PINK UP YOUR LIFE!

Some time ago I bought a book by the title of Pink Up Your Life!: The World of Pink Design. Although I am not a great fan of this colour I fell for the design of the book.

So this article is about the combination of classic design and pink.

1919. A lady made of (pink) Steel.

In 1919 the iconic – and probably revolutionary at the time – stand mixer Kitchen Aid was born. If only I took a little of pride in my housewife skills I am sure I would own one. Well, I rather spend a fortune for a posh and stylish espresso machine.

However, if you think of 1919 what sort of colours would you associate with it? I thought of black, white and maybe grey or beige. As it seems I am totally wrong. It was and is to this day available in light pink. I guess it makes household chores sweeter.

1919. A fast car.

Bentley Motors Limited was founded by W. O. Bentley in 1919 in Cricklewood, North London. The founder himself was a keen race driver and the brand became known by winning the 24 Hours of Lemans several times between 1924 and 1930.

Cars at that time were typically black and the British racing cars were of course British racing green. Classic cars can also be white, silver or beige.

But in 2009 Mansory Design & Holding designed this:

The bad news is that such cars actually exist. The model is called «Mansory Vitesse Rosé». The good part: they are limited edition.

1955: The Ant.

Arne Jacobsen designed “the ant” also known as the “series 7” in 1955. The chair that was originally meant for a cantina became a classic and secured him a “seat” in the first class designer lounge.

As far as I can see it was available in a variety of colours. However, for the 60st anniversary of the design two new models were developed.

One in dark blue. The other one in pale pink. With a twist. The legs are 24 carat gold plated.

Pink For Everyone?

It seems to me that pink polarises more than any other colour. It is seen as playful or shocking. If you see the world through pink glasses you are considered non-realistic and if you wear it as a ribbon you fight against breast cancer. The colour I wear most is black and I have to admit that I cannot keep up with this.

Images

The images are either from the free portal pixabay.com or scanned from the book mentioned above.

A SERIES ON COLOURS 10/10.RED.

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Red is blood, power, love, hate, passion, heat, danger and revolution. It is the colour of Mars which once was the God of War. War typically ends up in revolution and blood.

In art there is still a Mars red; a very vivid colour. Of all colours red has the largest wave length which means it can reach far. Higher wavelengths are called infrared and they are invisible to the human eye.

The colour of colours

Do you know this game where you are asked to name the tool or the colour that jumps in your mind immediately? Statistics let us know that more than 90% of people answer «a hammer» for the tool and «red» for the colour.

Red is also a signal or a warning; at least for humans. While it is highly visible for us most of other mammals cannot even see red. Astounding, isn’t it?

If you are a scuba diver you know that red is the first colour to disappear under water and the world turns into shades of blue and grey.

Etymology

The notion red (or rot in German) have the same root. The ancient Indo-European word also meant copper or gold. Both metals have a high value which tells me something about the importance of the colour. The Russian notion for red is directly linked to the word «beautiful” while Sanskrit links red to blood.

Logos

There are probably thousands of companies that use red in their logos. But be careful with this colour; depending on the background red letters are often not sharp on a computer screen; especially in images. I am tempted to say that red has «resistance in its pigments».

Red is the last colour I wanted to introduce. The next series is about the use of colours and shades.

   

A SERIES ON COLOURS 9/10. VIOLET.

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I don’t know about you but when I think of violet notions like, noble, heavy, serious and royal come to my mind.

Violet is the colour of amethyst, lavender, blueberries and of the flower where it takes its name from.

Violet or Purple?

The lighter version of violet is purple. Maybe it is not quite as heavy as violet is but its properties are – at least in my mind – the same.

Violet and purple have a spiritual touch and are often used in this context. I read that in the traditional Chinese paining it stands for the universe since it represents yin and yang (blue and red). Depending on the liturgical calendar the catholic priests wear a purple tippet and the priests of the Anglican Church have violet chasubles. Even the so called New Age uses violet. Traditionally.

Purple was used for the togas of the Roman senators and to use it without permission had serious consequences: one was sentenced to death. So purple was power.

Violet also stands for egocentrism and creativity (I am still pondering on the question if they are somehow connected…).

I also notice that some companies rebranded and their new colour is – purple. The most prominent one I can think of is Yahoo.
   

A SERIES ON COLOURS 8/10. ORANGE.

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Orange is the offspring of red and yellow. We did not yet talk about red but I can already tell that red is very contradictory colour. Orange seems to have inherited the best – or let’s say the easiest – features from its parents.

The Shade of A Fruit

You will not be surprised to hear that the notion orange is directly linked to the fruit. However, the notion «orange» could only establish itself once the exotic fruit became «less exotic».

The German poet Goethe called this shade «yellow-red» and described it as noble. A more poetic German expression for oranges is «fruits of the Gods» which might have had an impact on Goethe’s judgement about the colour.

Although I cannot deny that orange feels warm, gay and creative I also observe that it is used for affordable products. So much for Goethe’s noble…

A SERIES ON COLOURS 7/10. GOLD.

