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.

Print

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!

 

Advertisements

Color: A Balancing Act 3

Color: A Balancing Act 3

 Between Unity and Complexity: Achieving Balance

GreenDoorjamb

As discussed in previous posts, color balance in our environments can have a profound effect on our health and well-being. The “emotional loading of a space” in architectural psychology terminology, is the emotion we feel when we perceive color in a space. Perception happens in the brain, and is a process. What we perceive, as regards to color, and thus the resulting emotion, may be influenced by many factors, such as the size and shape of the space we are in, the interplay of the colors that are there, our state of mind, and, of course, the light. I would go so far as to include pattern and texture, weather (affecting the natural light which may be entering  and thus informing the space), cultural associations with the colors used, and our own personal associations with them.

So complex! But also, so much fun. Evocative. Provocative.

archFBa

Unity and complexity are two opposite poles, unity related to parts fitting into a coherent whole, and complexity involving variation.  Both are important.  Too much unity, and we can experience monotony and sensory deprivation, in a word, under-stimulation. Symptoms can manifest such as irritation, restlessness, difficulty in concentrating, and interestingly, excessive emotional response.  Why? As I understand it, because  we do not have enough to capture our attention, indeed, perhaps to distract us from our emotions, or to direct them.  As color consultant Helen Gurura says, “People expect all their senses to be moderately stimulated at all times.”  What is the key here? The word “moderately”.  As the saying goes…“All things in moderation…even-  moderation!”

BLOG1

On the other end of the spectrum, we have complexity, which in the extreme, can lead to over-stimulation. and increase muscular tension, pulse rate and blood pressure. Hmmm…not good. Too much saturated color, brightness and pattern demand  attention both voluntary and involuntary. This can mess with our capacity to concentrate visually and thus interfere with tasks that require this, resulting in among other things, lowered productivity.

Blog1,jpg

Thus we see that both over and under-stimulation can impair our concentration..one by not giving us enough to focus on, the other by giving us too much.  In both cases we get distracted…by having not enough to see, or by being inundated by too much visual stimuli!

Our goal is balance, the balance between these two extremes, and apparently our minds, bodies, and perhaps our souls and spirits too, crave it.

dj_a

Let’s see how balance, or, “the securing of unity in the midst of variety”,  is achieved in the following spaces, visual environments, and color schemes.  We are all human, and require certain things to stay alive, and to thrive.  However our personal tastes, needs and requirements may differ, based on our genetic make-up, backgrounds, psychology, and cultural influences.  There is no one-size fits all for design. Most of us know this from experience. We may need to “play around’, to discover what fits, or “works for”  us best at any given moment, knowing that this may very well change over time!

1st_aThe inhabitant of this sleek urban space wanted a minimum of color. Warm wood, and neutrals punctuated by crisply framed black and white photographs gave her what she wanted, and saved her from the dangers of monotony, sensory deprivation, and under-stimulation. A favorite painting adds a tiny pop of color, and a variety of materials and light-reflective sheens add visual interest without bringing too much complexity into the space.

1st

bernalRed plays a starring role in this open plan kitchen/living room, adding strength to both spaces in the accent wall below the bar. The warmth of red, wood and rug is offset by the  white trim, and cool metal of the bar stools. Red is often used as an appetite-stimulating color in dining spaces. Here it is kept to an accent, so as not to overwhelm the space and our senses.

lomThis bedroom is in a condo that serves as an “urban getaway for its owners, who wanted a space both warm and restful for their city place, and  high on the “unity” end of the color balance spectrum.  Use of creams, ochres, and warm woods achieve this, while the painting brings in some drama and contrast (IE variety and thus complexity), while staying within the chosen color scheme.

soulAnother use of red as accent, doors are a popular surface for red hues. (Why? Check out this Houzz article on the subject!). The red door of Soulful Pilates Studio in San Francisco (painted red on both sides) ushers students and practitioners into a serene, yet energetic space. Like the bedroom above, warm, creamy ochres are used, but the palette is enlivened by colorful mats, and equipment sporting a variety of textures. The red, intense by contrast, adds complexity by creating a focal point expressing the idea of passing from the outside world to the internal realm, both mentally and physically. A multitude of windows add more visual interest, and plenty of light to the space during the day, as well as framing street “scenes”. Below, the purple mat provides pleasing and complimentary contrast to the golden walls.

