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.
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.
Color psychologists maintain that certain colors affect our moods, and those moods, in turn, affect our ability to be productive. Regardless of the location or size of your office or work space, any adjustment that can contribute to a higher level of productivity is worth considering. Perhaps it's time to improve a color scheme that has become outdated and boring. Adding the right colors can bring new life into your work space and increase the creativity, communication, collaboration and energy flow.
Until recently, blue has been the all-time color of choice for offices and cubicles. Sky blue, royal blue and navy blue are popular variations. While the stronger, darker versions may be too overpowering for walls, adding a piece of Blue Jay office furniture allows you to introduce a pop of color without redoing the entire room. A blue area rug, lamp shade, file folders or desk accessories can accomplish the same purpose. Pale blue helps maintain focus and task completion. However, blues may not be the best choice for personalities that are already relaxed and have low-energy levels.
Although green is typically a cool color, some of the soft, warmer shades have become popular choices for today's modern offices. Green hints at outdoors and fresh air and nature at its finest. Bring in some living Bamboo, Money Plants, Snake Plants, or Mother-in-Law's Tongue for an even greener atmosphere. These varieties flourish in dark offices and naturally filter air pollutants. If you entertain clients at your desk or in your office, consider the positive feelings that chocolate brown walls can evoke. This color presents a reassuring atmosphere of security and credibility.
If you've been shopping recently, you may have already noticed merchandise areas that are now dedicated to orange and black color schemes. Decorations, racks of fanciful costumes and bins of sugary candy are displayed for all to see. Not only do Americans love to welcome fall, but we also love to celebrate Halloween. In fact, each year we spend more and more on this fun holiday. In 2011, 70 percent of the shoppers in the United States spent more than $7 billion preparing for the festivities, and a significant portion of that amount went to purchasing traditional orange and black decorations.
Orange is the color of pumpkins, bonfires, candles and changing leaves, and it dominates this holiday. When Irish immigrants first introduced Halloween, they used potatoes and turnips. Americans, however, quickly switched to bigger fruit to carve and decorate. A plump pumpkin makes the perfect jack-o-lantern. Orange is recognized as a color of strength and endurance. It reflects both the hard work of the fall harvest and the beauty of nature's fall decor.
Orange is also a great year-round decorating color. Like red, it is an instant, energizing attention-grabber, but it is friendlier and less aggressive than red. A peachy orange actually has a calming effect, and brownish orange presents a warm, earthy glow. Red-orange feels modern and sleek. It is a perfect offset for graphics and geometric patterns, chrome and leather furniture, and clean white walls. Add some yellow to orange, and it instantly becomes more rustic. Traditional or dark country furnishings are an excellent accompaniment.
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