E L James’ enlightening and possibly liberating novel, Fifty Shades of Grey, extolling the virtues or otherwise of entrepreneur Christian Grey, was a best-seller back in 2012. In this post, our new guest author for 2020, Gerald Dubarts, explores the insignificance of fifty shades of simply any colour, tint or hue in the context of an average day at the office for a professional graphic designer.
Parody: humorous exaggerated imitation or commercial enticement…
There was never any doubt that E L James’ multi-million-copy bestseller and worldwide phenomenon was likely to be parodied. The very title lends itself well to mimicry and to its myriad of readers, closet readers and probably even non-readers the underlying connotations readily arouse interest in any remotely similar combination of words. This opportunity was clearly not one to be missed by publishers and broadcasters. Hot on the heels of the original came C T Grey’s Fifty Sheds of Grey reliving the moment his wife read THAT book leading subsequently to the greatest love story of all: the love between a man and his shed. A humorous parody of James’ novel packed to the rafters with double entendres! In contrast, fast-forward to recent times and Alan Titchmarsh, arguable Britain’s favourite TV gardener and pillar of respectability, in the space of just one hour whizzed through his fifty favourite green bits of gardens in a programme entitled Fifty Shades of Green. A purposely teasing title but no funny business, no blindfolds and certainly no Sheds and Mowers! Even the latest Dulux colour guide picks up on the fifty shades theme and begs the question: “How do I choose the correct shade of grey”?
For graphic designers THAT book is the PMS Colour Guide…
Visit the studio of any self-respecting graphic designer and one of the non-screen-based tools of the trade readily to hand is the Pantone Matching System (PMS) colour guide, the international colour language that is used for design, print, packaging and other industries where reliable colour communication is required. With over 1850 colour choices at the last count, the Pantone Colour Institute announces their colour of the forthcoming year around Christmas time – for 2019 it was named as Living Coral a life-affirming coral hue with a golden undertone – for 2020 a rather less erotic Classic Blue a shade reminiscent of the sky at dusk!
The guide is a tactile fan-like thing of inestimable and unending beauty and a joy to fondle with were there no other constraints on a designer’s time. Such is the accuracy and reproduction quality of each colour swatch its costly replacement, to avoid any colour degradation due to light and handling, is recommended on an annual basis! Here’s the rub then: skip through to the greys and greens only to find a cursory choice of around a 100 of each colour – include solids, pastels, tints and metallics the choice is ramped up and doubled yet again when coated (gloss) and uncoated (matt) samples of each colour are counted in. If anything the greens comfortably outstrip the greys. If only there was fifty of each!
Follow in our footsteps: Be Inspired!
Visitors to DSD’s Chelmsford studio very soon become aware that green is our favourite colour. Portraying growth, productivity and renewal, the origins of this choice date back to 31 August 2009, some two months before DSD was founded, when the inspiration for our brand colours came over a relaxing and convivial bottle of Magners Pear Cider. Not the contents but the colour gradation between two shades of green on the bottle’s neck foil! With the help of our trusty Pantone Guide we settled for the darker shade of Pantone 350 (46%blue, 27% yellow and black) gradating to the paler shade of Pantone 382 (94%yellow, 6%blue), a combination which has been rigorously policed over the past ten years! Such is our passion for consistency that DSD provides its clients with a Brand Guidelines document for ease of execution and consistency in producing and policing the applications of their new brand; much as you would expect from a premier branding agency!
Our workplace provides stimulation for fresh ideas and serious fun…
In the calmer atmosphere of our newly-opened design lounge there are still some zingy bits of green, but the predominant colour is grey – certainly not fifty shades, but enough to satisfy our passion for creating an environment to discuss new briefs, reveal branding options and work through project updates. It’s not a novel idea by any stretch of the imagination, but clients both existing and new are assured of warm, friendly and professional surroundings in which to discuss their graphic design needs and ultimately emerge with a fabulously desirable and effective brand. Along the way we’ll help you choose from fifty shades of any colour under the sun to suit and promote your line of business.
Maybe it’s time to put THAT book down – whatever the genre – and instead start a new chapter in your business’s or organisation’s history? If you would like Dan to personally create or refresh your brand give him a call right now on 01245 465324.
Follow this link to our blog post to see why colour choice is so important: