In this section, you will find articles about the use of color within various industries. Click to subscribe to our Color Articles feed in your newsreader.
When St. Patrick's Day is celebrated on March 17, we are once more reminded that spring is following close behind. However, this joyous holiday once held much more somber tones. The Roman Catholic Church originally created the day to honor St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. As a youth in fifth-century Roman-controlled Britain, he was kidnapped by Irish marauders and held as a slave for six years before escaping and returning home. After his conversion to Christianity, he felt led to return to his former enemies and spent the remainder of his life ministering to them.
Legend says that blue was originally identified as St. Patrick's color, but in the sixteenth century, green became the more popular choice for several reasons. Green is the color of the shamrock (clover) whose three leaves he used to teach the Trinity. Ireland is known as the Emerald Isle because of its lush green farmlands. Green is also in the Irish flag, and it is the representative color of the Irish Catholics of the country. Protestant-Irish citizens traditionally identify with orange.
Until the 1970s, Irish laws required all pubs to be closed on the 17th of March in honor of St. Patrick. Here in the United States, celebrating took a much different form. With the massive influx of Irish immigrants in the 1700s, the day was secularized with boisterous parades, beer kegs and parties, especially in Boston and New York City. By 1995, Ireland saw the potential tourist boost and began promoting St. Patrick's Day around the world. It is estimated that one million visitors will be in Dublin to celebrate this year, and the pubs will definitely be open.
It won't be long before the brilliant colors of India are literally blowing in the wind. With a little help from celebrants of all ages, the country's Holi festivals bring joy and laughter while celebrating the end of winter and the coming of spring. Also called Dol Jatra Basantotsav and Phagwah, the Hindu festival of colors also honors love, the triumph of good over evil and the universal brotherhood of man.
Many stories claim to explain the origin of this colorful holiday. One such legend suggests that young Lord Krishna complained to his mother that he was jealous of the fair complexion of his soul mate, Radha. To indulge her son, the mother gave him permission to color Radha's face with any colors he liked. Tradition says that young lovers have been decorating each other with brilliant yellows, blues, magentas and of course, reds, the color of passion, love and matrimony in India, ever since.
No age group, gender or religious devotee is safe from mischievous children and teens hiding around corners with buckets of colored water called rang, water jets and packets of dry powdered colors known as gulal. Shrieks of laughter are only dwarfed by riotous singing as everyone joins the festivities in the village streets and main gathering places. It doesn't hurt that local brews are flowing freely.
Valentine's Day and the colors of love will soon be upon us. For the majority, giving flowers is one of the easiest ways to show passion, affection and devotion. This year, romantic Americans will spend more than 2.1 billion dollars on fresh arrangements and bouquets for their loved ones, but not all shoppers will pick traditional floral gifts.
For 2015, three Valentine trends have emerged: Shoppers seem to prefer home-grown flowers to imported ones. They are a bit tired of red roses and carnations, and they want a romantic, vintage theme.
Many of this year's shoppers will be purchasing their flowers at some of the 8,268 farmers' markets sprinkled across the country. The idea of home-grown eggs, fruits and vegetables has now expanded into the realm of flowers. Picking up a bouquet at the local outdoor market is appealing to many and easily possible for those in the Southern states. However, Northerners will probably be ordering their colorful Valentine arrangements online through sites such as www.ftd.com or in person from local florists.
Last year, more than 257 million roses were grown specifically for Valentine's Day. As was the custom in ancient Persia, a red rose speaks of love and romance, of beauty and perfection. The black center indicates the lover's heart, "burned to a coal by love's passion." Because roses are delicate and expensive, they communicate a deeper depth of love and commitment. However, one single long-stemmed red rose can carry the same sweet passion without breaking the bank.
When it comes to the best fall colors for women's wardrobes, the differences in opinion are huge. For some folks, autumn is the perfect season to echo nature's wardrobe and pull out those warm rusts, earthy browns, and golden yellows, shades that would have been much too overpowering for summer. On the other hand, this year's New York Fashion Week runways have suggested an entirely different approach for fall 2014. Some attribute this radical shift to bold, bright saturated colors to be an expression of a deeper desire to make dressing up a little more fun and a little less serious.
