Archive for February, 2010

ColorCulturePic8GREEN

Green generally has positive connotations, being the color of nature, balance, health and growth. It also has a negative association with illness, when there’s a loss of a healthy glow of one’s skin color, they are said to be “turning green”.  There are numerous green phrases; “green with envy” is associated with jealously and envy and referring to someone as “green” to denote a lack of experience and being a novice. Green is commonly associated with money, the financial world, banking, and Wall Street.  Being the opposite of red, green often represents safety and is the color of free passage in road traffic. It is Mother Nature’s most versatile color; weather supporting more vibrant hues or by standing alone, green balances most colors.

In Christian tradition, green is the color of new life and is associated with baptism and the feast of the Eucharist.

In English tradition, “Lincoln Green” (similar to Nippon Paint, Climbing Vine102A) has a heroic meaning, in connection to Robin Hood, who robbed from the rich and gave to the poor.

MEANING WITHIN CULTURES

Japan – Influenced by nature, soft jade greens are prized. It’s often used as an accent color for clothing and décor.  Clear, highly saturated greens are used for graphics and signage. The Zen monastery, which has the second lowest ranking, wears a green kesa.

Asian Pacific Rim (China, Hong Kong & Taiwan) – Green symbolizes wood and represents positive connotations of crops and spring. It is the color of birth and young children. In the Forbidden City, the green roof tiles cover the wing where the young princes reside. Green is also associated with jade, recalling its beauty and prized gem. In Chinese tradition, to dream in green is a sign that good fortune is on its way. However, if the color pervades the entire dream, it signifies that he is subject to dangerous forces and will find himself in great peril. If someone wears a green hat, it denotes that they are married to an unfaithful person.FengShuiPic1

Malaysia & Singapore – Green designates one’s relationship with Islam. In Muslim tradition, green signifies the Prophet Muhammad and therefore represents the entire religion. Being Islam’s sacred color, green is reserved as a special sign of respect and worship.

India – Since India is primarily a dry and arid clement, green has mostly positive associations as in vegetation and crops.

North America (United States & Canada) – Green is associated with environmental issues, nature and money. In relationship to food, green implies freshness and health. Vibrant green is preferred by the younger population, while dark green is considered a masculine color. Although changing, “Instructional Green” (similar to Nippon Paint Tumbling Water, ow8 2P) has become the unofficial color of public schools, hospitals, post offices, and underfunded municipal agencies.

BLUE

Water, sky, loyalty, trust, sadness, purity and tranquility come in the color blue. Like other colors, blue is ambiguous and mysterious; it represents sadness and melancholy. There are hundreds of sad songs with blue in the title, such as John Lennon’s “Out the Blue” and Elton John’s “Blue Eyes”.  In Pablo Picasso’s “blue period”, his paintings depicted the seedy side of Persian life of sadness and poverty, a direct reflection of Picasso’s personal life.

In the world’s languages, the word for blue came long after the words for black, white, red, green and yellow. This is a surprising fact, since blue is visible nearly everywhere. In Homer’s epics, there are several references to water and sky, as in “the wine dark sea”; however, the color blue is not mentioned.  Also, the Bible has hundreds of references to the sky and heaven, but the word blue never appears.

In Christian tradition, the Madonna is typically clothed in blue, symbolizing fidelity. In Hopi American Indian tradition, blue is linked to the west and the home of the dead. It’s considered a bad omen to see the Great Spirit holding a blue prayer feather in dreams.

MEANING WITHIN CULTURES

Japan – Blue comes in three strengths: deep, medium and washed out. Like other parts of Asia and the West, blue clothing is associated with “blue collar” workers.  Blue jeans, however, are worn by practically everyone.

ColorCulturePic9Asian Pacific Rim (China, Hong Kong & Taiwan) – Blue has positive associations, symbolizing sky and water and commonly used in decorative items. In Chinese tradition, there is no significant spiritual or mystical connection to blue. Blue jeans are considered to be casual dress regardless of social status, although manual laborers have traditionally worn pale blue clothing.

South Korea – Dark blue symbolizes mourning. According to Korean tradition, blue symbolizes the guilty excluded from paradise at the Last Judgment. Minor court officials of the Yi dynasty wore dark blue. Their uniforms were typically decorated with embroidery of tigers or storks.

Indonesia – Blue is associated with sadness. Indigo dye is readily available on the island of Java and is the oldest known background color for batiks and woven fabrics.

India – Krishna’s skin is blue, causing the hue to be treasured. It symbolizes the heavens, truth, mercy, love, and the mysterious nature of truth. Hinduism teaches that truth is hidden in mystery. The darker the color means the deeper the mystery and possibly the more difficulty in revealing the truth. Blue mostly has positive meaning; however, darker values have negative associations.

North America (United States & Canada) – Blue is the favorite color in the US and Canada. It represents quality, durability, and authority; police and military uniforms are generally blue. It’s commonly used for a company’s color branding to convey their reliability and trustworthiness, hence the phrase “true blue.”  A dark blue suit is the ultimate business uniform.

By: Denise Turner – www.colorturners.com

YELLOW ColorCulturePic6

Yellow, the color of sunshine, creativity, and optimism, is the most ambiguous color. It’s associated with disgrace, deceit, betrayal, and cowardice. Yellow is the most visible of all colors, used in caution signs to get our attention; we intuitively know to steer clear of yellow and black objects. In fact, Mother Nature created some of the world’s most dangerous creatures in this color scheme to warn us, such as Bumble Bees, Poisonous Yellow Dart Frogs, Gila Monsters and Yellow Jackets.

MEANING WITHIN CULTURES

Japan – Happiness, flowers and sunshine are linked with yellow, having no negative associations. For this, yellow is a popular accent color for home décor and clothing. It’s worn by the Zen monasteries’ third most senior abbot. Other shades of yellow are significant in Japan as well:

  • BRONZE – Bronze symbolizes durability and is an earthly color. In contrast to the highly embellished gold Buddha’s throughout Southeast Asia, the Japanese Buddha is understated in bronze
  • GOLD – Although gold is honored for its beauty and monetary value, it is primarily used for decorative items. Running parallel to Japanese modesty, it’s considered tasteless to lavishly display gold. It was a punishable offense, during the 18th century, to publically display one’s wealth or boast about it

Asian Pacific Rim (China, Hong Kong & Taiwan) – Yellow holds considerable importance throughout Asia. It occupies a place of honor and is associated with happiness, the gods and power.  According to legend, yellow became the symbol for the earth, as the soil of Northern China has a yellow hue. Beginning in the sixth century B.C., yellow became the color of honor and was reserved for emperor and high priests. As with Japan, gold has a noteworthy connotation:

  • GOLD – Symbolizing wealth, prestige and status, it is primarily used on decorative objects. Unlike the west, a lavish display of gold is viewed as ostentatious. Often it is used on lettering for business cards as gold lettering on a red background is the ultimate prosperity color scheme.

Malaysia & Singapore – Yellow is Malaysia’s royal color and is a mark of respect for the Malay sultans. It also represents Islam, the country’s official religion.   

Thailand – Buddhist monks, in saffron colored robes are a common sight in Thailand. Gold is a prominent aspect of Thai culture and decorative arts. It is used on practically everything, the spires on Buddhist temples, on the neck rings of Karen tribe’s women, the grill work in temples and woven into the brocade of ceremonial Thai costumes.

South Korea – Joy and happiness in South Korea comes in yellow. If someone is engaged to be married, they wear a traditional yellow straw hat.

Detail of  Wat Phra Kaew, BangkokIndonesia – Yellow is the color of Indonesia’s national symbol, Garuda, a mythical golden bird.  Gold is valued more for its decorative beauty than its monetary value.

