Brand of Colors: The Power of Compliments

Brand of Colors:  The Power of Compliments

When my colleague Debbie Josendale, of 3C Marketing Group, asked me to consult on colors for one of her client’s visual identity, which encompasses its  brand / branding, I was intrigued.  I had a deep purple color in front of me as a starting point, but knew that it was too dark and somber to represent what I understood her client’s message to be.

I read up on the client, I played with colors, I visualized, and knew that purple would be one of the colors involved.  And the obvious choice of a secondary “partnering” color would be its compliment, gold. Purple and yellow, violet and gold…these are combinations which are opposite each other on the color wheel.  They are sets of compliments, of opposites. They are complimentary colors and being opposites, set each other off in high contrast, much in the way that black and white do.  So that the color design wouldn’t be garish, I chose hues that were somewhat toned down, rather than bright, though they are strong and saturated. There is a slight earthiness to these colors, that I felt better communicated the feeling of the brand.  Color design for the visual identity of a business can also be tricky in this regard: the colors may look different on different computer screens, and even when printed on different papers or surfaces, and by different companies. The colors are used throughout the client’s site.

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The symbolism, and associations of the chosen colors are also important in determining their meaning, resonance, and appropriateness for the brand and its story.  In a future post, we will  look at the color choices from the vantage points of:

The Energetic (the chakras, and their meanings, associations and influences), The Associations we have with these colors, (What they express, or represent) and their associations with the other senses (Sensory).  What does purple “taste” like?  How heavy does gold “feel”?

Visit us again to find out….and learn more about the wild, wooly and wonderful world of Color!

 

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Crawling the Wall: The Making of a Mural

Crawling the Wall: The Making of a Mural

Lest you think that only smooth interior walls or whitewashed exterior ones can provide the surface for mural magic…let me set you straight.

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What is a mural ?  Related to the French word “mur”, meaning “wall”, the term “mural” is derived from the Latin mūrālis, which means “of a wall”, derived from the Latin mūrus, or…WALL!  And…there are so many kinds of walls…

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Some sport a trellis, such as the wall I was to paint for my client, Maureen.

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This was her view through her kitchen window, in a neighborhood that is often permeated in dense fog.

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Well, picturesque though it might be…the trellis had to go.

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Underneath, the corrugated texture of the wooden siding posed another painting challenge.

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Maureen’s contractor and landscaper, Greg Spry of  Spryscapes had designed a bench for the deck, so the mural needed to work with it.

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The deck opened out directly from the living/dining area, which informed the mural’s color palette.

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I also took inspiration from the colors, textures and patterns of pillows, textiles, artwork, and other details inside,

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as well as from Maureen’s business card.

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She loves flowers and plants, and with that fog,  they can be challenging to grow and maintain on the deck.

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Taking a cue from the wall’s trellis “history”, I designed a composition of curving vines, punctuated by big splashes of brightly colored blossoms, and made it to-scale.

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On a rare lovely, sunny day, I set up a little outdoor studio right on the deck , and set to work.

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The essentials: mockup, palette, and rags.  Oh yes…the paints are out there too.

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I began with a rough chalk outline on the wall, closely following the design depicted in the mockup.

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I laid in the underpainting for the leaves , “vines”, and and stems, over which the other colors would go, in a cool green hue.  I had cut stencils (incredibly useful!) in varied sizes for the leaves, and adhered them to the side wall with blue painters tape in-between color applications.

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Next came the underpainting of the flower blossoms in a brilliant yellow.

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All the paints used are artist’s  acrylic designed for mural painting, which I bought at the Precita Eyes Muralists Community Art Store in San Francisco.

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Next, I laid in the other colors, and added details, complexity and depth with layers of color that shifted in value from dark to light and back again.

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I used sets of strongly contrasting complementary colors to add energy, intensity, “pop” and vigor to the design.

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I disregarded the edges of the strips of siding, and its corrugated texture, and painted right over it and into its texture, applying layers of slightly watered down paint to the painted surface to fill each area, and give the sense of unbroken blossoms of color dancing across the wall.

