I blog about anything related to colour and I am interested in all sorts of aspects of colour whether they be based in arts and design, cultural studies, evolution, chemistry, physics, biology or technology. But a couple of themes keep cropping up and I end up posting about them at regular intervals. So, in 2012 I posted about the historical development of the UK flag – the union jack. And then earlier this year I posted about an article on the BBC about the possible redesign on the union jack is Scotland votes to leave the United Kingdom in the forthcoming referendum there. Some of the designs that were being put forward were really horrible. Perhaps I am too attached to the union jack. A few days ago I came across another BBC story which included 25 readers’ designs for the union jack should Scotland leave. . I must say I much prefer the readers’ designs rather than those previously proposed by experts – the BBC reliably informs me that such experts are known as vexillologists. I like this flag (by David and Gwyneth Parker) – where the blue of Scotland has simply been swapped for the green of Wales, thus preserving the traditional look. (If you wonder why the green of Wales is not in the current flag see my earlier post.)
And I also like the following design (by Matthew Welch), where England and Wales are represented in the top left and bottom right corners respectively and the diagonal stripe represents Northern Ireland of course.
You probably have to be from the UK to understand this humorous design (by Al Main).
You can see all 25 readers’ designs at the BBC here.
If you are interested in vexillology (is that a word?) you may like to read another BBC story about a potential new flag for Norther Ireland. And finally, I was interested that the CIA apparently has a flag database that it makes available to the public.
Just read a really informative article by David Airey – an independent brand identity designer – about colour and brand identity. In his article David reiterates some ideas I heard from Laura Hussey in Design Week (and recently blogged about); that is that some companies such as Oxfam and The Guardian are rebranding with a rainbow colour palette. As David writes: “Multiple colours speak of choice, variety and diversity. Think Google, NBC, eBay, or MSN to name but a few that use more than two colours to express their breadth.”
However, David’s post goes further to describe some of his own work with Halcyon coffee and the use of a range of different colours: “The colours used within the brand and environment were derived from, and act as a subtle nod towards the diverse colour palette used during Britain’s great creative periods of the past — our Halcyon days, mixed with those we see around us today.” Definitely worth having a read of David’s article
Some of you may recall that last year – a big year for the UK with the Olympics in London and Queen’s jubilee – there was a lot of waving of British flags. I posted about how the flag was derived historically and noted the absence of any representation by Wales. For those who are less familiar, the United Kingdom is a union of four countries (England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland). By contrast Great Britain is just England, Scotland and Wales (not including Northern Ireland) and the British Isles is a geographical feature that includes the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland. Simple?
Next year the Scottish people be asked if they want to be independent. If they vote yes (in my opinion this is not very likely, but possible) it will signal the end of the union of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Today the BBC ran a feature about possible new designs of the new flag. I wasn’t very impressed by any of them, including the horrible one below. Try reading my post first and then the new BBC article.
An article in Stuff reveals what 3D Systems claims to be the world’s first continuous-tone full colour 3D plastic printer, called the ProJet 4500.The ProJet 4500 offers full-colour parts with colours that are able to blend into each other with gradient transitions.
It used to be thought that blue was an appetite suppressant because blue foods are rare and sometimes poisonous. But I have always doubted this and wrote about it near three years ago on this blog. And then nearly two years ago I posted about research from the University of Basel (Switzerland) and the University of Mannheim (Germany) in which it was shown that participants drank less from a red cup than a blue cup and ate less snack food from a red plate than from a blue plate. In other words, the opposite of what was commonly believed. Today I read in CNN about work by Nicola Bruno, a cognitive psychologist from the University of Parma, about his research to measure how much food or hand cream people used when presented on plates of different colours (red, white or blue). The food and hand cream was available to be used freely whilst participants took part in a survey. People ate less food and used less hand cream when either was presented on a red plate. However, the authors note that in their experiment the participants were unaware of the experiment – so it is not so straight forward to extrapolate and conclude that if you buy red plates for home you would eat less. Because then you would be conscious of the idea and it might not work. On the other hand, it might!!
It was nice for me to hear this story and it reminded me of when Nicola came to visit me (when I worked at Keele University) and we published a paper together. That was in about 2000 and I don’t think I have seen him since. Sometimes it isn’t a small world. But it was nice to come across him again anyway.
Really great article in Design Week about the importance of colour in branding. Apparently, in a survey of the world’s top 100 brands (defined by brand value) 95 per cent use only one or two colours. However, Laura Hussey puts a convincing case that more colour could be beneficial. She points to companies such as Google and Ebay who use more than one colour in their brand.
And she also refers to some interesting developments with Oxfam and The Guardian who are using a spectrum of colours to represent hope and positivity. It’s well worth reading Laura’s article. You can see it here. You may also be interested in my post of a few weeks ago about Apple’s historical and contemporary use of colour.
We’re starting a new programme at Leeds University next September. It’s MRes Colour Communication. This is a one-year Masters programme by research but with a twist. There is a taught component in the first semester to get everyone up to speed to make sure they understand the basics of colour communication. They then explore one aspect of this in their research project and submit a dissertation at the end of the year. Please contact me at my University email of email@example.com for further information or visit http://www.design.leeds.ac.uk/pg/research-degrees/.
I just came across this nice article – http://understandinggraphics.com/design/10-reasons-to-use-color/ – entitled 10 reasons to use color.
The article lists 10 good reasons to use colour in design. Number 10 is using colour for metaphor and taking advantage of the associations that are inherent in phrases such as feeling blue or green with envy. There is no doubt about the meaning in the image below; that the woman is filled with envy.
As some of you may know, I was General Chair of AIC2013 this year. We had a great time in Newcastle and spent a week with over 600 delegates talking about colour. But time moves on and we are approaching 2014. I would therefore like to draw your attention to the next AIC meeting which is in Mexico in October 2014. The theme is colour and culture and the venue – Oaxaca – is stunning. I hope to see you there.
For further details visit http://www.aic2014.org/index_en.html
I have written a few times about various legal cases that are on-going to settle disputes about colour ownerships. For example, about 18 months ago I wrote about trademarking colour and the dispute between Cadbury and its competitors over the use of the colour purple (specifically Pantone 2685C) on chocolate packaging and advertising. In that blog I noted that Cadbury had lost a case in the USA against Darrell Lea but had been granted protection in the UK despite protests from Nestlé. The law is a complex matter.
However, today, in the BBC I read that Nestlé has won a court battle with Cadbury, over Cadbury’s attempt to trademark the purple colour of its Dairy Milk bars. This is a successful appeal by Nestlé to the earlier ruling. The Court of Appeal said that Cadbury’s trademark application lacked “the required clarity, precision, self-containment, durability and objectivity to qualify for registration”.
“We are disappointed by this latest decision but it’s important to point out that it does not affect our long held right to protect our distinctive colour purple from others seeking to pass off their products as Cadbury chocolate,” said a Cadbury spokesman. Watch this space!!