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February 06 2012


January 30 2012


COLOURlovers Interview & Giveaway with Jessica Sprague on The Art of Poster Design

Poster design is a really fun, inexpensive and unique way to explore your creative side. From the 1,000's of fonts, variety of poster sizes, and layouts, sometimes, it's difficult to know where to start!

Once you master your design techniques visit Next Day Flyers for fast poster printing at great prices.

Today we are interviewing Jessica Sprague, design guru and owner of In February, Jessica is heading off a four week Poster Design course. She is also giving away not one, but TWO seats to this really awesome class! I couldn't be more excited about the class after taking Jessica's Subway Art class. I'm a busy mom, so I don't have a whole lot of time to join in a live class, which is why I love Jessica's classes- they are self-paced and available forever!

Follow Jessica: Twitter & Facebook

Can you tell us about yourself, how long have you been designing? Teaching? Do you have a job outside of

In my former life I was a web & user interface designer for a software company, so I've been designing in some form or another for about 14 years. I started teaching digital scrapbooking, Photoshop, and graphic design in 2007 when I opened Since then it is my full-time job, and I love it!

What three (or less) singular colors do you most identify with, why?

My favorite color is green - I love it in almost all of its shades from lime to olive. It's the color of growth and regeneration, of calm energy, of prosperity, learning, balance, and harmony.

If you had to describe yourself [currently] as a five color palette, what colors would they be? Could you provide me with HEX codes so I can create a JS palette for you? :)

I feel like I am a blue, two greens, and a red, coupled with a dark grey. Hex: aed835, d9ea65, 81c9c0, a90c19, a90c19

The greens I've already described. The blue is an ocean representing responsibility, stability, trustworthiness. The red represents fire and emotion, and the dark grey brings some gravity, but also represents the dark that balances the lighter, fresher colors.


If you could be a shape, what shape would you be? (i.e. a polygon = triangle, hexagon etc...)

I would be a 5-pointed star. :)


How do you approach incorporating color combinations in poster design? Where do you start on this process?

As with any design process, I always start with a theme or a concept. What is it that we're saying? What emotion do we want to evoke in the reader or viewer of this piece? Having a solid design concept, I move in to blocking shapes and choosing colors - usually designed to play on the overall theme.

Source: Jessica Bills

Personally I'm a font junkie, I'm sure you have a large collection of fonts yourself, how do you organize your collection?

I love fonts. LOVE. I collect them, drool over them, dream about them, find excuses to buy new ones. I have a lot of fonts - probably 1700 - and I use a program called Font Expert to organize my fonts. I need to get even better at organizing, when there's time! But right now I have them divided into categories. My categories include: 3d, Block, Calligraphic, Circus, Condensed, Cute, Decorative, Destroyed, Dingbats, Display, Distressed, Gothic, Handwritten, Modern, Monospaced, Ornaments, Outline, Quirky, Retro, Sans Serif, Script, Serif, Skinny, Stencil, Symbol, Typewriter, Wide, Worn.

How do you approach using fonts in poster design?

The typeface choices make a critical part of the design process - this typically comes as the style and theme of the poster is being fleshed out. I think the typography - especially in a poster where the message tends to be very brief and very LOUD, is especially important, and one of the hallmarks of a really good design vs. a less-effective one. Fonts say things in addition to the actual words they spell - they have personality and that personality needs to be respected and taken advantage of in a design.

Heavily using fonts seems quite trendy, where do you recommend a base knowledge or quick reference about font types and usage?

Mixing fonts is an art and a skill that takes time to develop - I recommend beginning to steep yourself in really good typography, such as the samples over at as a really good resource for getting a feel for the subtleties.

Source: Jessica Sprague The Art of Poster Design

How do you feel about using patterns in poster design? Something busy, but in the background? Or something simple like a chevron- those seem to be rather popular right now. What are some basic rules you follow when incorporating patterns into poster design?

I think patterns are great in limited ways in a poster - most posters rely on a one-or-two color press that doesn't allow for much multi-color pattern; but this is changing as the price for laser printing in large-scale formats continues to come down.

How would you describe your style when creating posters? Do you like to use big fonts? Do you tend to use the same fonts over and over?

The style of a poster is always dictated by the message and the style called for - but in general I like big bold fonts, large graphics, brushwork, and great details.

Source: Janet Carr, a student from Jessica Sprague's Subway Art class.

What do you think are the most common mistakes people make when designing a poster?

I think the most common mistake is that people are afraid to really fill the space in a poster - I see things centered with plenty of whitespace around the text, no color (even black on white can be a color if used well!), and just general blandness. A poster's purpose is to deliver a message in 10 seconds or less - boldness is the name of the game.

Where are you most likely to find inspiration when you're stuck in the mud?

I have Pinterest. I also have a few books, including The New Masters of Poster Design, which is excellent eye candy for all styles of posters.

How long is the filming process for the poster class from start to finish, including editing?

There will be about 12 hours of finished video for this class, which takes about three weeks to record and edit.

Since I've taken several of your classes, I know throughout the videos you give direction for both Photoshop and Elements users, do you prefer one program over the other?

Great question! In my own work I use Photoshop CS5, but I prefer teaching Photoshop Elements, because I love and adore the Project Bin! LOL. 

Source: Sunday Grennan of itsmesunday.

The Giveaway: Two Lucky COLOURlovers Will Win!

As mentioned above, Jessica has generously offered two seats in the class, a value of $63.99 per class! The giveaway starts today, January 30th, 2012 and ends next Monday, February 6th, 2012.

To Enter: 

Leave a comment telling us what your favorite font is and what theme you would use the font for when creating a poster or project.

The Art of Poster Design starts February 13th and ends March 11th. Jessica Sprague will be leading the class with step-by-step video instruction. This is considered an intermediate class. You can sign-up or get more detailed information here.

I've recently created a digital crafting group on COLOURlovers, feel free to join, and share your works of art, palettes, patterns, and chat with people who have the same interests! 

Sponsored post

January 26 2012


December 09 2011


November 17 2011


August 02 2011


April 27 2011


FlorisDesign: Broadening & Practicing Your Creative Skills

Floris Voorveld of FlorisDesign, is one of my new favorite artists in the freelance designers world. I originally discovered his work on and became fascinated with his take on practicing creativity. Floris grew up in the Netherlands but currently resides in Spain. He creates some really nice, minimal designs.

Don't hate Design Contests, use them to your advantage...

Something that Floris does stood out to me. Being a designer myself over the past ten years, I have witnessed the flood of design contests online. This is a subject of strong opinion going both ways. Some designers feel that it can take value away from the proper design process and hard work, it cheapens the industry, etc. I think more and more designers are learning to see some value to the fact that the contests exist and are not going away any time in this millennium.

Floris has a great view about these contests on this blog post, Logo Contests. Part of what I want to re-state is third party by way of Floris stating from another source, but I like his thoughts on the topic.

"if you pay peanuts you get monkeys"

...although most of the time that is true, it's not always like that. The problem is that people who pay peanuts don't know squat about monkeys. They wouldn't know a good logo if it would hit them in the face, that's the problem.thoughts from Floris on Logo Contests

Ultimately, view design contests as a means to slim out the clients who really have no idea what good design will cost, what a good design is or how to handle the creative process of design. So really, the contests are doing you, the designer, a favor.

Floris actually uses these contests to give his creative side a little jiggle. There is something to be said here. If the contests are not going to go away, use them to your advantage. Here, Floris says he will peruse the design brief's for something that might strike his creative whim and go for it. Simply to practice.

This can be really practical at any level of design and gives you as a designer, practice for not only translating design briefs, but a non-commitment to delve in to your wild side. Not focusing on the actual contest or winning is key here. Other than a contest deadline, you don't have the pressure of a real client expecting something from you.

Tips to Stimulate Your Creative Thinking

I snagged this excerpt from Floris' blog - posted back in May 2010. 11 Creativity Tips

11 Tips from FlorisDesign to Stimulate Creative Thinking

  • Tip #1: A good way to get creative is to assume a question has always got two right answers. Important is not to look it up but think of the second yourself.
  • Tip #2: The metaphor is a great expedient to come up with something new. If you're stuck try to find one to freshen your perception.
  • Tip #3: Be revolutionary and break with the rules, especially the ones that determine your normal day to day activities.
  • Tip #4: Make sure you're not 'in love' with certain ideas. If you use the same idea or system often you won't be able to see the benefits of other approaches anymore.
  • Tip #5: Be a magician. Ask yourself 'if' questions and use the provoking answers as a stepping stone to new ideas.
  • Tip #6: Let the ambiguity of the world work in your benefit. Look at those ambiguities and think of ways to extend them.
  • Tip #7: Make sure you have a strong 'risk mussle'. Everyone has one but you have to train it. Be sure to take a risk once every 24 hours.
  • Tip #8: If you make a mistake use it in your benefit, it may just be a stepping stone to new ideas.
  • Tip #9: Don't be too busy so you don't have any time for 'ideahunting'. Make time in your schedule for hunting ideas, that can be just a walk through the park.
  • Tip #10: Make yourself try new things and build of those new findings. The creative person has confidence these ideas will lead to something good.
  • Tip #11: Remember that people who think they don't see creative often suppress their creativity and are stuck in their thinking patterns. People that do think creative let their mind run free and give attention to even the slightest ideas even if they don't know it will lead to something.

A peek at the creative side of FlorisDesigns...

The simplicity behind Floris' finished projects are amazing. I enjoy looking through his portfolio and reading about each client, the reasons behind the design presented and branding mockups and sometimes he shows some of the other design options that eventually turned in to the final.





April 26 2011


Group Feature: HAIKU- Where Poets Create with Colors and Words

Of the many word-based games played on ColourLovers, one of the newest is HAIKU PALETTES & POETIC PATTERNS where Lovers create palettes and poems at the same time from the words in the color names. The group began in January 2011 and quickly grew to 20 members in its first few days. Membership has more than doubled in less than the three to four months since the group was launched.

The Autumn Queen HPP

by Luna Rose

Upon rainbow throne
Bright and bold - The Autumn Queen
A sight to behold

April is National Poetry Month - A note from the editor

The month of April has many national celebrations, one of those being National Poetry Month. Before we draw this month to a close, we want to feature one of our most recent, popular groups, the HPP, managed by ketisse, a COLOURlover who is very passionate about writing and poetry. I personally think that it is amazing how she has invented a way for COLOURlovers to work with color, pattern and palettes to create poetry - the process is truly intriguing!

Today, the group currently boasts:

  • 178 COLORS
  • 179 PALETTES
  • 184 PATTERNS
  • 67 LOVERS

I hope you enjoy learning about the group itself and learning how to create a Haiku through palettes. ketisse has put together a very through guest post about her group and the creation process.

- Molly Bermea / Community Curator & Blog Editor

Creating Haiku's Using Color

A Haiku is created by combining colors while arranging the color names so they compose a poem.

The HAIKU Palettes and Poetic Patterns Group (HPP) challenges its members to be creative in two very different ways simultaneously:

  1. 1.) Combining colors while arranging the color names so they compose a poem.
  2. 2.) Working with words and colors this way can be a worthwhile exercise that helps expand personal creative horizons.

When making a palette or pattern, an artist can choose from every possible color available in the COLOURlovers' system, which can seem overwhelming. If you stick to the word games in the HPP Group Conversations, it might help you narrow your options and focus and sets a challenge to meet.

When you first enter the group, only five Conversations show, make sure you open up all of them. For instance there are only 5 of 13 Conversations showing (as of today), you'll find many other challenges if you view ALL 13 Conversations. With new challenge types, will come a new Conversation thread.

Haiku group discussions are distinguished by who names the colors.

It seems to be more of an advanced challenge if the haiku palette/poem was created using colors named by other COLOURlovers, than if the colors were named by the palette maker to complete the haiku palette. Some palette poems can be made up from a mixture of self-made colors and existing colors, these would be moderate to intermediate challenges.

"Crossovers" - palettes that qualify for two or more groups

This is where “crossovers” came in to play. These are palettes that qualify for two or more groups. The One-Lover at a Time (1LP) palette challenge was the first to be combined with Haiku for a crossover challenge. Periodically, a COLOURlover who has a lot of colors with English names is announced to the group and the palette/poets who accept the challenge use only that person’s color names to create a poem palette.
Crossover Palette Example / 1LP (One Lover Palette): notice all the color swatches are made from one COLOURlover.