soul_e

spear_eCream, red and strong pattern are used to great effect in this Parisian-inspired living/dining area,  another example of an urban “get-away” for the owners. Detail, but a minimum of artwork was added to the walls to break them up visually, and our eye is drawn down the “walkway” to the brilliantly colored and patterned curtains at the end of the corridor. The hue on the wall matches the cream in the curtains, reducing visual complexity through a limited color scheme, and the smooth, polished wooden floors warm and ground the animated, yet elegant space.  The heavy, dark painting is offset by playful patterns, streamlined ornamentation, and  an illusion, of retrained opulence. Comme que c’est tres-francais!

spear_f

There are many ways to visually balance an environment, and the approach may be different for each person.  You may try changing paint colors, adding or subtracting pattern and texture,  curating works of art, decorative items or textiles, rearranging furniture, or even changing your floor surface…with a rug, a coat of paint, or just a bit of “spit and polish”.

I hope this series of posts on Color: A Balancing Act has offered some insight into how to better live and thrive in your environment, and have more fun in it too.  Color, like most things worth investigating, is a life-time study.  Mysterious,energetic, scientific, emotional and physical…it truly seems to weave its own magic, and power.

May You use it well!

Standing our Color Ground III

Standing our Color Ground III

Having completed a rather large and multifaceted color consultation for a set of two buildings, named “ARIA”, and “SONATA”  which anchor opposite corners of a block in the “Valley”,  I am disseminating the experience, and its results through a series of blog posts.

Here I compare and contrast the two buildings, one on either end of a median-sized block in Canoga Park, a district in the San Fernando Valley, about 25 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles.

WEBar

We start with samples…right on the building, looking at two potential palettes. .

web1

The darker foundation grounds the building ARIA, punctuated with symmetrically placed balcony “bump-outs”.

wb2

On SONATA, on the other end of the block, the same accent color was used on the bump-outs, with less of a jump in hue between the field and foundation colors.

web12

The service door takes the bump out accent to 200%…animating the deep foundation.

wb5

Fewer but larger bump-outs on SONATA create a different effect. We are working with broader planes of color here, which, along with less contrast between the foundation and field color, help offset the visual “busyness” that. could result from the use of of both stucco and siding

web6

ARIA’s inner courtyard, softened by use of plants down the center, offsetting and complimenting the earthy orange, cream and brown hues of the building.

wb9

In SONATA’s inner courtyard, a softening effect is achieved with the awnings, as well as the vista of green leaves from the tees beyond.  As there are no bump-outs or patios here in front of the units, the effect is almost that of an empty village street.

web7

Accented bump-outs offset the stronger door color, which punctuates the walls of ARIA’s courtyard.

wb7

A poetic melding of colors humanizes SONATA, front and back.

Next up, “THE DEETS”….a fun look at some of the details which humanize a building…This is where people live, after all.

See you next time…singing our color song!

Until then, may the Arias and Sonatas of your life create a perfect harmony…and the music of your colors  and the colors of your music play beautifully together.

Standing our Color Ground II

Standing our Color Ground II

wb2

Having completed a rather large and multifaceted color consultation for a set of two buildings anchoring opposite corners of a block in the “The Valley”, I decided to disseminate the experience, and its results through a series of blog posts.

As I explore, express and evaluate this consultation over the course of several posts…there will be the time to contrast the colors that were to the colors that became, look at details, and compare the two buildings, one on either end of a median-sized block in Canoga Park, a district in the San Fernando Valley, about 25 miles northwest of Downtown LA.

wb3

This building, called SONATA, sits on the same side of the Canoga Park block as its sibling “ARIA”, but at the other end of the block, caddy corner from a heavily trafficked intersection, and is composed of both stucco  and wood siding.

wb5

wb11

wb8

The accent color Rosewood, a Dunn Edwards hue, reflects the same accent color down the street on ARIA.  As the visible foundation color is the greenish-gray “Bison Beige” in 200% formula, it creates a complimentary pop next to the reddish Rosewood.

