Decorating your walls...with plants

Color design can be achieved through paint, fabric, stone, wood, and even plant life. The other day, my class took a field trip to an amazing modern furniture showroom in San Francisco called Limn (open to the public, if you're local, definitely check it out) One piece that really drew people in was an enormous open frame on one wall, encasing what appeared to be a 3 dimensional, undulating vertical field of moss. When you touched it, it felt damp and alive. The vibrant chartreuse green color was really cheerful and definitely made a statement.

Vertical gardens are very hip these days. Called "Thigmotropisms", they are living organisms that grow towards a supporting structure. Like vines that will stretch out tendrils into the air, gravitating towards something to twine themselves around.
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Vertical succulent garden designed by Flora Grubb. Love the green against the red wall.

The Bardessono hotel in Napa Valley has a new installation of vertical gardens that doesn't even need drainage, just a light misting every week.
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Planted with Tillandsias, their roots grow in the air rather than soil.
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I love the juxtaposition of green sea anemone-like plants against the terracotta colored backdrop. Like mini green fireworks. It's important to note here that this installation would not have been nearly as successful without the contrast of the warm, darker background. When you're designing, think about grouping opposites: warm colors and cool colors, darks and lights, etc.
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Striking, don't you think?

Color changing fabric- hot or not?

Manufacturers have developed a fabric that changes colors when exposed to heat. It was all the rage in the 80's, but faded out quickly due to technical flaws. Now, it's making a come-back.
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Think: mood rings. A thermochromic substance in the fabric changes color as it changes temperature.
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Brooklyn Royalty's spring line capitalizes on this 80's fashion fad.

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American Apparel makes a color-changing t-shirt, too.

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In theory, sounds like a cool idea. But reality? I have images of this:
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Wouldn't it just emphasize those areas of your body that heat up faster?
What do you think about this technology?

Guest post on Victorian Colors

Want to learn more about Victorian color palettes? Head over to Design Hole for another guest post by yours truly.

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My paint is more expensive than your paint

I've never heard that rationale used before, but last week, when I stepped into Peacock Paint's showroom at the San Francisco Design Center, that's exactly what they were saying. At $125 for oil-based paint and $115 for water-based emulsion, the new line is probably the priciest paint available. And that price tag only gets you two-thirds of a gallon!

Developed through Fine Paints of Europe, it is supposedly superior in coverage to just about every other high-end paint brand out there, including Pratt and Lambert, Farrow and Ball, and Benjamin Moore's Aura. They claim it covers in one coat (plus primer for deeper tones) and there are no fillers or chalk; only organic pigments (4-8 per shade) are used. More expensive titanium dioxide, a pure white, comprises 100% of the base.

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The low VOC paint line was designed by Christopher Peacock, a well-known, high-end kitchen and cabinet designer best known for his white kitchens.

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I have to say, the colors were really pretty and rich. The painted walls in the showroom were very smooth and even, and I couldn't help running my hands along them. Now, how much of that was a perfectly-prepared surface, and how much was the leveling properties of the paint, I can't say. I also couldn't tell how much the lighting affected the colors displayed.
To describe the palette, Peacock says their colors are "reminiscent of classic English colors, each shade has been determined by its relationship to others in the collection and its potential application and use for interiors."(source)
For only $900, you too can have all 90 4oz sample pots of Peacock Paint, to test your hearts delight. As a frame of reference, other brands sell sample pots for about $4-$5 each. Yikes!

I'm going to have to do a little testing before I give an opinion on this paint. I've got to see for myself if all the hype is for real. Frankly, I'm a bit skeptical about paint being worth that kind of money. More likely, I think it has to do with name recognition and using a "celebrity" brand.

Have any of you used other Fine Paints of Europe paints?

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That's my color, not yours!

In today's market, brands are constantly waging wars against each other for exclusive use of identifiers. These battles are often fought over who has the right to use a particular color. It's important to note that a company cannot have blanket rights to one color; the usage has to be very specific to their market and product.

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For instance, Tiffany & Co had trademarked their use of Tiffany Blue in the high end jewelry market. But they have no rights to that color as it is used anywhere else.