Old Brain HPP + LP

by nfowler

Memory Dream Work
Fading Thoughts, Old Brain Butter
I Can't Remember.



Reading a COLOURlover Created Haiku

When viewing a HAIKU Palette, some may LOVE the palette after viewing only the color combinations. Unfortunately, viewers can move on without reading the color names and miss all the beauty in the artist’s poetic work. So, in group discussion threads, most palettes are presented in a way that allows viewers to appreciate the poems and the colors simultaneously. Of course, reading the color names of most HPP palettes is the same as reading a poem.

Shown below is an example by Donna Brock, aka COLOURlover: sunmeadow

Notice the correlation between the poem and the names of the colors swatches used in the poem.


The Rose

by Donna Brock / sunmeadow

The red blossom bends
and drips its dew
to the ground.
Like a tear it falls




HAIKU Poetry Café - Watch & Listen

Hidden inside this group, is the HAIKU Poetry Café. This is where ColourLovers can sit back, relax and enjoy some poetry performances by some very entertaining spoken word artists recorded in their own voices. Palettes inspired from this discussion do not have to be Haiku poems. The performance videos are chosen because of their powerful messages as well as their potential appeal to all audiences. For instance, some of the artists featured in the February series, for Black History Month, included Maya Angelou, Langston Hughes, Tupac Shakur and Jill Scott.


I liked how Trixxie also incorporated a pattern describing parts of the poem's points, being a phenomenal woman, in patterns with the same color palette (see below).




Making a Haiku yourself

Haiku poems have 17 syllables arranged in three lines with five [5] syllables on the first line, seven [7] syllables on the second line and five [5] syllables on the third line.

Because most COLOURlover palettes contain five colors and because the palette-poet must combine phrases found in color names written by others, the syllables may be spread over those five lines in any combination that totals seventeen. If a poem-palette doesn’t have 17 syllables, it is still a poem, even if it isn’t a HAIKU.

First, open MS Word, Pages or a notepad program, where notes and lists of color names can be saved outside of the CL system. A paper notebook, sticky notes and a pen or pencil can be used for this step, too.

Second, start searching for colors to use for your Haiku. When searching for existing color names, the poem might need to be edited if phrases from the poem don’t exist in the COLOURlovers system. To compare colors, consider opening a separate browser window/tab for colors that represent each idea.

Dissecting the Process...

For those who are ready to make a Haiku palette, but have never written a Haiku before, here is a glimpse into the creation of a recent One-Lover poem-palette: “INDECENCY” - made using colors named by ycc2106.


The color search for Inecency HPP 1LP began with using the word "SEA". Color names appeared in the search and ideas came to mind. The next searches were for words like WATER, FISH and SWIM, etc. Funny thing, “SEA” didn't even end up in the finished poem, but it led to the color names that did.

Each color name that had potential went onto a list on the notepad. If a color name contained a color word, it was skipped because most color names evoke an idea of color without actual color words. With a 17 syllable limit, color names that suggest colors are more expressively efficient (a good thing).

To develop the story of the poem, these questions came to mind:

  • Who would be in this water?
  • What would happen there?

The color name search was shaped by these questions. YCC2106 had written two color names "ARROGANT MOON FISH" and “SWIM NAKED”. These color names answered those questions.


The word "arrogant" evokes an emotional reaction; the "moon" part took on a double-meaning when added to “swim naked”. These were the first to be added to the poem. The paradoxical, oxymoronic color name: “WISE FROGS” was already on the notepad but not in the poem yet. The idea of “WISE FROGS” seemed to be the perfect foil or opponent for the “arrogant moon fish” and went well with “DON’T KNOW WHY”. The poem was almost finished.

To fill the remaining syllables, the word EMBARRASS seemed appropriate at this point. YCC2106 had one color name: “EMBARRASSINGLY” but with five syllables, this took the poem to 18 syllables (one too many for a HAIKU). A search on “CONFUSED” revealed “CONFUSED AS HELL”. With four syllables, this completed the poem perfectly. Placed intentionally between the "moon fish" and the "wise frogs", "confused as hell" can apply to either. Let the reader choose.

Here is the finished poem-palette (with syllable counts next to each line):


  • (5) Arrogant moon fish
  • (3) Swim naked
  • (4) Confused as hell
  • (2) Wise frogs
  • (3) Don’t know why
  • by ketisse
  • February 28, 2011




When you go to this palette, Indecency HPP 1LP, take a look at the comments (both pages). It's fun to see the reaction from a COLOURlover when you use all of their color names in a Haiku.

The creative process can vary, COLOURlovers who are members of the HAIKU PALETTES & POETIC PATTERNS GROUP, put a lot of time and effort into their poem-palettes. You may view other HPP palettes here (by searching "HPP" under Palettes).

Group badge pattern artwork: colored by ketisse, Original Template by sunmeadow and badge assembly by ycc2106. Pattern "Symea wrote a Poem" is also used in the header of this post.
Header color palette, "Indecency HPP 1LP" was made by ketisse.

Keep creating beautifully.

This group feature post was written by - ketisse

April 22 2011


Earth Day Book Giveaway & Recycled T-Shirt Flower Pin Tutorial

To celebrate Earth Day today we have, Tiffany Threadgould of and, here to teach us how to re-purpose an old t-shirt to make these adorable flower pins. Tiffany just launched her first book, ReMake It! (by Sterling Publishing). It's super adorable and is a pretty fun book to have on hand whether you have kids or you just love to re-purpose. We'll be doing a giveaway for 3 of these books at the tail end of the tutorial with a BONUS PRIZE, so stay tuned!

T-Shirt Scrap Flower Pin


  • T-shirt
  • ruler
  • washable marker or pencil
  • fabric scissors
  • twist tie
  • button with two holes
  • pin back or safety pin

Use one T-shirt to make a single color flower, or mix it up and use strips from a few different shirts for a flower with different colors.


1. Measure and cut ¾-inch wide strips from the bottom of a T-shirt. From those strips, cut eight 8-inch long pieces.

2. Pull on the ends of each strip and stretch them until their edges curl. Snip three holes into each strip—one in the middle and two more, each ½ inch from the ends. Be careful not to cut across the whole strip, just to make small holes.

