Pantone’s 2015 Color of the Year… Marsala?

Pantone's 2015 Color of the Year... Marsala?

Pantone has released their color of the year for 2015, Marsala. Here’s how they describe the color.

Much like the fortified wine that gives Marsala its name, this tasteful hue embodies the satisfying richness of a fulfilling meal while its grounding red-brown roots emanate a sophisticated, natural earthiness. This hearty, yet stylish tone is universally appealing and translates easily to fashion, beauty, industrial design, home furnishings and interiors.

To put it ineloquently… yuck. This reminds me of the late 90’s, mandarin collar button-ups, vineyard themed kitchens. It’s dried blood, it’s wine stains, it’s the color of regret. I’m also not a fan of the name which makes me think of Chicken Marasala. While it’s a delicious dish, it’s quite ugly from an aesthetic standpoint.

Also, what’s going on with the scandalous photo shoot below? This is taken directly from the Pantone site. Does the idea of a ménage à trios help to sell a color?

Pantone's 2015 Color of the Year... Marsala?

Bobby Solomon

December 5, 2014 / By

Warm Your Hearth and Home Digitally with Yule Log 2.0

Warm Your Hearth and Home Digitally with Yule Log 2.0

Yule Log is a website composed of a collection of short films created by illustrators, animators, directors, and creative coders, that wants to bring back the age old X-mas tradition. The site’s creator, Daniel Savage, did a version last year as well which was equally great. I’d rather put one of these fine pieces of art on my TV rather than watch A Christmas Carol on repeat for 24 hours.

Below are a few of my favorites.

Bobby Solomon

December 3, 2014 / By

The Ultimate Spot to Relax? Take A Look At The Wood Clad Grotto Sauna

The Grotto Sauna by Partisans Is The Ultimate Place To Relax

Cold weather and rainy rain is finally upon us here in LA and all I want to do is stay inside and keep warm. Nothing sounds nicer that spending some time relaxing in a sauna, but to be quite specific, this incredibly designed Grotto Sauna by Partisans. It’s the combination of incredible materials, the 3d sculpted and fabricated interiors, and of course the stunning view.

The site is a prehistoric large-scale rock formation, and understanding it intimately was the first step toward architecture. The selected concept prescribed a solid, simple presence on the exterior, while the interior followed dynamic air movements in curvature forms; requiring design solutions. Challenging the standards of current practices in the construction industry, we worked directly with a millwork and steel fabrication partner on every detail. Together, we developed a new process of fabrication; utilizing state of the art 3-D technology to scan, model and build the Grotto.

Please take me there now.

The Grotto Sauna by Partisans Is The Ultimate Place To Relax

The Grotto Sauna by Partisans Is The Ultimate Place To Relax

The Grotto Sauna by Partisans Is The Ultimate Place To Relax

Bobby Solomon

December 2, 2014 / By

Sweden Enlists Söderhavet to Design A National Typeface

Soderhavet-Sweden-1

How do you brand a country? A hard task, to say the least. Hot on the tails of Bobby’s post on Norway’s exceptional passport and currency design, another country has been catching the eye’s of designers: Sweden. This year, Stockholm-based design firm, Söderhavet, took on the challenge of reimagining their home country’s identity. The whole package is clean, modern, and oozes Scandinavia, but to me the most important part of which is the typeface they designed. It’s about time countries start putting more emphasis on type to aid in creating a national identity, because the ones that have done so in the past (Switzerland) have come to see phenomenal results.

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Nations are most quickly recognizable through their anthems, music, and food. But perhaps most important to a nation’s identity is the flag. There’s an old saying in design that specifically relates to branding, “if it works in black, it will work in color.” Yet, apply this to most flags and you’re left with unrecognizable monochrome results. This won’t do, there needs to be more to a country’s look. In redesigning Sweden’s image, Söderhavet went a step beyond and created a national typeface inspired by Swedish signs of the 1950s. They named that typeface “Sweden Sans”, a modern, geometric sans serif font.

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“Aesthetics are very important in Sweden and we have a long tradition of great architecture, furniture and design – so this was the natural next step,” said type designer Stefan Hattenbach of Söderhavet, who worked on the font. “It was a big responsibility to be representing our country, but we were really proud to be asked.”

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To create the typeface, the designers started with the Swedish flag. “We started to think about how it would work with different typefaces, then started mood boards with different fonts and pictures—especially of old Swedish signs we’d seen from the 1940s and 50s,” says Jesper Robinell, Söderhavet’s head of design. Six months later they were left with the clean, classic, minimal typeface that reflects Sweden. Little touches, like the capital Q’s tail pointing downward instead of slanting to the right, add a touch of modernity and originality to the concept.