India – Yellow symbolizes Vaisya of the merchant cast, as well as the sun and all its powers. At spring festivals, Indians wear yellow clothing and eat yellow food. They sprinkle yellow turmeric powder over statues of gods associated with the holiday.  In Indian tradition, yellow is associated with marriage (as indicated by the expression “to yellow the hands”) and marital happiness.  Before the wedding, the couple smears turmeric pigment extract on their skin, which is believed to bring them good luck, health, wealth and many children; single women and widows come to touch the turmeric-colored newlyweds for good luck.

North America (United States & Canada) – Unlike Asia, yellow doesn’t hold a significant religious value in the US and Canada. However, it is considered to be a happy color, implicating welcome, warmth and the sun. In the US, yellow is the color of caution. Warning signs, school buses and fire trucks are painted in OSHA Yellow (similar to Nippon Paint, Meadow Daisy 251A). It is also a common color for proactive water proof coatings and marine equipment and commonly associated with affordability and fast food restaurants.

  • GOLD – Americans and Canadians prefer to see their gold neatly stacked in bank vaults. It is used in some architecture, mostly in cathedrals. When used for personal adornment, it is worn sparingly; excessive use of gold, like plated teeth and large jewelry, is viewed as poor taste and is associated with inner city gangsters.

YELLOW’S DOUBLE MEANINGS

In “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” by Frank Baum, the Yellow Brick Road was paved in bricks of gold; many aren’t aware that they symbolized the bitter congressional fight over the gold standard and tight money policies in the US in the early 1900s. Another example of yellow’s double meaning is gentlemen’s preference of blondes, although they may call those women “dumb blondes”.

By: Denise Turner – www.colorturners.com

PINK

Even though pink is made by mixing red and white, it doesn’t have red’s violent connotations. It generally symbolizes light moods and femininity.  ColorCulturePic4

 MEANING WITHIN CULTURES

Japan – Pink symbolizes femininity, spring and youth. Traditionally, pink has been the color of women’s under garments; it is believed that pink helped promote proper blood circulation to the reproductive organs, resulting in good health. Japan’s imperial flower, the pink peony, is associated with love, masculinity, prosperity.

 India – Pink is the color of celebration, hope and happiness. At the Ganesh festival, pink dust is tossed onto the spectators at the conclusion of the parade. Ganesh is the deity with an elephant’s head and is the God of good omens who is worshipped by most Hindus.

 North America (United States & Canada) – Although once considered to only be a color for babies and young girls, pink has gained a broad acceptance in all age groups and genders. Pink even worked its way into men’s wardrobes. Light pink is associated with innocence and femininity, while hot pink signals fun, frivolity and sensual behavior.

ORANGE

Orange combines the energy of red and the happiness of yellow; it’s adventurous and in your face. In Asia, orange carries a major symbolic meaning and is linked to Buddhism; whereas, western cultures have little symbolic meaning with the hue, although it’s often used as an identifying color for sport team uniforms. Interestingly enough, there is little mood or feeling connection with the color of orange. There are no phrases in the English language about feeling or being orange like other colors; being yellow (cowardly), seeing red (angry), feeling blue (sad) and thinking green (envy).

MEANING WITHIN CULTURES

Japan – Orange is the color of happiness. It is the color of the Buddhist monks’ robes, as is the case in several cultures.

ColorCulturePic5Asian Pacific Rim (China, Hong Kong & Taiwan) – Orange generally has positive associations as in love and happiness. Saffron has become quite synonymous with Buddhism. The Buddha clearly defined what garments and colors the monks could wear. He chose saffron because it displays humility and rejection of the outside world. He has also forbidden cretin colors, most notably the color indigo. Orange symbolizes happiness, plenitude and good health while peach represents immortality.

Malaysia & Singapore – For the Malaysian Buddhists, orange has the same symbolic as those in the Asian Pacific Rim.

India – Married women’s death shrouds are traditionally orange.