3. Slip the ends of the twist tie through a button, and pull it through so it is snug across the front of the button. Twist the ends of the twist tie together tightly until they are completely twisted at the back of the button.

4. Thread the end of the twist tie through the hole at the center of one of the T-shirt strips. Then, thread the twist tie through the holes on the ends of the T-shirt strip. Repeat this for all the rest of the strips

5. Holding the T-shirt strips and button together, untwist the twist tie ends. Insert them through the holes in pin back or wrap them around the safety pin (whichever pin you decide to use). Adjust the twist tie until the flower and pin are held firmly in place on the pin back. Remake a whole bouquet of flower pins and grow a garden on your shirt!

More About The Author

Tiffany Threadgould is a design junkie who gives scrap materials a second life. She's the head of design atTerraCycle, a company that collects and creates products from waste. She also keeps up her own green biz,RePlayGround, where you can find ReMake It recycling kits and oodles of DIY projects. Tiffany thinks that garbage has feelings too and can sometimes be found talking to her pile of junk at her design studio in Brooklyn, N.Y.


Tiffany was so kind to send us three (3) books to give to you! We are going to do another random pick from the user comments on this one. So if you'd like a cool copy of ReMake It! You must do the following:

Leave a comment telling us what your favorite art/craft style is be that a link out to your most favorite craft blogger(s) or just list your top 1-5+ most favorite things to work with be that modge podge, sewing, quilting, re-purposing, scrapbooking (traditional or digital), card making, painting, etc. The sky is the limit in the craft world!


Bonus Prize is a $25 Gift Card at COLOURlovers partner,

I will be posting this article on the COLOURlovers Facebook wall. All you have to do is:

  1. 1) LIKE the COLOURlovers Facebook Page
  2. 2) SHARE the article on your facebook wall
  3. 3) Leave a comment on the article I posted on our fb wall which should include your COLOURlovers USERNAME.

We will be conducting a random drawing from the facebook post commentary. As long as you followed the steps, you will be included.

You may play and qualify for BOTH prizes (ReMake It! book AND the $25 at The contest will run from today, April 22nd, 2011, until Thursday, April 28th with winners announced Friday, April 29th, 2011. You must be a COLOURlovers user to qualify for either prize. So register if you need to!

March 31 2011


Car Color Trends from Range Rover

When I think about car colors the first thing that always comes to mind is this famous quote by Henry Ford: "Any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants so long as it is black." We've certainly come a long way from the single color option, but the color variations produced over the years have not strayed far from the "standards," and year after year the same colors reign in popularity. All of this brings up some questions in my mind, like what consideration are made when producing these colors, who are the people making these decisions, and are consumers really that afraid of different colors? Well, thanks to this guest post from the team working on the Range Rover Evoque we get a little insight into this vey conundrum.

Choosing a car colour from a range in a showroom is simultaneously the most difficult and most fun part of buying a new car. For Mel McWhirter, principal colour designer at Range Rover, choosing the right colour is very important. It’s her job. Mel is in charge of the colour range for the new Range Rover Evoque car.

“We take inspiration from design exhibitions and also colour trends that are predicted for the future,” says Mel “We do also have to take into account the fact that for most people, buying a car is an investment. We need to guide our customers towards a choice that is right for them and the product.”

McWhirter and her team have to strike the right balance between practicality and fashion in colour selection. Data collected on car colour trends show that whilst the ‘monochromatic colours’ black, silver and white are still the most popular, ‘colour’ is making a comeback.

While Europe tends to lead the way with car colour trends, different markets have different tastes and requirements that are influenced by many factors. Red, popular for sports cars in the US, is also a lucky colour in China.

“People are moving away from the neutral colours and red is becoming more popular again,” says Mel. “One of our new colours is a bright new red. It’s great; we have been trying for a number of years to develop a bright red but technology limitations prevented us from achieving the intense colour we desired, until now.”

One surprising aspect of car colour selection is the effect of other industries on the availability and demand for certain colours “In consumer electronics we have seen colour coming back in” says Mel ”The iPod being in a range of colours for example has shown that some colours like lime green have become desirable again.”

Dupont, who have tracked colour trends in cars for 55 years, confirm this influence. They have reported the decline of a once very popular colour across all regions of the world: silver. For the first time this century silver has dropped from the top of the popularity chart in America, alhtough in Japan and China it remains the most popular colour.

Black and white are still the most popular colours across the world, but new variations in paint technology are introducing colour to keep things interesting. A good example of this is the metallic black being adopted by many car companies for their new models. “In the Range Rover Design Studio, we have for the past few years been leading the trend by developing not only a neutral metallic black, but also a tinted black with red sparkle that is created using Xirallic – a multi sparkle technology,” says Mel “it’s a way for people to experiment with colour without committing to something too bright. The Xirallic colours are just one of the new developments in colour creation for the Range Rover Evoque.”

Evoque Colors

Evoke Wireframe Installations

November 28 2010


Cultural Color Differences: Mexico & USA

We're fortunate to have this guest post by blogger & crafter Jenny Hoople. You can see this post and many colorful others on Jenny's blog, Authentic Arts.

Why are bright, colorful things so cheerful and why is America so afraid of them? I've spent my whole life becoming fascinated by color and it's combinations, from fingerpaintings to oil paintings to colorful gemstone jewelry. I've often wondered why so many cultures embrace and celebrate color while my own seems to suppress and marginalize it. In Mexico, colorful living is standard practice, a way of releasing control over their lives and giving it back to God. In America, only the fringe live colorfully: artists, bohemians, hippies. Here, a colorful outfit is a sign of a dangerous mind, of an impulsive rule-breaker, of someone who's not afraid to stick out.

My mom had us playing with color as far back as I can remember. She'd set us up at the kitchen table with watercolors or crayons and we'd just go to town for hours! I remember that new boxes of sharp crayons or pristine, unmuddied watercolor sets were the most exciting presents. I used to get so distressed when, in my haste, I'd muddied up a once bright yellow pan of watercolor. Mom would always swoop in with a napkin and resuscitate my sunny friend. I suppose that this early training predisposed me to a love of colorful things.

