. The final result was an exciting visual feast.
A fascinating post appeared recently on the Colossal blog about a color matching guide that predates Pantone by well over two centuries. The Dutch color guide, produced in 1692 by a person who identified himself as A. Boogert, was virtually unknown until a Medieval book historian named Erik Kwakkel at Leiden University in The Netherlands happened upon it while looking through a French database. In nearly 800 pages of handwritten Dutch, Boogert meticulously explained how to change the proportion of water and paints to achieve different tones. Along with detailed notations, Boogert individually painted swatches of the exact shade on the facing pages. In his introduction, Boogert said he prepared the book for educational purposes – which would have been a wonderful gift to the arts except that color offset lithography did not exist yet. As far as we know, Boogert was only able to create one copy of his book. Hopefully he was able to share his manual with other Dutch painters in his vicinity. It would be nice to think that Boogert played some small role in making the 17th century “The Golden Age of Dutch Painting.”
Rather than single out any one art style or type of graffiti to serve as the identity for the Madrid Street Art Project (MSAP), IS Creative Studio adopted a bold asphalt black-and-white street pattern to brand the program. Devised by Martin and Diana Prieto Martin and Guillermo de la Madrid, MSAP is a nonprofit project designed to support and enjoy public art in Spain’s capital city. Through guided tours, workshops, exhibitions, publications and artistic actions, MSAP aims to bring street art to citizens. According to MSAP’s website, “To come up with the [logo design], we relied on the city streets where street art was born and lives. Due to the diverse activities of this project, we thought that the identity of the Madrid Street Art Project should be flexible. We developed a logo that looks like a map….Streets often lead us in opposite directions to our destination. We think this is a great representation of the reflection which street art invites us to think about.” MSAP’s structured logo also contrasts beautifully with the bright colors and amorphous shapes of graffiti drawings.
The massive earthquake and tsunami that struck northeastern Japan on March 11, 2011, made funerals an all too frequent occurrence, draping the country in the black and white colors of grief. The Nishinihon Tenrei Funeral Parlor in Japan sought to soften the somber mood and turned to I&S/BBDO in Tokyo for a respectful advertisement that would remind people of the beauty of life. The agency created a full-size human skeleton out of pressed flowers and reprinted it as a poster with the message “Life Is Endless”. The poster was unveiled at a funeral trade show.
There are some retail brands that we can spot a mile away, driving 65 miles per hour, even before we can make out the letters in the name or the logo. We recognize the brand by its signature colors. Color is a critical part of any graphic identity system. Some designers reformulate colors by tweaking the hues –making shades richer, darker, lighter or more orange, green or purple, etc. — to strengthen their proprietary link to a brand. Others simply choose “off-the-shelf” colors but display them consistently in the same combination –e.g., red, white and blue and a certain North American country. This quiz challenges you to match these color swatches with the brands they represent. Good luck! See answers after the jump.
When this museum’s main attraction is a shawl, its ingenious to drape one in a way to form the logotype “M”, as Moscow designer Vova Lifanov did for the History Museum of the Russian Shawl in Pavlovsky Posad. The colorful, lavishly patterned shawl is a national symbol of Russia. Like Russia itself, the shawl traces its roots to a mix of East Asian and European influences. Centuries ago trade with Persia popularized the wearing of Persian shawls bearing decorative patterns that looked strikingly similar to Persian rugs. The word “shawl” itself is of Persian origin. When Russia began producing its own shawls, it integrated its own Russian ornamentation into the design. Lifanov captured all this for the museum by creating a flexible identity program that allows the use of different patterns and colors on objects ranging from business cards to shopping bags and coffee mugs.
Wild Winter Ale is the fourth in a limited edition series of seasonal beers released by Danish brewery Mikkeller in 2012. The label, created by Swedish graphic design agency Bedow, features a simple silhouette of a leafy apple tree, printed with thermochromic ink. The ale is meant to be kept refrigerated or at least cold until serving. What makes this label intriquing is that the ink is heat sensitive. As the label gets warm from being held in the drinker’s hand, the tree begins to shed its leaves until only its bare limbs remain.
Thermochromic inks were first popularized in the 1970s, appearing in “mood rings” that changed colors supposedly indicating the wearer’s emotional state. Increasingly, designers are finding creative ways to use heat-sensitive inks in printing.
For those of us who have been glued to the television all week watching the London 2012 Olympics, here’s a little quiz to do during commercial breaks. According to modern Olympic tradition, the host country for the Games is responsible for creating an emblem to be used on promotional materials, by sponsors of the Olympics, and on the uniforms of every Olympic competitor. Over the decades, these logos have integrated the cultural symbols and patterns, national colors and artistic styles of the host country into the design. See if you can name the year and location for each of these emblems. A bonus point if you can recite the Olympics motto. Click “Read More” for answers.
A logo is widely considered the most important visual expression of retail brands, corporations and institutions. The symbol is a graphic “stand-in” for the entity, communicating its personality and values through a unique and memorable combination of colors, shapes and typography. The latest episode of PBS’s Off Book web series explores “The Art of Logo Design,” with designers Stephen Heller, Sagi Haviv of Chermayeff & Geismar, Kelli Anderson, and Gerard Huerta commenting on the role of logos today.
Lately street banners with a logo of the Golden Gate Bridge have been popping up all over San Francisco to mark the 75th birthday of the city’s most beloved icon. Designed by Studio Hinrichs, the anniversary logo features the Bridge’s familiar vermillion red (aka International Orange) color, its soaring 746-foot-high tower and the Art Deco-styled sunburst border of the rivets that bolt the Bridge together. Applied to everything from signage to souvenir merchandise, the 75th anniversary logo was created to work in one-, two- and four- colors and remain crisp whether etched onto glass, cast in metal, or stitched on fabric. Along with the logo medallion, Kit designed a special Bridge typeface, called Golden Gate Girder, for a commemorative poster, single alphabet letter keychains and other uses.
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.
On Friday, Peru officially launched a brand for the country, by stringing its new logo across the front entrance of the New York Stock Exchange. Gone are the old logo and slogan, “Land of the Incas.” In its place is a new identity developed by the British firm, FutureBrand, which also created Australia’s country brand in 2003.
The adoption of the spiral letter “P” wordmark represents the country’s bold move toward raising its identity internationally, not just as a tourist destination, but as the source of a broad line of export goods.
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.”