North America (United States & Canada) – Orange has positive associations such as sunsets, citrus, fall foliage, Halloween and Thanksgiving, America’s most important holiday. On the other hand, it can be associated with fast food restaurants, inexpensive items and prison convict’s uniforms. Most Americans and Canadians dislike pure orange, preferring more brown-based hues.

By: Denise Turner – www.colorturners.com

Colors throughout history have had deep-seated symbolic associations that feed into our response to art, clothing, nature, and the built environment. Some color’s meanings cross the boundaries of culture and language, representing a shared bank of memories that go back to our distant ancestors, while others are specific to cultures, locations and time.

ColorCulturePic1In ancient times, color was used to denote one’s status in society and only the wealthiest were able to afford the brightest and most beautiful colors. In China, yellow was the Imperial color; the doorway of the emperor’s palace called the “Yellow Door”. For the less esteemed members of society, they were restricted to using only drab colors. Fortunately, beautiful colors today are readily available for everyone.

It’s important to note that, while color experts, historians, and anthropologists generally agree on color’s broad meaning, there are many disagreements when it narrows down to specifics. This is primarily due to the fact that there are no hard-and-fast rules about color’s precise meaning. The fact is that every color has both negative and positive connotations surrounded by ambiguity, making it difficult to pin down scientific inquiry.  

Color is the magical threads that weave throughout every culture. Even though color meanings are vague and difficult to pin down, it doesn’t negate their importance. With that caveat, I have presented some of the opinions on the meanings of color symbolism, which have names in most world cultures. 

RED

Red is the color of blood, fire, heat, competition, emotion, life, optimism and passion; it is associated with energy, war, danger, virility, power, and determination as well as passion, desire, and love. It enhances our metabolism, increases respiration rate, and raises blood pressure.  Of all the colors, red has the greatest amount of symbolic meanings.  Red stops us in our tracks, which is why stop signs and emergency equipment are generally painted red. Nothing gets a man’s attention faster than a “lady in red.” 

 Red is the most violent and exhilarating color. Historically, it has been the color of war: Roman soldiers carried red battle flags and many nations clothed their soldiers in red tunics. It is also associated with the devil, who is often depicted with bright red skin or wearing red clothing.

 On the softer side, red is the color of love, used frequently on Valentine’s Day and worn for good luck by brides in China.  It remains the mark of honor throughout the world, displayed in such events as award ceremonies, when the red carpet is rolled out for celebrities and dignitaries.

 MEANING WITHIN CULTURESColorCulturePic2

 Japan – Red is Japan’s ever-present national color, symbolizing blood and passion. As with other Asian countries, to write one’s name in red ink means the end of the relationship.  Red is reserved for the second most Zen Buddhist abbot’s kesa (ceremonial robes). 

 Asian Pacific Rim (China, Hong Kong & Taiwan) – Red is the symbol of fire, summer, the south, good luck, joy, fertility and fortune. It is also associated Communist China and the southern region, where the revolution originated.  Packages wrapped in red are given on happy occasions and red envelopes containing money are traditional gifts for children on the Lunar New Years. Red is used mostly reserved for happy events, however obituaries are written in ink.

Malaysia & Singapore – Red is reserved for Malaysia’s national flower, the hibiscus.  It is an herbal medicinal that can heal fevers, headaches, skin disorders and more.

 Thailand – Approximately 95% of the Thai population is Buddhist. Yellow and red sashes are often draped on Buddha monks to indicate the state of nirvana.

 South Korea – As in other parts of Asia, red symbolizes good luck in South Korea. 

 Indonesia – To indicate that an individual is angry at someone, they will write a letter with red ink to reflect that anger. 

 India – Red is the color of Lakshami, the goddess of wealth and beauty. Indian brides wear red wedding gowns to symbolize the birth of a new phase of their life and fertility. 

 North America (United States & Canada) – Red is loud, dangerous, exciting and a powerful symbol of vibrancy and life. A man driving a red sports car displays the ultimate symbol of passion and sexiness; if he’s middle aged, it’s almost a guarantee that he’s going through a mid-life crisis. A red dress with matching heels and red lipstick, that’s all a woman needs to feel good.  In food, red is often used to indicate hot and or spicy food.  When it comes to apples, most Americans prefer red apples to green. Scarlet red is the color of the Canada’s flag, as well as the color of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Red is also in the US flag, as it is symbolic of Americans who lost their lives in battle.

The Navajo Indians in America could not obtain the true reds from any of the dyes available in the American South West deserts. So they performed the pain staking task of disassembling and unraveling the fibers of the beautifully red-dyed wool uniforms worn by the Spaniards. Once the fibers were unraveled, the Navajos rewove them into the prized garments for Chiefs.  

RED CREATION LEGENDS 

The earth was depicted as red in many ancient civilizations’ creation legends. This comes to no surprise since the most wide spread pigment on the earth’s surface is iron oxide, which changes to red when exposed to the air.  Red Rock Canyon, Nevada

 In Chinese tradition, the first man was molded from a cavity in a human space.  Gradually, the red clay carried by the rain filled up the space and the soil was brought to life by the heat of the sun’s rays.

 In Hebrew tradition, the first man was created from red clay. God named him Adam; in Hebrew, dom signifies “blood” and adama means “land of men”. In Latin, adamus translates into “man of red earth”.

In Polynesian tradition, the woman was the first living being on the earth; she was created out of the red sand from the island’s shores.

RED DOORS

For many countries, the painted red door is a significant symbol. In Feng Shui traditions, doors are painted red to attract positive chi (energy). The Chinese paint their door red in preparation of the Chinese New Year. This is believed to good luck and happiness to the home. In Ireland, they paint their doors red which is believed to ward off ghosts and evil spirits.   In Catholicism, the scarlet entry also has deep religious undertones; the red door represents the blood of Christ.

By: Denise Turner – www.colorturners.com

10 Tips to Recession Proof Your Business

Black belt businessThe current economic situation has knocked the wind out of our businesses. More than ever before, we need to stay focused and keep our guards up. By staying positive and being supportive allies to our associates and friends, together we will slay this fire breathing dragon and win. 

 1. Qi (Chi) The energy of life – Negative thoughts and words physically weaken us; it’s imperative that we find healthy alternatives to stay positive.

  • Limit the amount of negativity in your environment, such as the media. Negative people are the worst “Chi Suckers.” 
  • If you begin to complain, catch yourself and stop it.
  • Play uplifting music, display photographs that capture good memories or put fresh flowers in your environment; they’ll lift your spirits.
  • Do yoga, meditate or take a walk; better yet, take your dog for a walk. He will love you for it.
  • Don’t have a dog? Get one! Dogs provide unconditional love. There’s nothing better than a slobbery, wet, dog kiss, first thing in the morning.
  • Feeling blue? Call or visit a friend to lift your spirits.
  • If you’re feeling like Ms. or Mr. Sunshine, call (not e-mail) a couple friends who are having a difficult time. Limit your conversations to a few minutes and hold a positive tone. My friends continuously say “Thank you for calling; you made my day”. A few minutes out of our day to make someone’s day; how simple is that?

 2. Self Defense - Be proactive; research every business in detail before handing over any money. This includes companies you’ve been working with for years. The days of making a deposit for a product and assuming that the supplier will be in business on the delivery date are gone. With the environment being difficult for so many companies, it’s imperative to take additional precautions and cover your assets.

  • Do your research. Ask associates and suppliers about the company you are about to do business with.
  • Check with government agencies to see if the company has any claims against it. 
  • If the company you made deposits with goes belly up, immediately take legal action. 
  • Turn on your sixth sense. If something doesn’t feel right, it most likely isn’t.

 3. Snap Kick – Just because business is slow doesn’t mean you have to settle for bad clients; this will only cause grief and prevent you from attracting good ones. It’s crucial that you diligently research our potential clients.