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Maureen’s painter had base painted the wall in a neutral color, which made the technicalities of my task easier, as his efforts helped to unify the surface.

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The idea was to create a rhythm, and feeling of movement, color and pattern across the wall.

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The colors would change with the light, but always add a

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sense of whimsy, magic and joi de vivre to the deck and to the home,and to animate it,

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all the way to the end.

(Of course the painting is varnished to protect it from those foggy elements.)

  Now Maureen has a magical, motion-filled garden to look at when she raises her eyes from the kitchen sink, and looks out the window to  the deck. These are flowers that don’t require watering!

Here’s to the bon vivant, Maureen, Cheers!

 

 

Mural Magic

Mural Magic

One of the joys of creating site specific art works, and murals in particular, is just that; their specificity, and particularity.   Working with a client to determine the theme, subject, imagery and details of a mural can become a collaborative journey that yields surprising results, delighting us with the unexpected.

When I began working with a client who wanted a 6 x 12′ Chinese Garden” mural painted on 3 plywood panels that could be affixed to her patio fence, I was excited by the prospect of the research I planned to do, and the new things I anticipated learning about the subject.  We fleshed all of her ideas out through preliminary sketches, and a scaled mockup of the mural as a whole.

My client shared with me the imagery she wanted in her mural, which included Pandas...

Orchids….

a Jade Plant

Bamboo..

Even a (friendly) Tiger!

I loved discovering Chinese Garden Stools

where a cuddly Panda might enjoy a cup of tea….

or play a game of hide and seek…

When the mural was completed, my client said to me, “”I am constantly amazed that you were able to create and depict what I could only talk about. Thank you.” 

A testimonial like that may be the greatest reward of all…in addition to the voyage of fun and discovery we both experienced in our magical mural collaboration.

How have YOU collaborated with Your clients in creating something site specific and custom, just for them?

If you feel so inclined, please about it with us here.

We love to hear from You.

Remember, we are all creating this site specific collaboration called Life, together.

Brand New 2

Brand New 2

What is a “brand“?  I added a link to the term, because I think Wikipedia describes the concept better than I can, at least at this stage.  One of the salient words used in the definition is “identity”.  Specifically: “A brand is the identity of a specific product,  service,  or business.” My colleague  Elka Eastly Veratransformative coach and brand consultant, defines it such: “A brand is like soul DNA. It’s what people recognize you for. It’s where the “you of you” meets the world. It’s the essence of your business. “

Jim Moran, founder and manager of Co-Op, a NYC-based branding firm, says,Brand is really the DNA that defines your company. Branding is about storytelling.  it’s about bringing the DNA to life and creating perceptions.”

When Frank Mahnke, of the International Association of Colour Consultants/Designers says that color is a form of communication and information, he is talking the language of branding.  How do colors, patterns, textures, shapes, forms and images create  ‘soul DNA’, and story?

It took me awhile to realize how much like graphic design and marketing decorative painting could be.  When I worked with the talented graphic designer Dianna Jacobsen, of Jacobsen Design, on the creation of my website, business cards, brochure, and postcard, I went through an in-depth process of determining how I wanted to beam my business, my work, my self, out into the world.

It’s not just about making things beautiful, but creating an experience for people.” says Dianna, about bringing the “brand” into physical spaces.

When I found myself working with clients ranging from businesses and  organizations to  non-profits and institutions, I discovered that I was helping them do just that through visual, and often verbal elements as well.

Let’s take a look at a few of them who employed the painter’s brush as a tool for communicating their message.

921 Front Street is a historic building dating from 1859, located in the North Waterfront area of San Francisco. Originally a warehouse, it is now a commercial building providing office space. The signage in the lobby is based on the building’s logo, so there is an immediate tie-in to the brand.  The metallic copper and steely silver colors used in the lettering reflect the natural and industrial materials used in the lobby.

