Sunday, December 30, 2012

(What to) Coloring Book!

One of my favorite theatrical/architectural presents this season is a book:

PANTONE: The Twentieth Century in Color

Photo from Felt & Wire's interview with the authors

Authors Leatrice Eiseman and Keith Recker lead the Reader through the changing color schemes of the just-past century, explaining some of the influences, reasons, and technical developments behind changes in color preferences.  Beautifully illustrated.  And always, on the right-hand edge of the page, there's a palette of PANTONE colors keyed to the illustrations and period under discussion.

Incredibly helpful for designers.

PANTONE takes us decade by decade through the colors of fashion and design, from the gentle pastels of ladies' dresses circa 1900, through the psychedelic brights of the 1960s and the dreaded Avocado Green era of the 1970s, and on to the end of the millennium.  What I found most fascinating was the many contradictory color palettes of the 1990s: the Martha Stewart somehow-nostalgic shades; the Anime-bright-pastels; the Zen-like greens and neutrals; the African and Latin inspired hues; and the look-at-me-I'm-conspicuously-consuming! rich tones of the '90s.

I wish they'd go back and make a matching book for the 1800s.

Then for the 1700s.

If you're a designer who ever deals with historic periods - or someone inspired by color - you're going to enjoy this book!  It's a must-have for theater designers I think.

HERE's a good interview with the authors at the bookish website Felt & Wire.  And HERE's an interview with the publisher about the design and making of the book.

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