  • Keep a close eye on the retainer; when it gets close to running out, inform the clients, so you are always working with their money.
  • Don’t drag out your invoices; get payment in full
  • Keep in close communication with fellow contractors on the job. See if they are being paid in a timely manner. If they are not, this is a warning sign for you.

4. Chop – Eliminate as much overhead as possible, while still maintaining control of your business.

  • Outsource!  Outsource!  Outsource!
  • Hire interns. You will benefit from their low cost and energetic talent, while they benefit from your experience and on the job training. If they show star quality, you have talent to pull from when your finances improve. Contact your local college; many have programs in place with students eager to work.

5. Sensei (teacher) – Have you ever wanted to be a teacher? Community centers and colleges are continuously looking for part time instructors. By sharing the vast amount of knowledge you’ve acquired from years of work, you will reap the rewards. Who knows, you might enjoy teaching so much that you change careers. 

  • Teaching is an excellent way to stay in your industry, while keeping your name out there and earning some money.
  • It’s a great way to meet potential clients.

6. Yin-Yang (positive + negative) – Everything in nature has a cycle. There is a time to plant and a time to harvest. This is the time to plant your seeds for the future.  Use this slow time to your advantage and invest in yourself. Brush up on your skills so that you will be better equipped and more competitive when the economy rebounds. 

  • Take classes that you didn’t have time for when your business is running strong. Some classes are available through webinars, so you can attend from home
  • If you’ve considered studying for specialty certificates or license, this is the time.
  • Volunteering is one of the best places to network.  Volunteer with Scouts, sports, schools or take a leadership position with your association. You will improve your community and tap into new group of potential clients that you would have not been able to do before.  

7. Side Kick - “Cross Promotion” is the name of the game. Is there a company that complements yours that you can form marketing alliances?  

Examples:

  • If you are a colorist, connect with your local paint store or painting contractor. Set up a small display in their store to do custom paint schemes.
  • If you are a drapery work room, team with an interior designer and split the booth rental fees at a builder show.
  • If you are an interior designer, team with a general contractor and offer your services to realtors and banks with foreclosure or quick sell properties. You can stage them, so that they sell faster.

8. Focus - What does your dream business look like? Think big! Consider all aspects; what your projects would look like, who your clients will be, and how much money you’d make. If you have employees, involve them in collecting ideas for the future. Write down everything your dream business will look like in present tense and post your affirmations where you can read them several times a day.

Examples:  

  • For projects, say “I have the perfect projects that allow me to express my creativity…and …”
  • For clients, say “I have the perfect clients who values my…and…”
  • For money, say  “My business is financially abundant, which allows me…in my life”
  • Create a Vision Board, posting everything you desire on it. Clip out pictures of your family and images from magazines. Don’t be concerned of how your dream business is supposed to happen; just play.

9. Cover Your Back – When was the last time you reviewed your contracts, insurance, finances or any other legal items? Are they still viable? This is the time to polish them up.

  • Meet with your attorney and other agents to ask them for support in finding creative ways to fit your needs. You may be able to save money.   
  • Review your expenses; you may be spending unnecessarily on your telephone or utility bills.
  • Purge unnecessary files and clean your office. It will get the Qi flowing again and make you feel better.

10. Punch – Marketing! Marketing! Marketing! Regardless of what you may think, it’s not difficult to attract “free” marketing and advertising.

  • Get to know the press; media relationships are the secret to “free” advertising.
  • Write articles as most trade magazines and chapter newsletters are always searching for material.
  • Speak before groups to increase your visibility, reputation, and stature in your industry.
  • Update your website. If you don’t have a website, build one. Contrary to what you may think, websites don’t have to be expensive.  You can purchase templates to build one.
  • Contact your local college and hire a graphic arts student to create a basic site. If budget allows, hire to them create a logo and stationary package as well.

By: Denise Turner – www.colorturners.com