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Not only did the team capture the look of Sweden, but they also captured the nation’s attitude. One of my favorite words in Swedish is lagom, meaning ‘not too much and not too little,’ something in the middle of being content. It’s a word, that as far as I have come to understand, more or less reflects the attitude of Sweden’s people. Hattenbach explains that, “lagom is what we’ve aimed for with Sweden Sans… It’s all about Scandinavian minimalism. If they notice the typeface too much, it hasn’t worked.” Success, if you ask me.

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Sweden is far from the first country to employ a national font because Switzerland has been doing so since the 60s. Their branding goes beyond an emblem, a color, or a national dish, but is instead immersed into the writing and language of the nation. What am I talking about? Helvetica, of course.

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Helvetica comes from Helvetia, the female national personification of the Swiss Confederation, and is an integral component of the International Typographic Style that swept the face of 20th-century graphic design. From train timetables to bank notes, the Swiss have accepted and employed this clean, simple character set with great success. Not only does it concisely reflect the nation’s identity, but it is recognized and used worldwide, working the front lines of Switzerland’s soft power.

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So, how do you brand a country? As Söderhavet and Switzerland have taught us, you need to think beyond a flag or colors. Consider application, as it’s your best means to having the concept used, remembered, and adopted by citizens.

You can find Sweden Sans for download here, as well as guidelines for working with the Swedish brand.

Nick Partyka

December 2, 2014 / By

The Carry On Cocktail Brings Proper Drinks Back To Flying

Carry On Cocktail

It certainly feels like the glamorous days of flying are over. Free checked bags are history, seats are getting smaller inch by inch, and the food is certainly never going to get better. Thankfully W & P Design and Punch have teamed up to create the Carry On Cocktail, perhaps the cure to inflight mediocrity.

Carry On Cocktail

The kit contains a recipe card, bitters, sugar, a combination spoon & muddler, and to class things up even further, a linen napkin. And because you’re plane bound everything was designed to meet FAA regulations, so there’s no fear of a cranky agent dropping your stash in the trash.

Bobby Solomon

December 2, 2014 / By

Add Some Color to Your Life with Unique Hand-painted Ceramics by Martinich and Carran

Martinich and Carran - 1 Small Dish

Martinich and Carran - 1 Small Dish

Typically I like things that are simple, minimalist and restrained but every now and again I’ll see something like these amazing dishes by Martinich and Carran and realize I might just need to get a little more fun back into my life. Hand painted and finished with a gloss apoxy resin, these are a real celebration of color and they’re bound to liven up any dining room or kitchen.

Martinich and Carran - 1 Small Dish

Hand-painted by Rowena Martinich, each dish is made from high fired stoneware and each one is a unique one-off piece. Often blurring the boundaries between art and design, Martinich and Carran are a Melbourne-based duo who work both independently and collaboratively. If you haven’t guessed from the work here, both of them have a strong interest in color!

Martinich and Carran - 1 Small Dish

These dishes are available to buy from the Martinich and Carran shop.

Philip Kennedy

December 1, 2014 / By

Lladro & Friends With You Create A Series of Irresistible X-mas Ornaments

Lladro & Friends With You Create A Series of Irresistible X-mas Ornaments

Lladro & Friends With You Create A Series of Irresistible X-mas Ornaments

Friends With You, the art collectivex of super minimal, yet maximally cute beings, have teamed up with Spanish porcelain makers Lladro to create a series of X-mas ornaments that make the occasion more contemporary. I’m partial to the tree toppers personally, especially the beautiful white and golden versions, though the whole collection is downright adorable.

You can view the collection here.

Bobby Solomon

December 1, 2014 / By

Flawed One World Trade Center Is a Cautionary Tale

Flawed 1 World Trade Center Is a Cautionary Tale

New York Times architecture critic Michael Kimmelman takes the design and concept of the new World Trade Center building to task, disappointed by the lack of vision for such an important New York building/monument.

Instead, the building, built as if on a dare to be the tallest, required unprecedented fortifications at astronomical costs, on an immensely difficult site. Mr. Childs faced a nearly impossible task: devising a tower at once somber and soaring, open and unassailable, dignified but not dull. He envisioned an elaborate antenna and a tapered base. Both ideas were vetoed, among much else. The building didn’t end up exactly as the architect pictured it. Few buildings do. I’m not sure that the differences are what tipped the scale.

Uninspired and more like a bank vault than a space for culture to thrive. As Kimmelman rightly points out, this “idea was brushed aside by the political ambitions of former Gov. George E. Pataki of New York, a Republican, and the commercial interests of Larry Silverstein, the developer with a controlling stake at the site, among other forces pressing for a mid-20th-century complex of glass towers surrounding a plaza.” Missed opportunity.

Bobby Solomon

December 1, 2014 / By

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