Actually, this year's fall color palette is a win-win selection for everyone. Realistically, not all women look their best in the typical yellow-based fall shades. Those who do are usually red-heads, women of color, and women with warm yellow skin undertones, earthy eye colors, and darker natural hair shades. Such women are stunning in yellow gold or copper jewelry and those traditional fall colors.
For something new with a traditional flare, designer Salvatore Ferragamo offers a "Bronze Medal" shade this fall that is much like dulled gold, a little less sparkle but a rich patina that will be a perfect addition to the traditional fall color lineup. Also, Versace offers "Ketchup," a bold, undiluted and very powerful red that will work as a total statement or as a tasteful accessory purse, belt, hat or shoes.
Back on the runways, the trends are definitely leaning toward cooler, brilliant colors. For example, Pantone's trans-seasonal shade "Aurora Red" is also a power color, but it is a little more bluish and might be a better choice for those with cooler skin tones. "Sangria" is also a grown-up red, but it suggests a hint of glamour and risk. Two purples and two blues add some romance and whimsy to the list. "Mauve Mist" is feminine and eloquent, while "Radiant Orchid" is adaptable and versatile. "Bright Cobalt" has a smidgeon of green undertones, and Pantone's "Royal Blue" has become a popular alternative to navy. Tibi's version of this color reminds shoppers of fresh blue jeans.
After two years' worth of choosing bright jewel colors, The Pantone Institute of Color has surprised the fashion world with its 2015 color of the year. The recently-announced winner is a dark, rusty brown identified as "Marsala" 18-1438 TCX. Not everyone is thrilled. Although the name connotes the color of the rich, earthy wine from western Sicily, less complimentary adjectives link Marsala to rusty warships, deteriorating ruins, liver, dried blood, mystery meat, and so on.
In fairness, the color choice for 2015 is a versatile and adaptable hue that provides plenty of interest without taking over the entire show. This may be its greatest selling point, and as the fashion and design industries rush to include it in new offerings, expect Marsala to show up in everything from lipstick to wall paper. For example, Dolce and Gabbana offer a Classic Cream Lipstick in this shade known simply as "Wine." "Let's Misbehave" is a matching nail enamel available through Deborah Lippman.
Similar to its burgundy cousin, Marsala is flattering to most skin types. Both men and women will be attracted to it for this very reason. Whether for formal or casual wear, a balanced blend of brown and red will be popping up in jackets, sweaters, pants and dresses. Zara is currently showcasing just such a faux leather jacket that is stylish and appealing.
Of course, accessories have caught the Marsala fever too. Shoppers can choose from dressy boucle knit bags by Shopbop.com and faux leather backpacks such as "Scale Up" by Nine West. Footwear in both dressy heels and trend-setting boots are already available as well. Wedding designers are not to be left behind. When Marsala is combined with blush and ivory shades, it becomes multi-seasonal, or pair it with bright oranges and coral for a strictly summer event. Bring in the other warm colors of fall for a sophisticated autumn wedding. Throw in some naturally colored peonies and dahlias and the wedding flowers will be lovely.
Interior decorators and designers have also found many ways to incorporate Pantone's newest color of the year into rugs, wall paper, textile prints, accent pieces, linens and furniture. Unlike a powerful, bold red, Marsala is able to stir the senses without overwhelming. As such, it can function as a dramatic, but restful bedroom color. It can also do duty in dining rooms and other traditional or modern spaces without demanding too much attention. For shoppers who have not yet decided they love this shade, a few accent pieces such as a pillow, lamp shade, urn, painting or side chair will introduce new interest to a room without representing a large financial commitment.
With holiday gift giving just around the corner, the current color trends in jewelry might be fairly predictable: Everyone loves the sparkle of the traditional reds available in ruby, garnet and tourmaline, and the greens of emerald, peridot and tsavorite.Read More
After answering that special proposal with an exuberant "I do," most brides are quickly confronted with the next most important decision: "What should I choose for my summer wedding colors?"Read More
This year, April will not only be welcoming colorful spring flowers, it will also debut the new, equally colorful Apple Watches.Read More
Valentine's Day and the colors of love will soon be upon us.Read More