Tuesday, 3 January 2017

2017: Colour of the Year Review

So 2016 has come to a close. Numerologically speaking, 2016 adds up to 9, which is the last numeral, thus it signifies the end of a cycle, an era, a project, a phase and so on. 2017, therefore is the harbinger of something new - a fresh start - as it totals to 1. Not that I believe in numerology, but I like the thought of new beginnings. :)

Here is a review of some of the 'Colours of the Year' for 2017 as given by some of the top global colour and paint authorities.

Greenery from Pantone:

Just a few months back, I met a friend of mine and she mentioned that 'green' seems to have disappeared from the world of lifestyle, retail and brands. We had a lovely discussion on how green should be making a comeback this year. And here we are: Pantone has declared 'Greenery' as the 2017 Colour of the Year. (To be fair, my friend and I were talking about a deeper bolder green, so we were not quite bang on).

Greenery from Pantone, is also a reflection of new beginnings, and fresh starts. It is the colour of the young tender new shoots and leaves. It is more yellow than blue. It is full of life, brimming with hope and optimism. It is a breath of fresh air and a lease of new life.

The attempt to bring more green into the world of those who are spending most of their time in air-conditioned malls and white walled corporate offices, is also an attempt to compensate for the lack of interaction with nature and the real 'green'.

The Verdict:
This is a bold colour choice. It seems to be the right direction and the logic behind the choice seems quite credible as well. It is not the colour of choice for a lot of people, when it comes to clothes, accessories, interiors or automobiles (most people choose neutrals - blue, brown, beige, black, grey and white; and even the pop of colour is usually warmer colours - red, orange, pink or yellow). But when you think of it, 'Greenery' seems to be a colour that could be a great pop of colour in a modern, otherwise minimalist colour palette. It could also be a great accompanying colour with other bright colours. Looking forward to see how it shapes colour choices across industries.
In other words - thumbs up from my end. :)

Denim Drift from Dulux:

Denim Drift from Dulux/AkzoNobel is more grey than blue, though you expect it to be more blue from the name. The accompanying 'recommended colour palette' seems to be more Denim Drift than the Colour of the Year itself. It is a soothing colour and can be paired with a multitude of other colours. But Denim Drift comes alive only when the entire palette is used along with it.

Denim as the inspiration is something that seems to be relevant across years. The Colour Palette has an entire spectrum of blues - dark, light, bright and greyish.

The Verdict:
This is not something drastically different or fresh. For a paint company like Dulux, this seems to be the safe zone to operate in. As mentioned earlier, most people tend to prefer neutrals and blue is the colour that is most often mentioned as 'the favourite colour' by the majority of people. It seems like they were not ready to take a stance, even within this world of blue. The entire spectrum of blue is given in the Denim Drift inspirations, so much so that it took a while for me to figure out what the actual Denim Drift colour was.
My point of view on this - Neutral. This colour palette cannot go wrong, but the colour per se is boring, and in my opinion, the denim narrative is not the most dominant narrative today.

Other Colours of the Year that caught my eye:

Poised Taupe from Sherwin Williams 

Poised Taupe is a great neutral. It is earthy and is inspired by the need to destress and go back to a simple cozy lifestyle. It is woody, it is soil, it is rooted, it is everything in nature that is brown.

The Verdict: Poised Taupe itself, is a new name, but similar colours have already been seen over the past few years. But it looks like it is here to stay.
I give this shade a thumbs up.

Violet Verbena from PPG:

Violet Verbena seems to be a bit dated. Such greyish purples were a rage some years back. It is today, the preferred purple for those who opt for a unisex purple. It is not too feminine nor too masculine. It is not too delicate nor too royal. This colour is the right amount of luxury, it is subtle not gaudy, and it is well balanced.

The Verdict: Blah.
To me this is outdated. And boring. Maybe it is a personal opinion, but these attempts at making unisex versions of colours that are seemingly skewed towards one gender is so passe.

A point to keep in mind:
Clearly the 'Colour of the Year' choices of the paint companies are more safe. They tend to be neutrals or else, a safe warm shade. Even the Violet from PPG is rather timid. Pantone, on the other hand, seems to have the liberty to take a bold stance.


Saturday, 8 October 2016

Iskandar Blue

At the National Gallery of Singapore, I came across the works of Iskandar Jalil - master potter/ceramist, who dedicated many decades of his life to the craft. His clay ceramics were on display in a fluid, easy to walk through and extremely viewer friendly gallery space. There were more than 150 pieces on display and each one had a quirky twist to it. Fresh, quirky and fascinating, Jalil's works are inspired by philosophies from across continents - especially the beauty in imperfection and transience of wabi sabi. Influenced and inspired by stories from Scandinavia, Japan, South East Asia, Middle East and more, his work was simply awesome.

And the one thing that stood out for me, apart from the above mentioned awesomeness - was the special Blue Glaze that seemed to be a recurring element in his creative works - apparently referred to as the 'Iskandar Blue'.

Iskandar Blue - quirky and interesting, reminded me of some Persian/North African stories for some strange reason, full of life, bold and confident, and with a tinge of 'don't take life so seriously' attitude.

