Tuesday, June 15, 2010

ADvantages in Advertising

I often hear from quilters that they have a very hard time picking colors for projects. Often times, they are so insecure about their color choices, that when they see a pattern they will buy almost the exact same fabrics as in the pattern example piece. While that may make it easy for them, it doesn't result in a "unique" quilt, and at local quilt shows you often find 5-10 of the same quilt, in nearly the same fabrics/colors!

So, what if I told you, I have a super duper secret weapon for color choice? And what if I told you it doesn't require an art degree, or even a perfect sense of "what goes together", at least not for you!

By trade, I am a trained graphic designer, and I can tell you that in advertising, color is a HUGE part of the plan.

In fact, a great deal of money is spent by companies for research on what colors are most effective in advertising. Even fast food chains spent time and money to figure out that oranges, reds and yellows increase how much food people will eat while they are there. Apparently these colors make you more hungry.

Offices spend money to be told what colors make a doctor's office more comfortable and calm. Big companies spend money to be told what colors will make their employees more productive and happy. Are you seeing a theme here? People are paying the advertising industry money to tell them what colors to use.

 Well guess what? Those same advertisers, are giving quilters that information for free! Just open a magazine - Living, Real Simple, Home, Good Housekeeping - pick out a NON quilting magazine and open the pages. Now completely ignore the articles and start looking at the other seemingly 90% - which is......


That's right, those "useless" pages that have always annoyed you -  "I swear I don't know why I buy this magazine..it's mostly advertising!" Well, now even those pages can have a purpose!

The design companies that make those ads, have their finger on the pulse of what hot and cool in the visual world right now! When I was still doing design, a great deal of my time was spent deciding what colors I would be using - which was chosen by taking into account who the client is, who their target is - age, mood, gender, what the product is...etc.

All of that information has been in your hands each time you've flipped through a magazine! Start using that tool right now! You spent good money of those magazines, and it's time they gave something back to you!

Just take a look at these ads in some recent publications:

First of all, you can see the colors are fairly bright and bubbly and most definitely a bit "warm" - well that's because we're moving into the summer month publications. The colors seem to reflect a warm summer day, or a day on the beach.

I took several of these images to my stash, and pulled some fabrics for each one:

Then I went the next step, and made a couple of them up into a block:


Became this:

And this:

Became this:

I'm not sure if that second image picks it up or not, but the red/yellow fabric also has some of the green in it - much like the garnish on the chili!

So, the next time you're grabbing a pattern, and are about to buy all the same fabrics as in the picture, try something else. Count how many colors are in the pattern - let's say it's a three color pattern - two main and a background color. Grab a magazine and start flipping to ads you like - count the colors, and find one with at least three colors that you like together. (**The image can have more than 3 colors, but pick the 3 that seem to be used the most in it, or the 3 you like best together.**)

Now take that picture, and head to your stash or the quilt store and pull out colors that match those in the ad. Lay them out, get a feel for if they look good together. One thing that can help, is take a quick snapshot of them, and look at them as a thumbnail size on your screen - phones work especially well for this as they are inherently small already. If the colors look "interesting" even in a small image, chances are they are really going to POP in your quilt.

The ADded benefit? If you're entering a quilt show (particularly a small local one) even if you did the exact same pattern as twenty other people, if you go with a different color scheme with colors that "jump", you are already increasing your likelihood of 1. Getting into the show, and 2. Possibly placing against the twenty that look identical!

Give this color choice theory a try, and send in some pictures of the ad you used with the block/piece you've made, we'd love to share them!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing this professional secret. I know a lot goes into designing those ads, now I know how to put it to good use. My niece pointed out that ads are a way to see the latest color trends, duh! now it makes sense that they use a complete palette. I enjoy your blog and seeing your posts on TQS. Venusgma (Carol in SD)