wb6

The field or “house body” color, Dunn Edwards “Hickory” , in 75% formula, providing lightness and calm to unify the assorted materials, and proliferation of balcony “bump-out”, which accent the exterior.

wb12

The sides of the building take up part of a block, and thus must provide a pleasing visual, and visceral experinece for the passer by.  Here we can see how both the lower, darker foundation color, and the field or body color serve as a backdrop for green plants, and gray tree trunks, which almost give the sense of a promenade or boulevard.

 wb10

wb9

The boulevard feeling is carried through the inner courtyard, where each resident has their own door, sporting a rather intense 200% formula Rosewood.  The Euro-feel awnings amplify the effect!   At the end of the “boulevard” the far courtyard wall is accented by “Hickory” in 200% formula…just that slight intensification of the color to set it slightly apart from the field color.

wb1

my favorite shot of this building and scheme…it reminds me of where I lived and walked n Southern France many years ago. The railing, and other ironwork is painted in Dunn Edwards “Chocolate Pudding” hue!

wb7

Because of the unification of materials, which affects how the paint color is perceived, the back of the building, to my mind, may be even more aesthetically pleasing then the front!  Fewer cars, too!

It would be fun to look at the building sibs, ARIA and SONATA together, and muse about both their differences, and their similarities.

Shall we do that in the next post?

Great, its a date then.

Take care, and, until then, Be Well…

 

Standing our Color Ground I

Standing our Color Ground I

Having completed a rather large and multifaceted color consultation for a set of two buildings anchoring opposite corners of a block in the “The Valley”, I decided to disseminate the experience, and its results through a series of blog posts.

Decorative Painting and Color can be all about sumptuousness…but it can also be about streamlining, revealing the lines, and getting down to the bones.

Taking a cue from marketing guru Seth Godin, and his concise, pith, and enormously popular blog, (called, pithily enough, “Seth’s Blog“), I am going to make these posts short, succinct, and see if I can let the images do the talking. (Well, Seth doesn’t use many images, but he is a model of succinctness, and easy to read and take in.

As I explore, express and evaluate this consultation over the course of several posts…there will be the time to contrast the colors that were to the colors that became, look at details, and compare the two buildings, one on either end of a median-sized block in Canoga Park, a district in the San Fernando Valley, about 25 miles northwest of Downtown LA.

web2

The entry of  the building called “ARIA”…made smoother and sleeker with addition of glass, a dark, grounding foundation, and lights that ass a bit of character. Notice the integration of the brown color in the tree branches which reach out to “touch” the building, with the brown of the foundation color. not the same, but related.

web1

“ARIA” en totale….pops of color in the bump-outs, or balconies, both accent and tie together the sandy body or field color, and the chocolatey “grounding”  foundation color. The door is painted in a 200% formula of the balcony color,  (meaning that the amount of tint added to create the paint color is doubled, increasing the intensity of the resulting hue.)

web11

Streamlined greenery provides another accent hue…even more so in complementary contrast to the red in the balcony color.

web6

The foundation color on the balconies, and strong door color add livable accent and interest to ARIA’s inner courtyard.   If the red-toned color on the exterior balconies was carried to all of the inner balconies here, it would have been too much: over-stimulating, and underwhelming. Instead, the doors punctuate the long walls, and reflect light from their semi-gloss surfaces.  The concrete floor is deeper, with a grey cast, making it easier on the eyes then a brighter hue.

web9

web8

The contrast in colors, and the textures of the smooth, semi-gloss surfaces of the doors, and the flat sheen, rough texture of the stucco walls create a pleasing visual tension.  The proper amount of tension, paradoxically creates balance…though not necessarily symmetry.

web4

The sun’s white light transforms how we perceive the painted color, making it appear warm and earthy,

web5

as opposed to cooler and grayer when not in direct sunlight.  The window profiles are painted in 200% formula of the field color, bumping it up just slightly, adding interest without visual clutter.  The metal color of the sconces is reflected in the railings and other ironwork.

web3

Each resident adds their personal touch…above we have a grouping of three black “sculls’…and they fit right in!

web3a

“Windowscape”?  “Curated” grouping?  Just plain fun?  Halloween leftovers?

web10

Portrait of a side door….resplendent  in its Rosewood hue, framed by the Teabag– colored foundation, flanked by Weathered Brown-painted iron railings, and shining below a 100%  Hickory house body color.

