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I’m searching for ‘green’ today. Let it pour like a visual remedy! I started the hunt this morning looking through photos of a recent journey to Spain, and by the end of the day I’ll eat all sorts of green things in a salad. The psychological effects of color can have great benefits, better than most meds. The 4 psychological primary colors are red, blue, yellow and green. They relate respectively to the body, mind, the emotions and the balance between these three. For me today it’s the need of green.
Green strikes the eye in such a way as to require no adjustment whatever and is, therefore, restful. Being in the center of the spectrum, it’s the color of balance—a more important concept than many people realize. When the world about us contains plenty of green, this indicates the presence of water, and little danger of famine, so we are reassured by green, on a primitive level. Green shows us harmony, rest, peace, refreshment and love. But I want to give it to you straight… negatively, it can indicate stagnation and, incorrectly used can perceived as being too bland. Make your greens grow and you’ll be fine.
The spritzer bottle just makes me giggle, I have a passion for green plastic, and the chocolate wrapped in green makes me think of the evergreen cocoa tree, very exotic and dark. I have a new favorite artist who uses lots of it too, Matt Magee.
Thanks to our client Ann Cook who led us to this great title, “Drunk Tank Pink,” and which we’re running to our local bookshop to buy and start reading. We’ve been working with Ann for years on her school district calendar. A publication that has a long life in many Sumner, Washington homes, often being referenced year-long, many of them on refrigerator doors. The project has a large print run and a limited budget… so the solution has been to print good photos with two colors, black and an annual feature color. Ann and Partners in Design has the best of times selecting the “wow” color that will best reflect the school district programs for each year. Ann brings great color discovers to the table and she allows us to dissuade her from color disasters and select color winners.
So back to the book… does pink make strong men weak? Can pink jail cells calm violent prisoners? Is it true that football locker rooms (the ones for the visiting/opposing teams) are painted a certain shade of pink to weaken the players?
One of the most interesting examples of color effects, and a local story, is Baker-Miller Pink – R:255, G:145, B:175. Also known as “Drunk tank pink,” this color has been used to calm violent prisoners in jails. Dr. Alexander Schauss, Ph.D., director of the American Institute for Biosocial Research in Tacoma Washington, was the first to report the suppression of angry, antagonistic, and anxiety ridden behavior among prisoners: “Even if a person tries to be angry or aggressive in the presence of pink, he can’t. The heart muscles can’t race fast enough. It’s a tranquilizing color that saps your energy. There’s evidence that these reactions are short term. Once the body returns to a state of equilibrium, a prisoner may regress to an even more agitated state.
Is it true that football locker rooms (the ones for the visiting/opposing teams) are painted a certain shade of pink to weaken the players? University of Hawaii associate head coach George Lumkin was a member of the 1991 staff that saw visitor locker rooms at Iowa and Colorado State painted pink in the belief that the color made players passive. Now the WAC has a rule that a visiting team’s locker room can not be painted a different color than the home team’s. In other words, it can be pink, black or any color of the rainbow, as long as both locker rooms are the same color.
Some companies and organizations pride themselves with the successful longevity of their branding. A good brand indicates stability and confidence. But when does this all go sour? Case in point, may the Sherwin Williams Paint emblem depicting our mother earth being douched with petroleum-based paint be out of date? What a toxic clean up… it would put BP to shame.
Your brand can define the basis of your corporate and institutional culture, your philosophy, origins and strengths. When Partners in Design was creating a new brand for a nutritional school program in Washington State we knew that the public’s view of school meal programs was dismal. International food expert Jamie Oliver had just pronounced that America was poisoning its children. Our response was go back to basics… the food groups, be honest, and put a good face to it… the food icons are smarties and laughing (see below).
What rebranding does for your company internally is a watershed of benefits in itself. A great amount of self-discovery happens in the process of identity-finding. Rebranding pinpoints who you really are, what you stand for, and understanding your business culture. It also observes whether people see you, as you want to be seen. If there’s disparity, you need to change your brand to better target your market.
If your well-established brand still resonates with current and prospective customers, don’t change for the sake of it, or because it might help generate more sales. Don’t tinker with your brand of relevance for fear of losing customers who might no longer recognize the new you. Partners in Design has helped rebrand and create original brands for neighborhoods, retail villages, school districts, all sorts of services and widgets, so we have a few tips about when is a good time to rebrand, and how to look for the best branding team, process and implementation.
A brand is the sum total of what people see and feel about us when they see our institutional image, our marketing materials, and when they decide to interact with us. Now if you look at the example of Sherwin Williams perhaps this paint company should ask how their audience emotionally feels about this graphic… nostalgia or environmental global fear.
