Meet the Mavens of Color: Winners of our 2011 Color in Design Award

Color DropsWe’re delighted to announce another bright salvo across the world of color: we’ve teamed up with our sister publication HOW and Pantone to host our first annual Color in Design Awards.

We sought gorgeous, smart uses of color across many categories of design—and we found ‘em. We’ll post a featured gallery of winners on printmag.com soon, but here are three of my faves.

The rainbow of tiny bottles above are 21 Drops‘ aromatherapy series, designed by Purpose-Built NYC. Each bottle encapsulates the magic genie for a different ill: Frisky? Moody? Blocked? There’s a drop for that. Tool on over to the 21 Drops site for a lovely execution of a many-shaded rainbow against crisp butcher-paper brown:

Color Samples

Look, I could drool all day over a nicely stepwise rainbow like 21 Drops, but we also wanted to celebrate other color-executions. Take the color-coding meme: a frequent, if usually drab, approach that large multi-national corporations take to help people navigate their many divisions.

IBM Smarter Planet’s execution (by Carlo DeTorres Graphic Design and Ogilvy NY) makes color-coding juicy, smart, responsible and on-target again. The campaign also taps a series of relatively unusual colors for a corporate branding campaign. The palette echoes IBM’s dominant past as a Mad-Men-era genius of early computing, but also feels young, gutsy and future-minded.

Color Branding

IBM Winner of Color in Design AwardWe also wanted to recognize a few winners who made beauty out of monochrome – a smart, controlled use of color versus a hectically brilliant display. One Two Punch Wine (client: Shirah Wines; design: Miller Creative LLC) got mad love from package-design followers in the blogosphere – well-deserved, I might add. This design rocks because it sizes us the color palettes of the wine shelf where the bottle will live, weighs those against color-associations we do or don’t want to attach to wine, and hits on the exact-right color. This red suggests a glorious old fight poster, a summer concert flyer or – yes – fruit punch, yet the sure execution is classic and upmarket in all the right ways. I’m confident the wine inside the bottle will knock my socks off.

One Two Punch Wine

Gather your best color-in-design projects and enter your best uses of color in the Color in Design 2012 Competition. It’s right around the corner.

More articles from Jude Stewart and on color inspiration.


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  1. Pingback: color, colour, Jude Stewart, inspiration, design, gifts, trends, orange, pantone, tangerine, 2011, New Year, Color in Design Awards, Color Conference — Imprint-The Online Community for Graphic Designers

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  3. What an interesting review of the design contest, Jude! Congratulations to all of the winners of the 2011 Color in Design Awards – there’s definitely some fantastic use of color here! It’s great to see a design contest focused completely on the “smart use of color” – a skill that can be difficult to learn, but powerful to have. I recently wrote a series about using color in business including a color selection checklist. You can read the full article on this topic here: http://xrx.sm/BQB