Monday, November 29, 2010

Color Transforms

Focusing once again on the advertising world in our society, one can see that color plays an important role in that whole design process.  Color can be used as emphasis or used as dominance or even used to create color schemes and evoke certain moods and feels.  But anyway you look at it, more often than not, color has the power to transform any design it occupies.

Coca-Cola companies have been known over the years as designing truly creative advertisements—both in the two-dimensional print form and in animation.  This Coca-Cola design is no exception and really plays with the capabilities of color.  Based off of the black and white background, I can really tell that the designers intended to have the bright colors be bold and stand out in the advertisement.  Initially, it feels as though there are hundreds of different colors of arrows throughout the picture.  But looking more closely, I realize that there are only seven or eight different colors.   Why is it that it seems like so many more when one is looking at the picture as a whole?

In his book, The Interaction of Color, Josef Albers answers that very question.  He points out that “color has many faces” (8).  Based off of the surroundings of a color, it can appear differently to the human eye.  When a color is surrounded by warm colors (reds, oranges), the shade will actually appear differently than it would if it were surrounded by cold colors (blues, violets).    For the Coca-Cola advertisement, each color is surrounded by so many different colors, making one pink arrow sometimes appear tinted slightly different that another one.  Then by combining that concept with all seven colors that are represented in the design, the advertisement appears to have significantly more colors and shades than it actually has!

Utopian Design

In our society, it has become more and more important for the designs that are created to serve a greater purpose than just looking “aesthetically beautiful.”  Currently, there are issues in our society that need addressing, and that is what designers should be doing now.  Look at the oil crisis that is now occurring around the world.  The world in general is all too dependent on oil and gasoline. And unfortunately the earth does not have an endless supply to keep giving humans as they need it.  Not only is the price of oil and gasoline steadily rising at a rate that we probably cannot keep up with, but also one day there will be no more gas left to use.  On that day, what would our society do about one of our most important inventions: the car?

Yes, there are scientist and engineers looking to create a car that does not depend on gasoline at all, but so far they have been unsuccessful in creating a practical one.  In the meantime however, there has been a greater effort by automobile companies to design and produce cars that are more environmentally friendly.

The third generation Toyota Prius was first debuted in January 2009.  This car was designed to improve society in many different ways.  But most notably, the car has an average miles per gallon rating of 51 over 48.  According to the U.S. Environmental and Protection Agency, it was ranked as the number one most efficient vehicle based off of mpg.  All in all, the Toyota Prius was designed to improve society and create “Harmony between man, nature and machine.” (3rd Generation Toyota Prius slogan)

Dangerous Designs

For decades, the tobacco industry has been creating and designing advertisements that are intended to catch the eye of audiences.  Just like any other company, they design advertisements in order to convince consumers to buy and use their product.  However tobacco companies are at a slight disadvantage because they product has been proven to be harmful and dangerous to humans, and for that matter society in general.

Looking at this advertisement and its design specifically, the tobacco industry plays off of the idea that smoking a cigarette makes a man irresistible to women.  While typography plays a minor role in the layout of the ad, the main emphasis is truly the interaction between the man and the woman.  After all, the slogan, “Blow in her face and she’ll follow you anywhere” is presented in white and without any color with the intention of sort of blending into the background.  Then, appropriate for a cigarette advertisement, the cigarette is directly in the center of the ad, creating emphasis by placement.

This is another cigarette advertisement that seems almost more dangerous than the previous advertisement.  This one was carefully designed to attack the idea in people’s minds that smoking is harmful and dangerous.  It sends the message that if doctors can smoke these cigarettes, then how could it be harmful?

In both cases, the design intended to make consumers want to buy their product.  However, by buying the companies’ cigarettes, the consumers are in fact putting themselves in danger.  Because of this, the “danger” was probably an unintentional consequence to the advertisements and designs.  As far as I can tell, these cigarette companies are probably more concerned with selling their product than harming consumers.