Now I know that color exists in America, but the "adult" and the "professional" and the normal rhythm of our society lean toward quiet, somber, dignified colors. The next time you're in a crowd - look around - most outfits are composed of dark blues, greys, blacks, white, beige, khaki and forest and olive greens with the occasional red accent thrown in. Take a look at all those cars out on our roads - they paint the same picture. The next neighborhood you drive around - check out the house colors - equally drab. A culture of people who, by and large, play it safe and follow the rules and believe in protocol and proper conduct. Good news for personal safety, bad news for beauty.

The wonderful colors found everywhere in Mexican society are a natural extension of their whole cultural attitude of freedom and taking chances.

By contrast, in Mexico (not the only colorful country, but it's the one I know best,) color runs rampant. There are just as many pink or green houses as white ones. There are even houses painted all three of those colors! Color is everywhere, even the normally boring plastic housewares are a riot of pink, purple, orange, red, blue, yellow and green. I read somewhere that this flagrant use of color in Mexico started as a way of living closer to God. "Let go and let God," if you will. It's a letting go of control over your environment, an act of recognizing that existence is, ultimately, out of our hands. The wonderful colors found everywhere in Mexican society are a natural extension of their whole cultural attitude of freedom and taking chances.

In America "colorful" is at once marginalized and admired. When children say they want to grow up to be artists, parents try to steer them toward something more "respectable" with tales of the starving artist and of doing something with your life. (Thank goodness my parents aren't like that, because they would have been awfully disappointed!) People in really colorful outfits are seen as eccentric at best, freaks at worst. While at the same time, works of art are bought for millions of dollars and people lament their inability to be artistic (as if it was the exclusive dominion of a few gifted souls.)

In America "colorful" is at once marginalized and admired.

Boy am I glad I married someone from Mexico so I could be closer to such a colorful culture. I need color like other people need T.V. or heroin. Funny thing is that my Mexican husband is actually quite fond of subdued colors for big things like walls and vehicles and for his own outfits.  It is his American wife who is always sprinkling the house with orange afghans and lime-green pillows and pinning magenta silk flowers to his nice, brown, deer head. Poor guy.

How do you all feel about the cultural color divide? Am I completely off my rocker, do you think that America is plenty colorful (thankyouverymuch)? I don't mean to say that America is devoid of color or lovers of color. I'm simply suggesting that the whole of our society tends to lean toward a more homogenous and safe color pallette. Tell me what you think, leave a comment ;)

Images by Jenny Hoople.

November 19 2010


Color Red - Hung Liu - Rhubarb Tart

We're fortunate to have guest authors Megan Fizell & Cassandra Edlefsen share their collaborative colour series here on COLOURlovers. Their monthly colour project considers select artworks featuring one predominant colour within the context of the pigment’s history and in relation to natural edible form. Read more about the project at the bottom of this post. You can find the original articles on Feasting on Art. The one below is located here.

Hung Liu’s artistic production is a process of recollection – a symbolic excavation.  Having weathered the re-education of artists vis-a-vis Mao’s Cultural Revolution and immigration to the U.S. in 1984, Hung Liu’s influences are richly transcultural.  She is known as one of the very first Chinese artists to study within the U.S. and has since received numerous accolades for her dynamic work.  Starting from anonymous photographs (often of unnamed Chinese prostitutes), Liu’s portrayals pair elements of tradition with contemporary critique.  Vividly, her use of colour challenges her audiences’ emotive links to colour.  In an interview she gave in 1995, Hung Liu refers to her vibrant use of colour, particularly red: “Red is an alarming color. We use red lights to warn people; to tell about danger and to use caution.  In China, red is the color of the national flag. It is also the color of revolution; it suggests blood. Red also is used for celebration; it is festive and is used for such things as weddings, the Chinese New Year, and red banners. I like to work with layers of meaning.” (1)

Hung Liu, Yang, 2008

Quite literally layered, Yang, 2008, features a print of a prior work embedded in cast resin and superimposed with Liu’s signature use of historical Chinese motifs (here cherry blossoms) and thinned pigment dripped across the surface.  Liu’s repetition of the dominant red background in the red of the woman’s crowning flowers and more intensely in her set lips, draws on the colour’s innumerable associations.  Pairing a recipe to this painting requires a taste both strong and lingering – a rhubarb tart tinged with the spice of ginger and cayenne.  Like the wavering paint drips, the straight lines of the recipe’s fresh rhubarb stalks melt into stringy red and pink ribbons.  The bittersweet nature of the rhubarb paired with the delicately burnt molasses and speckled sesame seed crust recalls her subject’s strength of character and altogether tragic displacement in time – an otherwise lost history uncovered and commemorated by Hung Liu.

In parallel to Liu’s use of skills steeped in traditional technique and her constant reintroduction of layered meaning to her work, the classic rhubarb tart is brought full circle to its own origins.  The rhubarb pie of Western origin meets the plant’s Chinese heritage in its combination with a sesame and buckwheat crust.  Stemming from the buckwheat family, rhubarb has been used for centuries as a medicinal plant to cure a wide variety of ailments.  It is this curative quality that perhaps best links the recipe with this work as it compliments Hung Liu’s desire to create memorial sites for lost memories – both celebrating and mourning their subject.

{Rhubarb Tart with Burnt Molasses & Sesame Seed Shells}

Burnt molasses and sesame seed shells:

2 tst butter
1 cup sesame seeds
2/3 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup buckwheat flakes
1/2 cup molasses
1 tsp cayenne

Click to See the Full Recipe

Tags: Art Food Guest News

June 02 2010


Artist-Inspired Palettes With Etsy

Margot Harrington, a.k.a. CheekyMonkey82, is a freelance graphic designer, the editor of COLOURlovers' Print Channel, an art junkie, and all-around collaborator captivated by all forms of making and doing. She documents art and design on the Internet at Pitch Design Union and Mint Design Blog.

Photo by chrispiascik and COLOURlovers

Of all the glorious sundries available on Etsy, interestingly enough, it's not the first place I normally look when I'm in the mood for art and design, or prints and posters. Any artist I tend to find on Etsy is usually referred from another source, typically from one of the many design blogs I frequent when I'm on the hunt some inspiration for my own work and blog. That's not to say that there aren't fantastic gems to be had; there's everything from handmade zines, screenprints, bound books, prints, and letterpress goodies galore. I've picked out my newer favorite finds and a handful of loves that I've been eyeballing for some time. I also put together a few color palettes based off some of the work, feel free to wander over to COLOURlovers and use them in your own work!

