Pantone reveals 336 new colors!

Via Design Taxi
Just when you thought that there were no new colors in the world, Pantone releases 336 new colors! This new set is mostly pure pastels and modest mid-tones, but they are all now permanent members of the Pantone Plus Series which now comes to 1,667 colors.
For many readers Pantone’s brand name will be very familiar, but you may not know why there are so popular with designers. Pantone developed a color matching system that allows for color consistency across platforms, with the goal of maintaining color from screen to print and back. It allows designers to gain control across projects and ink manufacturers and printers to reproduce that same color over and over without variations. Industry wide standardization is key to that consistency.
 Also Pantone allows for a wider color selection. Some of Pantone’s colors can be reproduced with CMKY printing, these are called process colors. But many of these specialty colors must be printed using a special 15 ink process, these are called spot colors. These spot colors greatly increase the choices designers have about how their work will be printed. Pantone even allows for the use of metallic and florescent inks!
Pantone Metallic Chips
We do not  rely upon  the Pantone system for our architectural projects, but one can not deny their influence in the marketplace.   New colors give us new inspirations!

– Emily Eifler, Writer, Colour Studio
– Jill Pilaroscia, Principal, Colour Studio

Whats in a red?

When color makes the news we get excited and last week we heard about the battle over Starbucks choice of food colorant.  But what is all the fuss? Isn’t red just red?
The Starbucks smoothie in question
As reported by NPR “Vegetarians and others who’d rather not eat insects protested when they found out the company colors certain food and drinks with cochineal, the red “juice” a tiny white bug called Dactylopius coccus exudes when crushed.” Due to the protests of this community,  Starbucks says the drink will be bug-free. 

Cliff Burrows, President of Starbucks, wrote on Starbucks blog.

“Our expectation is to be fully transitioned to lycopene, a natural, tomato-based extract, which is used in our Strawberries & Crème Frappuccino® blended beverage and our Strawberry Banana Smoothie. This transition will occur over time as we finalize revisions and manage production. Our intention is to be fully transitioned from existing product inventories to revised food and beverage offerings near the end of June across the U.S.”

Lycopene: Starbucks new red via Wikimedia
But what is cochineal exactly? After all, even though some find the idea of eatting bugs unappetizing, cochineal extract is FDA approved and considered an all natural alternative to petroleum based Allura or #40 red food dye. 
The western aversion to eating bugs is far more recent historically that the use of these insects as a dye product. Cochineal live on cactus primarily in Central America. They have been used as clothing dyes for century’s. Below we see an illustration of an “Indian Collecting Cochineal with a Deer Tail” by José Antonio de Alzate y Ramírez (1777).

Cochineal Farming Illustration via Wikimedia

 Wikipedia describes a bit of the history here:

“Cochineal dye was used by the Aztec and Maya peoples of Central and North America. Eleven cities conquered by Moctezuma in the 15th century paid a yearly tribute of 2000 decorated cotton blankets and 40 bags of cochineal dye each.  During the colonial period the production of cochineal (grana fina) grew rapidly. Produced almost exclusively in Oaxaca by indigenous producers, cochineal became Mexico’s second most valued export after silver.”

Hand grinding Cochinal dye powder via The Dirt Doctor

What do you think? Should these bright red bugs be left to dying clothing and cosmetics or are you willing to eat a bug or two for a richly red visual experience?

– Emily Eifler, Writer, Colour Studio
– Jill Pilaroscia, Principal, Colour Studio