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Cadbury has been going after Darrell Lea, a candy manufacturer in Australia, for use of various shades of purple in it's packaging, uniforms, and store signage. They've been disputing who has rights to purple for more than 5 years now.
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In April of last year, they lost the suit, with the judge concluding that a variety of candy manufacturers (including NestlĂ©) use purple packaging, and that "…Cadbury does not have a monopoly in the use of purple for chocolate. Seeing chocolate in a purple wrapper with Darrell Lea's name on it in a Darrell Lea shop does not make me think it comes from Cadbury". The judge went on to add,
"This is an important decision for all Australian manufacturers and consumers as more and more companies seek to obtain exclusivity of use of certain colours and shapes of products. These branding elements can be important aspects of a company's corporate identity, but they're not a carte blanche to intimidate competitors who also have rights". (source)
Cadbury has registered 17 grounds of appeal, and is pursuing them now.(source)
Come on, can't we all just get along? What do you guys think?

Noods invade Cartoon Network

The cable television channel Cartoon Network (CN) has done a brilliant job re-branding itself to encompass all their different shows under one branded look, connecting the network and its contents.
By using blank figures, nicknamed "Noods", CN has created a system of interchangeable elements that bonds every show together. All the different characters' unique attributes, including their size, shape, style, pattern, and color palette, are projected onto the Noods.

Same shape, totally different feeling based on the treatment. Notice how each show has a distinct palette?
The blocky logo also works as a canvas to accept the characters' "DNA" to match the look of each show. This seems to be a pretty popular approach to logos these days- versatile and able to evolve.
There's a cute little animated promo explaining the process at Capacity, the motion design studio incharge of this rebrand.

Carpet revival

How appropriate that just as we finished learning about carpet in my materials class, I received an email about a new website called fun on the floor, created by a consortium of UK carpet industry leaders. Curious, I went to check it out.

Being the floor-dweller that I am, I thought their tag line was great: "Many of the things we do at home would be much more fun if we did them on the floor instead! "

From the low down on carpet styles
to a crazy showhouse that was designed to show-off the versatility of carpet (carpet-upholstered sofa, anyone?) there's lots to see.

I was intrigued by how boldly color was used throughout the spaces. I am not sure if this is just typical of the aesthetics of the showhouse's designer, Danielle Proud, or if this is good indications of the saturated palettes that Brits are comfortable with. (Any UK readers out there care to weigh in?) Obviously, these spaces are way over the top, and not indicative of what your normal, working class homeowner would do to spruce up a space.
While I commend these carpet designers for bringing in colorful options into the carpet world, I would caution against using too strong of a permanent wall to wall carpet choice, as these colors can date themselves really really quickly. Think mauve. Especially if you are planning to sell your house in the near future, I would stick to something a bit more neutral as the base. Now for throw rugs, you can go to town with colors...
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Happy birthday to Hue

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It was 2 years ago in February that Hue was born. Thanks to all you readers for the support, encouragement, and participation in making Hue what it is today. I couldn't do it without you!

Guest post on Georgian colors

If you're interested in historical color palettes, head over to Design Hole for a guest post I wrote:
Georgian Color Palette: Class and Color As Seen Through “Emma”

Revamping images

In an economic depression, business is all about revamping your approach, adapting to the situation. While some companies tighten their belts, cutting out discretionary design budgets, others see this as an opportunity to turn things around for themselves by utilizing design and color.

For instance, take McCain Oven Chips (we know them as fries in the states)

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When famed chef Jamie Oliver launched his media campaign for healthy eating in the UK, junk food took center stage in his attack against unhealthy foods. Poor frozen fries manufacturer fell on hard times, even making it into headlines such as "‘Killed By Chips". The company had to scramble to save their product lines. ‘We had to fight back and to do this we realigned the company behind the strapline ‘It’s all good’, promoting the fact that the products are all natural, simple, good food.’(source)

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So what did they do to revamp their image as the bad guys?

Why, they changed their packaging, of course! The bright orange package was replaced with a more muted, natural hue. (Alas, I couldn't find a better product shot to show that the orange is more muted) New photos were taken, and the physical packaging was changed from waxy glossy plastic to a softer matte finish. All these changes reflected a simpler, more "natural" feeling to the product. Viola- a new image was born and a "clarified brand promise of health". I put this in quotes because I'm not completely convinced the change was dramatic enough to change my mind about french fries. Oops, I mean 'chips'.
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Is it true, this naughty product isn't as bad for us as we assumed?

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