Artwork by essimar

I've been a big fan of the dreamy vibe in essimar's work for a long time, and I just love the particular color palette she employs. Her work is mostly small prints and cards, either screenprinted, collaged or both. Also check out her blog for new work and Flickr for even more product and in-process photos.

Artwork by alyoisiusspyker

Lovely rainbow-hued screenprints are by alyoisisspyker, though I'm partial to these geometric ones and would love to have them in my house. There are still few left of each, snap those babies up!

Artwork by chrispiascik

All acid-pop fun, illustrator Chris Piascik's hand-lettering is incredibly clever and detailed. See more of his work at

Artwork by slidesideways

Slide Sideways is made up of screenprinters Jaqui and Scott and they are no strangers to Etsy. Their work is adorable and irreverent, but not too cutesy. I especially like how they've managed to extend their printing talents to pouches, journal and pillows.

Artwork by leahduncan

Leah Duncan is the brains behind these brilliant illustrations, which have are a unique feel that's both modern and folksy. Super hot colors too! Loves.

Mok Duk is Anne Benjamin: illustrator, screenprinter, and letterpress maven. She does tons of amazing letterpress wedding invitations too. See more of her work at

Artwork by rarrarpress

Typophiles rejoice with the sassy prints by Reba Rakstad of Rar Rar Press. Posters, buttons, small notebooks, cards, and T-shirts are all hand typeset and letterpressed. Reba also has a blog and helps run Chicago-based No Coast, which is a multi-use art space and studio focused on printmaking, and book art and fiber arts.

This is reposted from Etsy's blog, see the original post here.

March 22 2010


Etsy's Inspirational Palettes: Spectrums of Green

The wonderful Etsy team invited our Fashion Editor, Lindsey to  pick out some of her favorite greens on Etsy right now. See the original in the Etsy blog.

Lindsey Baker, a.k.a. heroinepretend (name is from a Belle & Sebastian song!), is the editor of COLOURlovers' Fashion Channel and a style columnist for Omaha, Nebraska's alternative newsweekly Shout!, among other writerly things. Visit her at COLOURlovers.

Colloquially, the word "green" is as complex as the color can be itself: it represents envy and the healthy-heart chakra alike, acidic and sweet by turns, inexperience and growth simultaneously. If it can be boiled down to any one thing, perhaps green would be, simply, life. And maybe that's why we yearn for it every spring, revel in it all summer, and bring it inside when the seasons change. A constant reminder of freshness and serenity, green offers us an instant connection to our natural environment — undoubtedly why it's the token color of the eco-friendly movement.

With three green-hued color palettes from COLOURlovers as inspiration, these Etsy picks reflect just a handful of the moods the colors evoke.

"Jet Screamer"



Every time I look at "jet screamer," I'm reminded of the early-morning sky in an old, faded photograph. I can imagine a whole morning routine: a refreshing shower with Hartleysoap's Bamboo Zen Soap, a pretty vintage dress paired with LavenderField's sweet-and-tough Crochet Statement Necklace and a cup of hot tea — green, of course — in one of the seafoam-colored mugs from prettyfarmprimitive's Vintage Cup Set.

"Green Thumb"



As a not-so-proud owner of a brown thumb, I'm hopeful that one day I'll be able to coax all the bright colors of "green thumb" from the dirt: the perfect leaves of jenniferladd's Clutch Purse, the tart fruit that inspired QueenHeronCreations' Cozy Cowl Neckwarmer and the pretty whorl of melbry's palette petals (shown in lagoon green lime).

"Forest Walk"



"Forest Walk" celebrates green's rich earthiness: all the varied shades that make densely wooded areas seem so deep and layered. I want to bring that mystery inside and still be grounded by it outside, whether with kateszabone's organically rendered Gemstone Bangles, lizzyhouse's whimsical "Embedded" Art Print, or Thrush's Patent Forest Green Oxford Pumps, the natural green solution for city girls.

Shop Green On Etsy | More Colorful Articles On Etsy

February 17 2010


1stwebdesigner Evolution – Exciting Changes You Simply Cannot Defy

Title-1st-evolution-community-postHello my dear 1stwebdesigner loyal readers, new visitors, all who enjoy whatever a hell I am trying to do here!! I’ve been promising for a long time, I will create such posts in newsletter format and I definitely will, but now 1stwebdesigner also got into big storm of changes.

So what has been changing? Maybe you noticed I haven’t posted anything for 2 weeks and there are many new and promising guest writers in our blog? To be exact now we are trying to manage like 20–30 guest authors, teach them, discuss details and finally create some kind of automated way how to submit, review and publish articles in meantime not loosing article quality.

Fresh Article Each Day – Growing Seriously!

Why we are trying so hard to deliver 1 article/day, not to stick with old good high quality post every 3–4 days? Because of you, guys! We want to stand out, we need something unique, something different from thousands of design blogs. It’s been a while since you cannot stand out just by writing good stuff or giving away freebies, tutorials – now you need to get strong attention using social network in smart way and I consider it to be my strongest side – definitely not an easy task. Only I am worried now, it will be much harder to keep high and even grow higher article quality, but we all are working very hard, it cannot hurt!

Also we want to change 1stwebdesigner site article structure – we don’t want them to be just neverending lists, everybody is capable of writing without little knowledge. We want to bring value – teach you how to do things, give away freebies, not include top 100 but just top 10 and explaind why we included each of those picks and how you could choose which to use by yourself. We have vision we are trying to make and for now it repaid us as 20% traffic and income growth in January.


Why I am not writing to 1stwebdesigner for some time – just guest authors?

Oh, you cannot imagine how much time it takes to talk with every guest author, manage articles daily in the meantime not forgeting about monetizing, marketing and social networking to keep finding new traffic sources. It has been hard time, but soon we will be able to manage and find good system how to review and schedule articles.

And also there are several huge pros with guest writers – I have been writing here alone for a long time, I am learning together with you guys, but I think it’s not enough. Each guest writer has his own unique experience, opinion, way of thinking and interesting idea what to teach you – you cannot miss this important aspect!

