Design is Design is Design

8 Jan

I started working at my current company about three and a half years ago. They hadn’t had a Marketing Director in several years and you could tell. Their corporate colors were beige and burgundy—a callback for certain to their beginnings in 1983. To bring them on into the current century, we (my print, web designers and I) re-branded them with a perfect orange (PMS 1665) and charcoal gray (PMS Black 7 Gray).

Our CFO likes to tease me about the functions of being a marketing director–thinking about colors and layouts and Facebook and image and how things look. He likes to tell me those things don’t matter. But once, in a moment of weakness, he admitted I’d done a great job making the company look current and updated again.

So the other day he was rolling his eyes about our PMS color and saying there is a “reason they are called PMS colors,” and that night I came across this post from A Pop of Pretty about how Tangerine Tango is the 2012 Color of the Year. She included a ton of eye candy photos from rooms that incorporated this color, all of which, btw, I could have moved right into.

I, of course, forwarded the post to my CFO to elicit even more eye-rolling and he actually commented that I was ahead of the curve for picking a color that would soon be the Color of the Year. For the record, Tango Tangerine is PMS 17-1463 but it’s also an awesome orange.

It all got me to thinking about something that always strikes me. It’s that design is design is design. The elements–forms, shapes and colors–that are hot in graphic design are usually trending the same way in fashion and in home decor design. They all bubble up at the same time, but where does it start?

It reminds me of in “The Devil Wears Prada” when the Meryl Streep character tells the Anne Hathaway character that the reason her bargain bin Casual Corner sweater was a particular shade of blue because . . . well, here, I can only find the scene in Italian on YouTube but here are the lines:

This… ‘stuff’? Oh… ok. I see, you think this has nothing to do with you. You go to your closet and you select out, oh I don’t know, that lumpy blue sweater, for instance, because you’re trying to tell the world that you take yourself too seriously to care about what you put on your back. But what you don’t know is that that sweater is not just blue, it’s not turquoise, it’s not lapis, it’s actually cerulean. You’re also blithely unaware of the fact that in 2002, Oscar De La Renta did a collection of cerulean gowns. And then I think it was Yves St Laurent, wasn’t it, who showed cerulean military jackets? I think we need a jacket here. And then cerulean quickly showed up in the collections of 8 different designers. Then it filtered down through the department stores and then trickled on down into some tragic casual corner where you, no doubt, fished it out of some clearance bin. However, that blue represents millions of dollars and countless jobs and so it’s sort of comical how you think that you’ve made a choice that exempts you from the fashion industry when, in fact, you’re wearing the sweater that was selected for you by the people in this room. From a pile of stuff.

Is that where it starts? From fashion? High-end designers? Or is it more Bohemian, like the independent artists on Etsy.

Some of my favorite blogs are the ones that touch on both home and fashion design like Elements of Style and La Dolce Vita. It’s cool that they are watching and talking about the trends as they happen in two different realms. Do these bloggers help to determine the trends? I think they do. Do you think they are the ones that decided owls were going to be the “it” thing for 2011?

Whatever it is . . . I’ll keep watching and trying to keep up. I’m eager to see what bubbles up for 2012. Any predictions?

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