Next up…a romp through the “perfect palette” of ARIA’s sister property, SONATA…a very different building situated at the other end of the block.  Their color schemes are interrelated, but not the same…because no two buildings are the same.  Even if they claim the same blueprint parents, the  way a building sits on the earth, the way its surface reflects the light, the effect of its surroundings, whether they be flat or foliage, profoundly affects the color we see.  It  is an endlessly fascinating subject, and study

Well Seth, I am not sure if I truly stayed simple…but I h  expressed my passion for color, architecture, design, and the human spirit’s quest for beauty, joy, and perfection.  That last one will always elude us, but at least we can have fun trying!

Until the next…Be Well…

Re-Creational Color

Re-Creational Color

Once upon a time there was a charming house in the Glen Park District of San Francisco, that looked like this:

Now, everyone’s taste is different, and some may love to live in a house with such a color scheme, but the lovely family that lives here  did not.  Upon deciding that they wanted to change their exterior house color scheme, the owners, a married couple with a young daughter, took action.

They hired not only a house painter, but a color consultant (associated with their painter),  who came up with this color combination:

This combination of colors, as I understand it, was closer to what the owners wanted (apparently they wanted to ‘get the red out”!), but still fell short of what they felt comfortable with, to say nothing of, loved.  In short, they were discomfited.  It just wasn’t right.

The neighborhood is eclectic, and creativity abounds. However, the owners wanted a more unified look to the structure, and when all was said and done, didn’t like having different colors on the house body (above) , and the foundation (below).  They decided they wanted to change out these  colors (which covered the main area of the house), and have the same color on both the body and foundation. There was already a lot going on with the trim and accent colors, which they decided to keep.

I had the good fortune of meeting  the owners while providing in-store color consulting for Benjamin Moore Creative Paint, located on Geary Boulevard, in San Francisco.  We discussed their dilemma, and they engaged me as color consultant (number two), so that we could really, as Brad Pitt might say, make it right. We knew that we were going to select just one color for both the foundation, and upper house body, and that the chosen hue probably needed to be deeper, richer and warmer then what the previous consultant had specified.

We sampled a number of options, but they all went too violet on the house surface.  San Francisco has a very particular kind of light, and the Glen Park neighborhood can get foggy. Although the violet tones worked with the burgundy trim, it was too much, and not what the Clients wanted.  Let’s face it, we had to get it right this time!

The second go-around, we sampled Benjamin Moore 1476, “Squirrel Tail”, “Taos Taupe”, 2111-40, and “Iron Gate” 1545.  The Clients knew, hands down, it had to be Squirrel Tail.  The hue contained the right amount of warmth, a bit of richness, and it worked with, rather than competed with, the “Bottle of Bordeaux” 1357  trim, and “Tarrytown Green” HC-134 accent.

We gave a nod to the house foundation by painting it in an intensified (150%)  version of the “Squirrel Tail”, to add a sense of weight and stability to the structure, without further complicating the color design.   Both foundation and upper house body were done in an eggshell sheen to add a bit of resilience, and wash-ability, but almost no shine.  The garage door, also painted in the 150% formula, was done in a satin sheen to set it off slightly, and deflect a certain amount of contact and dirt!

The result is a unified appearance, which lent the house solidity, warmth and that touch of richness and depth the Clients were seeking. By unifying the body and foundation colors, the multitude of trim and details became less prominent, also adding to the desired unity.

Finally, we “got the white out”!

It was a pleasure to work with these wonderful Clients, and see their home transform through the healing use of color.  My hope for them is that they live long and prosper, in their “new” home.

Three times a charm!

What color dilemmas have YOU had lately, and how have you solved them?

If you feel so inclined, please share with us here.  We love to hear from YOU.

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

Happy Color!