Official Thanks To New Guest Authors


Oh, yes – running, running, managing, asking for new articles all the time, but really nothing of this would be possible without you guys!

  • Anastasia Miles
  • Andy Walpole
  • Ayaz Malik
  • Cosmin Lupsan
  • Cyrus Patten
  • Daniels Mekšs
  • Gustavs Jurisons
  • Kannan Sanjeevan
  • Mark Thompson
  • Mahmoud Deiab
  • Omar Corrales
  • Peteris Kelle
  • Poonam Agarwal
  • Saad Bassi
  • Srikanth AD
  • Tom Walker
  • Yanuar Prisantoso

…and many more smart and promising guest writers coming up! Thank to you all for spending time and your knowledge to make 1stwebdesigner better source for all designers! All I want to ask is – don’t lose trust in us, keep working, keep coming back – for me it’s a great feeling to stick in community, feel appreciated,

Our new, helpful 1stwebdesigner team

Why I am saying all the time we, not just me anymore?

For two months already we are working from office, 1stwebdesigner is not some underground blog now – it’s been growing up. I am working there with Maris Dagis, founder of and, he has already 3–4 years experience in this field and we are brainstorming new ideas, great solutions and ways how to create our blogs better daily.


Also we have Ligita Klūga, invisible, but very necessary and helpful face in our blog – she is working on article promotion and some automatized ways how to evolve our social networking.

And Finally I need to inform you about biggest changes we’ve got!

New Co-Editor Saad Bassi

We have new co-editor, great guy Saad Bassi from, I don’t know what could I do without him by now. We are now both officially managing guest author e-mails, do article reviewing and now we are working on new Guest Writers Guide to teach how to write good posts for 1stwebdesigner.


In future I hope he will be able to manage it alone and I will focus more then to social networking, marketing where I feel the most confident. It will give you back many more giveaways, interesting contests, hopefully some weekly events as well and much much more!


By the way soon I will announce our Deviantart group too, we try there to build community, get friendly designer from Deviantart to get some interviews, tutorials, great – neverending inspiration and maybe even some freebies!


Now we are just started, categorizing everything, submitting, searching for group editors – if you are good designer and you have good taste, I would suggest for you to leave comment here and start to join into community by editing, accepting,declining and searching for fresh, new and unique designs all over Deviantart world!

This is just short intro, don’t worry when we will go live with it, I will inform you in details, why I think we need this group, what good it will do for our community and actually where it will lead 1stwebdesigner site.

If you have any suggestions how to improve our group, I would be glad to hear from you!

Inner Insight - 1stwebdesigner Deviantart Group

Oh well, there are several new projects coming up collaborating with Maris Dagis, but those I will keep in secret for now until release date!

Related posts:

  1. New Things Happening At 1stwebdesigner Website
  2. Getting Back To You & IconShocks Cartoon & Christmas
  3. Guest Authors, Poll And Partnership With IconShock
  4. The First Month Of 1stwebdesigner

December 28 2009


Where To Find Free Colorful Yarn Patterns Online

Suzane Smith sent over the ink to her post 25 Best Places to Find Knitting Patterns Online to share with the community, and we're glad she did. If you like to nod your head to the knitting beat then you might want to check it out. And even if you're a non-knitter there is plenty of color inspiration to be found in the yarns and patterns on these sites.

Below is a selection of sites and descriptions picked from her list. You can see the complete list and reviews here.

Few online communities are as welcoming and open to beginners as those devoted to the ancient craft of knitting. In order to promote an appreciation and love of the utilitarian art, they provide thousands of free patterns for personal, charitable, and occasionally commercial use. Ranging in skill level from the very basic to the masterful, they all provide an excellent service for those seeking to personally craft their own wardrobe and home, give a highly personal gift, or donate to a beloved charity.


Ravely easily exists as the most bustling knitting community on the internet, where hobbyists and professionals alike gather to share their projects and experiences, show off their yarn stash, and – of course – post knitting and crochet patterns. Every skill level of every possible project imaginable can be found on the 500 pages dedicated solely to completely free instructions. Even more are available directly from the designers for a fee. Smaller special interest groups have sprung up within the larger site as well, making it even easier to look for patterns conforming to highly specific needs and interests.

Plenty of color inspiration even for non-knitters, as you can see from the winners of Ravelry's Dye For Glory Competition.




Free Vintage Knitting

For knitters interested in selling their wares but weary about the copyright and legality issues associated with patterns, everything featured on Free Vintage Knitting has already passed into the public domain. They are free for commercial use and do not require royalties. As a result, however, all the available patterns are limited to much older fashions. Those seeking something more contemporary would not find much to satisfy their aesthetic.





A colorful, eclectic site, provides dozens of fun, quirky, and creative patterns, stitches, and color charts. Author Sarah Bradberry also hosts a helpful wiki for readers as well as a comprehensive list of charities in Australia who accept knitted and crocheted items for donation.



DROPS Design


Run by Garn Studios in Norway, DROPS boasts patterns in 10 different languages in addition to selling almost 30 unique varieties of yarn. Most of their featured designs draw their inspiration from diverse sources, though they most frequently blend sensual catwalk fashions with traditional Scandinavian motifs.



Craft Bits

Focusing more on a funky, quirky aesthetic, offers knitters and other creative types the ability to rate their patterns, leave comments, and even enter contests to win supplies. Aside from Ravelry, they seem to carry to best selection of knitted novelties and amigurumi toys, mostly involving some sort of food or treat.



Lion Brand

One of the most trusted purveyors of reasonably priced yarns, Lion Brand offers over 2,000 free patterns featuring their respected products. Their highly specific search criteria allow users to find projects based on skill level, yarn type, and what they are interested in making. Some designs can only be accessed with a free membership.




A free online magazine devoted solely to knitting, patterns sit nestled alongside tips, tricks, and stories. They can be found either by type or by columnist and cover a wide variety of personal styles, from understated classic cardigans to flashy and fun rockabilly skirts. All patterns are ranked with a quirky system lining difficulty levels up with a corresponding degree of spiciness.




Tags: News Guides Guest

December 24 2009


Christmas Color Legends

This is a guest post by Speakin_Colors.

