Viva Color at Print's First Color Conference

Print's Color Conference
We’re still feeling the rush of color and its many conversations from Print’s first Color Conference last week at the Art Directors Club in New York City’s Fashion District. Here are some brilliant gems to recap:

Print's Color Conference

We kicked off Day 1 with stellar presentations by Leatrice Eiseman of the Pantone Institute (center, honeysuckle-pink scarf) and Bill Moggridge, head of the Cooper-Hewitt Design Museum (left, pearl-gray jacket). Lee briskly debunked some of the more pernicious color-myths pervading the Internet, while unveiling a glimpse at Pantone’s forecast for the color-palette of the near future.

Meanwhile, Bill took us on a spirited tour of color-codes in action in UI / UX design, then switched gears to the Cooper-Hewitt’s impressive collection and the upcoming Design with the Other 90% exhibit hitting the United Nations this week. That’s me below wielding the mike for Q&A.

Print's Color Conference

This panel also featured Jessi Arrington (panel shot, far left, orange-and-red-and-purple), who roused us from late-afternoon slumber with a moving, funny tribute to color’s impact in our lives. Jessi finished that off with an impromptu “human rainbow” parade, complete with raucous brass band, up and down 29th Street. Jessi, thanks for letting me lead!

Print's Color Conference

Here’s Pentagram’s Eddie Opara rocking it in the “Color and Controversy” panel discussion, an absorbing session rife with opinions and surprising color facts. He’s seated next to Lee Eiseman (left) and Debbie Millman of Sterling Brands with design giant Mirko Ilic. Mirko arguably scored the panel’s wittiest, most trenchant point, as he recounted how designers in Bosnia-Croatia avoided Communist red like the plague, only to be liberated eventually by democratic-capitalistic forces…epitomized everywhere by super-red Coca-Cola. Clearly color-allegiances are fickle, subversive, and culturally contingent.

Day One ended with CMYK Cocktails: four different cocktails, formulated around cyan-magenta-yellow-and-black, surprisingly various and delicious, teensily-sized enough that you could easily sample all four. (And why not go a second round to determine your favorite? It’s research.) Below you’ll see curator-organizer Emilie Baltz (blond in turquoise and hot pink, with Print editor-in-chief Aaron Kenedi) and her mixologist Tomas Delos Reyes (in black-and-white-stripes and fedora).

Print's Color Conference

Print's Color Conference

Print's Color Conference

Print's Color Conference
Print's Color Conference

Day Two kicked off with Gael Towey of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia: such a panoply of gorgeously vivid, color- and food-packed shots I have rarely seen. A mere half-hour after a full breakfast, I was already peckish. Gael explored color as it’s used in curating editorial in Martha Stewart’s magazine but also as it stimulates consumer desire in the company’s related brands, like products / homewares and lifestyle.

Eddie Opara took a contrarian take in his session, “Does Color Kill?” His observation that clients tend to get “stuck” on color choices (particularly when they dislike them) prompted his firm to automate color-palette generation, just to take the turbulent color-question off the table. Eddie unpacked his uses (and dodges) of color in numerous projects, while making one thing abundantly clear: whether it’s constructive or the opposite, color always packs a punch and must be wielded skillfully.

Speaking of color palettes, sponsor (and event co-host) COLOURLovers set a playful tone in our ongoing interactive sessions by encouraging conference-goers to build their own palette with a collection of brightly diverse canvases, then get photographed with it. The results? Hilarious, smart and clever, just like our participants. Color makes you brilliant in more ways than one! (See all the color-palettes at facebook.com/colourlovers. Also, the final image shows Aaron Epstein and Darius Monsef of COLOURLovers, having “creative differences.”.)

Print's Color ConferencePrint's Color Conference

Print's Color ConferencePrint's Color ConferenceAll COLOURLover photos by Greg Hennes, ClutchCamera.com

COLOURLovers, 3rd Ward and our sponsors kept us all humming with stuff to do, make and try between sessions. You could dive into cognitive neuroscience (aptly named “Your Brain on Color”), resist-dye fabrics, paint a mural or dabble in Itten and Albers’ respective color theories.

Print's Color Conference

We wrapped up an amazing two days with Leni Schwendinger on her color-light displays illuminate unseen or neglected corners of the urban landscape, while Ruth Lande Shuman of Publicolor sent us out on a thrumming high note. This non-profit has a stunningly simple premise: involve students at low-performing public schools in giving the entire school a bright new paintjob. It’s a basic project with a million positive implications: schools look more cheerful, inviting, and safe; students learn a useful real-world skill; teams get built, expectations get raised, all boats start to rise. The stats to back Publicolor’s success up impressed us all.

A big shout-out to our sponsors Pantone, Neenah Paper, 48HourPrint, The Art Institutes, Freelancers Union, 3rd Ward and Art Directors Club for making this smash-hit happen.

All photos except COLOURLovers palettes by Judah S. Harris, http://www.judahsharris.com. Judah also offers photo workshops: http://www.judahsharris.com/photo-workshops


For More Resources on Color