current graphic design trends. Even more rarely, that color reveals itself to
be incredibly versatile. Case in point: the new hot color, a flaming
Because my husband and I are clearly insane, we painted our dining
room walls five different times in different custom-mixed shades in order to get the tricky balance between a saturated orange and bold pink that has been used eloquently by several of Print’s New Visual Artists this year:
Anniversary issue of Tuli & Savu, a Finnish poetry publication.
Art direction, illustration, and layout by Lotta Nieminen.
Promotional piece for Neutraface Slab by Print New Visual Artist
Bondé Prang. Fonts designed by Kai Bernau and Susana Carvalho.
a jaw-dropping capacity for change as you swap different colors into
its proximity: Black or darker backgrounds give it a vibrant,
surprisingly elegant restraint, which is particularly useful when
printing with a limited number of colors. On the web, Armin Vit of
UnderConsideration.com uses flame as a distinctive color-signature to
carve out the Quipsologies sub-brand.
!mpact Design for Social Change workshop at School of Visual Arts, summer 2010, via GOOD
Asia Now: Exploring Design Culture conference, curated by DesignBoom.
Not that you can’t pair flame with colors other than black. Another twist in this uncannily versatile hue is how well it jives with a miscellany of colors, all with a slightly yellowish cast on a white background. New York’s School of Visual Art’s home page shows how flame can anchor an otherwise chatty, friendly array of colors. Here flame promises passion tempered by reason, a unity-in-diversity that lends authenticity to the whole brand. (It also resonates well with some of the other “it” colors of late, like plum, burnt-yellow and mint green – a daisy-chain of accents.)
The flame is spreading. In an uncanny echo of SVA, its cross-borough rival school, Parsons’ web design also features flame, as does the website for the 2010 Salone Internazionale del Mobile, the globally acclaimed furniture-design fair now humming in Milan.
Parson’s New School for Design website.
Even with such versatility, a color that burns this bright is bound to get fatiguing. Although it can neighbor many colors successfully, if the surrounding colors get too hectic, it dials up the eye’s competition needlessly:
Un/Stage’s promotional poster for 40 Inspiring Examples of Club Posters, via Design You Trust.
But mostly, flame-love among designers is high now – and for good reason. More than most shades, this color brings an assertive warmth that also steadies the eye. It’s also just plain gorgeous-in-a-bottle. Paint manufacturer Dulux’s Let’s Colour project [via weheart.co.uk] is currently touring the world, painting neglected public spaces in a riot of juicy colors. Flame’s full-tilt forward movement out of recessionary grays still feels grounded but exuberant, the right balance for a chance.
From Dulux’s Let’s Colour public painting project, Rio, Brazil, via WeHeart.co.uk