The Robin Redbreast

Among the many animals associated with Christmas, there is one which features extensively on cards, wrapping paper, cake decorations and crackers: the Robin Redbreast. The robin appears in many Christmas motifs even though it is extremely rare to see a robin at Christmastime since it is not precisely a winter animal. So why is it so popular? The answer lies in its red breast:


”The robin has become strongly associated with Christmas, taking a starring role on many a Christmas card since the mid-19th century. The Robin has also appeared on many Christmas postage stamps. An old British folk tale seeks to explain the Robin's distinctive breast. Legend has it that when Jesus was dying on the cross, the Robin, then simply brown in colour, flew to his side and sang into his ear in order to comfort him in his pain. The blood from his wounds stained the Robin's breast, and thereafter all Robins got the mark of Christ's blood upon them. An alternate legend has it that its breast was scorched fetching water for souls in Purgatory. The association with Christmas, however, more probably arises from the fact that postmen in Victorian Britain wore red uniforms and were nicknamed "Robin"; the Robin featured on the Christmas card is an emblem of the postman delivering the card”. - wikipedia

Christmas greeting cards originated in Victorian England, that is why it is not surprising that the robin became one of the most popular Christmas motifs then. There was a time, however, in which the robin's association with Christmas proved to be positively dangerous. As Victorian tastes grew more extravagant, robins were even killed to decorate cards with real feathers. Robin feathers are still used nowadays to decorate Christmas cards but they are made of artificial materials.

Pink Panties for Christmas

Foreigners visiting Argentina around Christmas time have the opportunity to witness a phenomenon that does not take place in other countries: pink panties flooding lingerie shop windows.

According to old family traditions, pink panties must be given to single women on Christmas Eve. As pink is the colour of romantic love, the gift is believed to bring good luck either to get a suitable husband or as a symbol of fertility. In some families, however, the tradition of giving pink panties extends to all the female members, regardless their age or marital status.


There are different opinions as to the proper time to wear the panties for the first time: some women wear them on Christmas Day, some others wait until New Year’s Day.

There are numerous theories to explain why the panties must be pink. The commonplace belief is that pink is the right colour to keep evil away since pink is a mixture of red (traditionally, the colour of the devil) and white (the colour of God). It is also thought that wearing new clean clothes is a powerful cleansing ritual.

Christmas is an event of utmost significance for Christianity and pink is widely used in the Catholic church. Pink candles are lighted in the Christian season of Advent (the liturgical period preceding Christmas) to symbolize the joy for the coming of Christ.

Leaving spiritual reasons aside, the truth is that every Christmas lingerie shop owners rub their hands in anticipation of the annual shopping bonanza. Sales of pink panties (from audacious bikinis to more prudish romantic designs, from lace and silk to the unprententious cotton) increase amazingly all through December.

One more thing about this Christmas custom is that pink panties are given from woman to woman: traditionally it is the grandmothers, mothers or aunts who give them to the younger members of the family. No woman would ever think it possible to receive such a gift from a man!

Christmas Colours: The Poinsettia Legend

The poinsettia is not only a beautiful plant but also a very mysterious one. Its flaming red “flowers” are not such but modified leaves which change their colour when exposed to sunlight.

The plant is wholly green in its youth but its upper leaves gradually begin to turn red as they grow in the sunlight of a warm climate.


The deep red colour of the plant has long been associated with Christ’s blood and has given rise to numerous speculations and explanatory legends:
“The plant's association with Christmas began in 16th century Mexico, where legend tells of a young girl who was too poor to provide a gift for the celebration of Jesus' birthday. The tale goes that the child was inspired by an angel to gather weeds from the roadside and place them in front of the church altar. Crimson "blossoms" sprouted from the weeds and became beautiful poinsettias. From the 17th century, Franciscan friars in Mexico included the plants in their Christmas celebrations.”

There is another misconception about the name of the plant. Many people believe the poinsettia is highly toxic since its name has a connection with “poison”. Very few people know, however, that the plant owes its name to Joel Roberts Poinsett, the first United States Minister to Mexico who introduced it into the US in 1828.

Did you know?

National Poinsettia Day is celebrated on December 12th in the United States. The day was named in honour of Joel Poinsett who died on this day in 1851.

December 22 2009


December 11 2009


Colorful Video Roundup

Here's a colorful roundup of videos found and described by the color lovin' blog, shape+color (Happy 2 Years!) which has always been a reliable and sharp source for inspiring content.

Acid Washed by Anthony Burrill

Some vintage-tinged graphics from U.K. designer Anthony Burrill.

Press + by Benjamin Ducroz

Grainy, twitchy, glitchy, water-coloury, brown-papery goodness from Benjamin Ducroz’s abstract animation “PRESS +.”

Dream Focus by Adam Joy

An exploration into the connection between colour, memory, emotion, and imagination.

“DreamF Focus” is part of an on-going visual investigation into dreams by Adam Joy:

“Color is as much a symbol as is the imagery in a dream. Color appears to represent the emotional conditions that stimulated a dream or dream image. As with any other symbol, color combines with the imagery to form a more complete “meaning” for the dream image.”

Glass Pyrogrpahs by Estuko Ichikawa

To create her works, which she calls glass pyrographs, Tokyo-born, Seattle-based artist Etsuko Ichikawa trails streams of molten glass, Jackson Pollock-like, across paper.

The resulting tendrils of ash, lacy yet fire-scarred, are both jagged and flowing. Like lightning piercing a very dry forest, the organic reaction between fire, air, and earth is elemental. Cycles of existence tracing each other – both earth that grew wood to become paper and earth that was hewn into sand and then melted into glass. It’s a molecular home-coming; the lost long relatives of stone and arbour reunited, lifetimes later, evolved into higher states, through fire.

The resulting burnt etches, smoky (literally) and lithe, are described by Ichikawa as a “continuing investigation of what lies between the ephemeral and the eternal.”

Two Dots by Lusine & Britta Johnson

A magical video for Ghostly International artist Lusine’s “Two Dots.” Directed by Britta Johnson, it lives at the geometric intersection of mathematics and emotion. Where love and passion follow concisely laid out scientific laws and there’s a theorum to neatly explain the trajectory of desire.

Tags: News Art Guest
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