Friday, May 09, 2008

A Plum Day Indeed

If this is of any interest, it seems that plum is the "in" color these days. This knocks green from the top spot. And I am not surprised that green is starting to lose favor, since it is getting so overused and clichéd. For instance, it seems that everyone wants to appear to be a green company, whether they care or not. (Being green is so profitable these days.) So the default color value used in designs almost always matches the word used to represent an environmental-care concept. (Well, the color green, of course.) Now it seems that designers are starting to remember that they are in the business of creating differentiation, not uniformity. The green message can actually be conveyed in a more wider range of colors and design choices than originally perceived.

What designers need to always remember when certain words are bandied about is that popular words often represent bigger concepts than the words themselves. What I mean is that the word green doesn't necessarily mean what it represents in and of itself—the color green. Rather, the word represents a much wider concept: the act of caring for the environment. Although the environment itself consists of dominate shades of green, brown, and blue, it also contains other colors such as red, orange, and plum. In addition, the environment also contains organic shapes, variety, and exotic smells. But they are all subordinate to the concept of proper care of natural beauty.

It is true that the word green, as simply a color, is a powerful representative of this environmental-care concept. That is why it is so overused. But, a designer's job is to go beyond the cliché as often as possible to create a unique message in an understandable context. Which means that, yes, sometimes the color green is the most appropriate solution, just like the color red will always be appropriate for a STOP sign. But designers need to always consider the context—the messenger, the message, and the audience to create appropriately unique solutions.

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