Friday, June 9, 2017

Color Conspirators

Anybody remember when triangles brainwashed the entire world for like three years? And galaxy print, i.e. indigo-purple-pink.

The people who know what colour you'll like in 2019
Apr 2017, BBC

For those of your who like conspiracy theory, maybe you should know that there are people, in fact entire incorporated business ventures, who's sole purpose is to "offer information on current and future trends in fashion, interior design and lifestyle."

"Know what's next" is the tagline of WGSN, a London-based company. And one aspect of their prescience regards color. And in this linked article above, the woman spotlighted is working on 2019. So yes, there is a global conspiracy to predict and affect the colors you will like years from now.

A couple snips from the article:
Popular colours often reflect what's happening culturally and socially.

The growth of the sharing economy, in which people rent beds, cars and other assets directly from one another, means lighter colours such as pale blues could come into fashion.

"Sharing means lightness, you don't want to be bogged down so you're not looking at a heavy palette." -Laurie Pressman, vice president of the Pantone Color Institute

Colours such as brown, which a couple of decades ago was linked to the earth and dirt but is now associated with coffee and chocolate, reflects the growth of those industries, she says.

---No idea 'sharing was light-colored' but I do remember the world getting browner for a minute, like the whole back-to-the-earth movement, actually, the one that followed the green movement, when people were feeling all guilty that they couldn't live up to their sustainability expectations, and they decided to make all white things brown, to make it look like they were using shitty detergent. jk. But really, even Starbucks changed their paper cups from white to very, very, off-white.

A "vast movement of grey" began to emerge after the 2008 financial crisis.
-Mark Woodman, a product consultant and a former president of US-based colour forecasting trade body Color Marketing Group

The color purple became more popular circa the 2012 US presidential election, when undecided and neutral states began to be identified as purple by the media.

Further, about the practicality of choosing a color-of-the-year:
"Making sure the colours are easily achievable is critically important" -Laurie Pressman, vice president of the Pantone Color Institute

---What does she mean by this, "easily achievable?" I reviewed a book on the birth of color in the modern world, called the Color Revolution, which explains how we take for granted that products are colored consistently. For example, when you buy a telephone (haha) you don't think twice that the hard plastic handset and the flexible rubberized cord are the exact same color, but that was really, really hard to do, because all these things are made with different base materials, so the coloring agents interact differently with each of them.

Finally, favorite:
The names are important too. They (Pantone) almost chose "pea soup" as the color for 2017. Settled on "greenery" instead.

And some research for good measure:
ice hockey teams wearing darker-coloured tops were more likely to be penalised for aggressive fouls
-study link

wearing the colour red could increase the probability of winning sporting contests
-study link

Note that ultimately any link between color and behavior is bound to be culture-specific, because colors mean different things in different parts of the world. (And across time as well; don't forget that the pink/blue dichotomy was originally reversed.)


Book Review of The Color Revolution
ReginaLee Blaszczyk, MIT Press 2012

Culture as Learned Probability System
2012, Network Address

Seeing Red
2013, Network Address

Cultural Evolution of Basic Color Terms
2013, Network Address

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