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We started the series by yellow and noticed that this colour has a very bad reputation. For this article I did some research on the colour of gold.

The notion «gold» has its roots in Indo-Germanic word “ghel” which meant shiny and also yellow. The modern German word for yellow (gelb) sounds similar and in Swiss German it is exactly the same.

Real or Fake?

Unlike with yellow nobody would relate gold to false and envy but rather to wealth, honour and genuineness. If we think that most of the jewellery only looks gold while it is fake this is rather astounding, isn’t it.

The only subject I can think of where yellow means gold is heraldry. A real crest is made of metal and the gold blazoning looks golden (or even is made of gold) but if they have to paint it they use yellow.

Logos

Typically, very traditional brands and institutions use gold for their logos; embossed on their letter heads of course.

Luxury label have their logos embossed on their boxes. I think of Cartier and Trussardi. I know one would-be high end bag manufacturer who puts their monogram on every single bag. Big and golden; of course.

A SERIES ON COLOUR 5/10. PINK.

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Pink is the colour of luxury and lifestyle.

It already starts with the fact that the colour is named after a flower (also called carnation). In German the word is “rosa” and of course also stems from a flower.

A pink flamingo reminds many of us of a romantic sunset – which by the way happens to have the same colour – and levity. Pink is Barbie’s colour and typical for girls in general.

Iconic

The fashion designer Elsa Schiaparelli was famous, egocentric and creative. In 1937 she created a perfume called “Shocking”. It was sold in a box of intense pink that went down in history as “shocking pink”. It resembles the printing ink “Magenta” and the labels of Elsa’s creations were also pink.

Elvis Presley bought a pink Cadillac in 1955 which was a paragon of luxury and also of a certain sense of life. The iconic pink Cadillac was a leitmotif in songs and movies and it always embodies freedom.

Maybe pink is not my preferred colour but if freedom is pink I’ll go for it.

A SERIES ON COLOUR 4/10. GREEN.

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We already discussed yellow and blue. If we mix them we receive green. By adding more yellow the green will look more poisonous, while it becomes cooler if blue is more dominant.

The Use of Green

Green packages and labels are typically used for health products, gardening and everything that is sold as healthy. One of the most valuable gems is Emerald. Its green is so unique that the shade is also called emerald.

Rhetoric

The English “green” and the German “grün” (the pronunciation of both words is quite similar) stem from the same old Germanic word that stands for leaves, growth and grass.

German speakers associate green with hope but also with someone who lacks experience. Just like the English “Greenhorn”. No wonder many fruits are not eatable as long as they are green. A green light means that the road is clear but envy is the “green eyed monster”.

You see green is colourful.

A SERIES ON COLOUR 3/10. BLUE

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Blue is very much in demand. Almost 40% if people in the Western world declare it their favourite colour. There are probably not many colours – if any at all – that leave such different impressions as blue.

The Reputation of Blue

Blue stands for a lot of positive things:

  • Loyalty
  • Honesty
  • Reliability
  • Royal (blue)
  • Authority

Bluebloods are people with a noble ancestry (authority again) but being blue is feeling sad. If someone is very naïve they are blue-eyed and a good idea comes out of the blue. Granted the reputation of blue is a lot better than the one of yellow but still it is contradictory.

All the same Blue?

The qualities mentioned above rather remind (me) of the dark shades of blue; the business dress-code so to speak. Prussian blue and Navy blue certainly remind of authority.

Light blue on the other hand is rather connected to freedom, a fresh breeze, and a bright sky while indigo blue has an oriental touch. You will find a lot of indigo blue in the pottery of the Middle East.

Jeans are dyed with indigo. Are we back at the freedom again?

A blue that tends towards green is called turquoise. Most people I know would say that turquoise was more of a shade of green than blue.

Blue does have potential for conflicts. See what I mean?

A SERIES ON COLOUR 2/10. YELLOW.

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Last week we spoke about colours in general. In the following weeks we will have a closer look to different shades. Since yellow is my absolute favourite I start with this colour.

Some Facts

  • In Europe about 5% of people name yellow their favourite colour.
  • Physically, the shades we call yellow have wave-lengths between 565 and 575 nm.
  • In feudal China only the emperor was allowed to wear yellow. It was the colour of heavens and stood for eternal live.

We will see how different things are in the Western world.

Properties assigned to Yellow

If it comes to logo design and one reads about the properties of yellow they will find the following:

  • Bright
  • Sunny
  • Strong
  • Warm
  • Rich

Sayings

But when I look what people normally say about yellow the above description seems rather unbelievable.

In German speaking regions yellow typically stands for jealousy and falsehood.

I also studied some sayings and expression in English.

«Yellow-bellied» for instance is a synonym for cowardice. Also for bananas and lemons that both typically are yellow the English speakers have some very unflattering dictums.

«Do me a lemon» instead of «you must be joking», a «banana republic» is a country with a corrupt government, «banana-oil» stands for nonsense-talk and a «second banana» describes a person who does not have the most regarded position.

Dear native English speakers: If you know a positive example please let me know.