A sneak peek at some of the exhibits:

Titled: That's the way A-ha A-ha (image courtesy: straitstimes.com)

Some more that I found really interesting:

Titled: Mother & Child

Titled: 3 Gundus ('gundu' means 'silly' in colloquial Malay)

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

India goes Madder this year.

Asian Paints Colour Next 2016 has named the Colour of the Year for 2016 as the Madder Red.
(the name is derived from the plant which is a common source of the pigment red)

A nuanced version of the Pantone Colour of the Year for 2015 - Marsala Red?

Madder is different from Marsala.
I love Madder for its boldness, not just in the name :)
Marsala was boring. Madder is powerful.

The full pdf is available here, check it out. It has got some interesting colour trends:

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

The Law of Ripolin

I was reading excerpts from a book called Chromophobia, by David Batchelor - and I was quite appalled by the basic argument. That Colour itself is a symbol of contamination!

A lot of people seemed to have argued for this thought. Colour has been associated with everything impure - with vulgarity, with superficiality, with the cosmetic, with loose character. Colourful women wearing loud clothes and make up, are considered to be the opposite of chaste. Colour as adornment - jewellery, costume, decoration - is a sign of ego, of vanity, of wanting to show off. Colour apparently is immoral.

Kant says colour can at best be a charmer, but it is not the core of beauty or aesthetics. Huxley said he saw colours come alive after he opened the Doors of Perception with the drug intake. Le Corbusier says form comes first, colour is insignificant. He goes so far to say that every house should be 'whitewashed' (cleansed) with a coating of white Ripolin paint (he has termed this as the Law of Ripolin).

White, plain white, to be clean. To symbolise simplicity and morality.


Thursday, 24 December 2015

Rose Quartz and Serenity: A Review

Alright, so Pantone officially released the Colour of the Year for 2016.

The Colour of the Year, this year, happens to be two colours - which seems to defy the very idea of the colour of the year!

Rose Quartz and Serenity (a very beautiful pale pink and an equally appealing pale blue).

There is a convoluted logic given in the press releases about why there are two colours which I find more of a publicity stunt than a real reason. The fact that there is gender fluidity in many fields is the broad reason given for the selection of the two colours. But this in itself is a self defeating argument. The two colours chosen happen to be the two colours most commonly associated with the two genders - pink and blue. These specific pantone shades seem to be very close to what people most commonly associate with a baby pink for a girl and baby blue for a boy. So it becomes difficult to fathom how these two gender biased colours are selected to signify gender fluidity.

If one is able to go beyond these arguments and just focus on the two colours, there is reason to cheer. These two colours seem to reflect the movement towards a finer aesthetic taste, a conscious attempt to move towards peace, the acceptance of subtle nuances over jarring loudness and the confidence to choose shades of innocence over shades of authority. Both these colours individually and together have a certain sense of ethereal sensuality. It is also in sync with the preference of minimalistic, pastel, soft, nude shades for design, interiors, packaging, apparel and even makeup. These are colours of emotions rather than colours of reason.

Critical reviews have issues with these colours looking too baby-showerish and not serious enough. Regardless of these criticisms, these two shades will be dominating the design world in 2016.

I give a wholehearted thumbs up for the two shades chosen for 2016.

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

When A is for Red and 8 is for Green!

Do you ever associate certain letters with certain colours? Or certain smells with certain colours? Well, there are people who do. 

It could be the correlation of a particular object, a specific kind of odour, a food item, a loud noise, or anything else, with a colour. This happens because sometimes the brain draws correlations between two different sensations - Synesthesia (as opposed to anesthesia, which is the absence of any sensation).

It's fascinating, really. For example, these people will always see the letter 'A' appearing in red, even if it is printed in black on white background! Their brain is on overdrive, especially because there are multiple things happening at the same time - seeing what the object is for what it is, associating it with a colour, remembering earlier instances and similar associations and so on. As a result such people seem to be able to remember things much better than others.

Synesthesia is therefore the involuntary triggering of one sensation when you experience another sensation. Chromesthesia is the specific term to describe the association of a particular colour when you experience any other sensation.

image courtesy: www.quartervida.com

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

M S Blue – Then and M S Blue Now - Susan Mathen

A while back, I mentioned M S Blue to someone, and he assumed that I was talking about the Indian Cricket team’s jersey shade. Well, that makes sense too I guess – M S Dhoni’s jersey shade!

Quite different from Dhoni’s jersey shade, what I was referring to was another shade of blue. The sparkling blue of the saree worn by M S Subbulakshmi, the renowned Carnatic singer. When Kanjeevaram sarees were carefully woven and not mass produced, one of the famous sari merchants (who also happened to be a huge fan of the singer) – Muthu Chettiar - gifted her a sari in this distinctive shade of blue. The term M S Blue soon became extremely popular, and for many South Indian ladies it was a dream to own the coveted M S Blue silk sari.

And yes, M S (Subbulakshmi) Blue is different from the M S (Dhoni) Blue.


(image source: www.quora.com & www.mid-day.com)