Maitri Compassionate Care provides exemplary, innovative, and compassionate hospice care. The Maitri Mover Campaign Donor Recognition Arch above was designed to honor the donors who participated in the capital campaign supporting its present facility. Names of donors are hand-painted onto the glazed surface of the industrial arch which supports the one-time parking garage.  Like 921 Front Street,  the lettering is done in metallic paints to draw the eye to the words, and make them stand out from the background.  Whether said background be black or white, and the words words sparse or abundant, all visual and verbal elements support the branding.

“On the Fly” is a specialty men’s store designed by  Martinkovic Milford Architects The broken stripe design suggests stitching, as well as the classic men’s pin-striped suit sold inside. The stripe patten reflects the visual branding image used in the brand’s marketing materials. The “hands on” stripe application both communicates and enhances the store’s established visual message, and is “tailor-made” for the venue!

Also communicating directly out onto the “street”, but in a whole other way, the mural above depicts an imagined “Land of Oshun”, where a host of interacting Oshun figures express the colors, symbols, and attributes of this beneficent and inspirational goddess figure. Oshun Center, a drop-in center for women and their families, is a program of the Haight Ashbury Free Clinics.   Oshun is the name of an “Orisha” or goddess in the Yoruban (an ethno-linguistic group of West Africa), Brazilian, and Cuban religious pantheons.  Oshun’s color is yellow, and her metals are gold and copper. Other symbols depicted in the mural include peacocks and mirrors, reflective of vanity and physical beauty.  Oshun represents life’s joys, and all that makes it worth living, and this is the “soul DNA”, message, story,  brand, of Oshun Center, supported in turn, by the visual language of the mural.

When we think about how everything we see, indeed everything we experience through any of our senses, transmits something, carries and provides associations, and potentially stirs our emotions, we can see just how powerful visual and verbal elements can be in telling the story of our soul, and communicating the soul of our story.

How have You communicated the essence of your own work or business, or that of another,  through the elements of color, pattern, texture and imagery?  What about words, text, or as the brand editor Abby Kerr would say, “phraseologie”?

Please share about the richness of your experience with us here.  We love to hear from You.

Remember, we  are all branding through this thing called Life, together.


The Art of Stenciling, I Presume?

The Art of Stenciling, I Presume?

Once upon a time, after the New Year of 2011 had begun, and before 2010 taxes were due, I had the opportunity to collaborate with an esteemed Client and associate, to add that “finishing touch” (actually, the window treatments came afterwards) to a very special Guest Bath.

This Bath was in the process of being transformed, from a place of day to day use by his son, now gone off  to college, to a fresh and fun “new” space for his fiance, who tended towards a minimalist, Mid-Century,  New York sensibility.

My awesome Client, himself a long-time Berkeley, CA resident, has an eclectic design sense, informed by extensive travels around the globe,

art collected at home and abroad,

and a love of bright color,

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and funky furniture.

Indeed, he has done much of the interior painting in his home himself.

We discussed that bathroom in question, and I took a look…

It was freshly painted, with colorful artwork, of course,

and the green tile had to be taken into consideration.

I chose three repeating stencil designs, and made Samples for my Client and his Intended to look at on site, in the room. Taking my cue from the tile, the artwork, the colors in the adjacent hallway and throughout the home, I used cerulean blue and deep forest green, nature colors that would contrast beautifully with the base coat,  Benjamin Moore OC57, “White Heron”,  give a clean fresh feel to the room, and support its function.

I also wanted the design to reflect both a feminine and masculine sensibility, and be able to marry both eclectic-world beat-funky tastes with minimalist-Mid-Century-streamlined preferences. Or, try, anyway.

I was thrilled that the Client chose a custom stencil that I had created from an existing source years ago, for a master bath suite  in another and very different East Bay city.  Happily, the design contained both geometric and organic elements, that created both a sense of movement and stability.

It was fun, it was crafty, it was elegant, yet funky, and the Client supported my idea of applying the paint color in a mottled, layered, and textural way.  Best of all, in the words of my Client’s fiance, “It complete(d)  the room!”.  As I was concerned that she be as happy with the result as he, this comment was music to my ears.