4 Good Reasons to Rebrand
You Need to Reposition The most important reason to rebrand is when your current brand is confusing, or worse, misleading your current or prospective customers. If your goals, products and positioning have changed, rebranding will send a clear message. Rebranding is not something you do because you want to, it’s because your customers don’t understand you.
Brand Confusion and Brand Promise Disappointment If people don’t recall your brand, or confuse you with your competition… you are then losing money and influence. Your identity should be unique and memorable. You may see your brand as representing you well and working, but how does the customer see it? Is this a shared perception? Not being on the same page may be economically disastrous.
Your Brand is Outdated Look at our example of the eager paint seller who sadly wants to encase the world in oil. A 50s perspective probably doesn’t work today. Engage in research to determine your brand’s relevancy. If your product range or services change significantly, ensure your existing brand matches the new reality. The same applies if you are targeting a new market — is your brand still effective in the new environment? A new brand that reflects this change would give your profile a massive boost.
Your Market Position has Shifted Many businesses still have the same brand as when their company started… is it still relevant? If it was done in a rush and on a budget, it may no longer represent your business. Markets change constantly, as do customer expectations, so brands can become outdated. Another good time to give your brand image a kick in the pants is during an economic downturn when competitors are tightening purse strings and the industry is talking doom and gloom. Rebranding at this time shows you are alive and kicking, and, more importantly, optimistic about the future.
I’m starting a fantasy wish list. I’ll be posting individual items (gifts) or ideas as the holidays approach. There will be few limits on the selections… and undoubtedly I’ll express more greed than sole-searching restraint.
This one, a classic Josef Albers painting… just a little thing, but a window to a great many big things. It’s a 12-inch by 12-inch canvas. Only 3-color, oh c’mon, how much can it cost? It speaks to my heart and my design head. The size is another thing about it. His later “color-field” painters became too big in my opinion—appropriate only for hanging on museum walls.
“Easy—to know that diamonds—are precious.
Good—to learn that rubies—have depth.
But more—to see that pebbles—are miraculous.”
Josef and Anni Albers were artistic adventurers who were both pioneers of twentieth-century modernism. Josef Albers (1888-1976) was an influential teacher, writer, painter, and color theorist—now best known for the Homages to the Square he painted between 1950 and 1976 and for his innovative 1963 publication The Interaction of Color. The couple met in Weimar, Germany in 1922 at the Bauhaus. This new teaching institution, now so renowned for its effects on all modern design, emphasized the connection between artists, architects, and craftspeople.
In our continuing “colors of your choice”.
I think she’s the poster child for green. She’s the queen of green. My favorite color is green. I hear Hedda Lettuce has a great act. She just debarked from Seattle on a luxury cruise to be the lead entertainer. Of course she had a lot of steamer trucks in tow. Read the rest of this entry »
I’ve been lamenting the end of summer. Well actually it’s more like building to a panic. Dahlias to the rescue! “It’s obviously not all over yet” they trumpet loud and clear… their pedals soft, lush and wild, shameless… with no fear. So many zany patterns and dahlia-dances in their specimen divisions. For near-sighted retiring bees they must look like the size of football fields. Read the rest of this entry »
We each have our own color druthers, and our own color histrionics (the baby blanket color we were wrapped in). On the other hand, biologically speaking, we share some color ties (we head for the green of the savanna or we find red lips appealing). Emotions can run high when selecting a color with friends.
Color is half of my business discipline, also a good part of my visual pleasure in life. I’m entrenched in it. Swatches of it are hanging all around me. I love it when color flashbacks recall a story, and I don’t believe we dream in black and white.
Do you have the same color passions? I would like to hear what you see in a color palette. Pick a color, any color. I’ll start with the first color… pink. Let’s make a pageant of colors right here. Represent your color in any way you would like. Write it here, comment on it below, or if it’s a visual statement send it to my email address and I’ll post it. Invent a color, or let’s change the meaning of flags.
There used to be a TV show on when I was a kid, it was called “Make a Wish”. It had an unchanging format that held me in rapture. The show would take one word, like fish, and then literally take it around the world! “I wish I were a fish then I would swim in the ocean that is created by rain, that came from the clouds etc, etc”. Total stream of consciousness stuff. Tom Chapin, Harry Chapin’s brother, appeared at the beginning of the show, asking the question that would open up a whole world of knowledge and fun: “Did you ever wish you were a ___?” Read the rest of this entry »