The repeated design pulls out colors in the artwork,

and creates a bower for the painted lovers.

The blue and green hues set off the strong red accents prevalent throughout the home.

The stenciled effect is multiplied through reflection.

A spot application of invisible clear varnish protects the stenciled border from the effects of moisture.

With careful planning, enhanced by Client collaboration, even a room already containing strong elements of art and color can be “completed” through the well-placed pattern, whether hand-painted, stenciled, printed or plastered. That extra addition of artful love and care to a space can really “pull it together”, and bring it to the next level of design and artistry.  A stenciled border can contain and express both feminine and masculine elements within its design.  Eclectic-world beat-funky can marry minimalist-Mid-Century-streamlined. My Client/s, and our collaboration have proved that!

Have YOU ever “married” sensibilities, styles and approaches in Your projects?

If you feel so inspired,  please share about it with us here.  We love to hear from you.

Remember, we are all collaborating in this thing called Life,  together.   Cheers!



The Importance of Being Earnest…

The Importance of being Earnest…

I recently received an email, in which a Client expressed his appreciation this way:

” I know in the big picture, our job on Corbett is tiny compared to all that you handle. However, you really made us feel important and that is genuinely appreciated.”

My (emailed) response included this comment, ” …by the way- you/Corbett ARE important to me!!!”

This exchange gave me pause for thought…



Why would a Client think that his/their project, in this case, color consultation for the exterior of a 3 unit condo building where he is the HOA president, was not important, or as important then other projects that I, or for that matter, my colleagues might have?

We have all heard the adage “The customer is always right.” as well as “Every client is important.”  But, what does that really mean?

For me it means that if I take on a Client, I make a commitment to them and to their particular project  within the scope of the work we are doing together.  So much of our work as artists, decorative painters, craftspeople, designers, architects and color consultants (to name a few) is collaborative.   We work WITH  the Client to realize their vision, and our vision of their vision.  If we don’t have their contribution, commitment, buy-in, or what-have-you, that process can become difficult, stymied, or downright impossible.  We may even get our head, or someone else’s, handed to us!

In other words, yes, every Client and their project should be important to us. It just so happens that the particular Client I have quoted here,  falls into the category of “dream” Client.  Along with his partner, he has been responsive, communicative, cooperative, intelligent, and generous with time and fee.  Add to this reasonable, fun and funny, and I think you get the picture.  This is a great Client, with a fun and engaging project, and I have thoroughly enjoyed working with him and his partner.

I don’t value this Client and his project less because the Job in question is not as lucrative financially as some others.  Lucrative does not only refer to  the dollar amount received for a particular Job.  To me,  it means what I am getting out of the Job, vis-a-vis what I am putting into it. Is there positive return on all fronts: artistic gratification, compensation,  appreciation, and client interactions?  In essence,

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must be upheld on both sides for a fruitful relationship that delivers results and satisfaction, perhaps even exceeding expectations.

I recently heard a marvelous audio interview with Wine Country painter Ann Rea, founder of Artists Who Thrive by Carlos Castellanos of Drawn by Success.  During the interview Ann brilliantly describes how she feels that she gets paid twice by those who purchase her paintings, prints, and other artwork. In money, yes, of course, but also in the appreciation of her work by her buyers and collectors, and the relationships she forms with them.

I think many of us know what she means.  We need to have our work connect with others and the larger world outside ourselves to have it really mean something, outside ourselves. So that our work, (and ourselves) do not remain in shadow, or behind bars.

So yes, every Client is important, and especially those with whom we can have a great rapport, grow, and create something that is more than the sum of its parts. When we find ourselves in the path of these dream Clients, all we can be is grateful…

to grow ourselves by working closely with them, realizing their vision, and our own.

Lucrative?  More like priceless!

What priceless Client experiences  have made YOU grow lately?

If you feel so inspired, share them with us here.  We love to hear from you.  Remember, we are all growing though this thing called Life, together.