A colorful mug is not your personality
Talking shit about "Color of the Year", iconic billboards, fanciful home tours, Margaret Zhang, and some delish' looking cider
Honestly, I've really tried to understand why the concept of a “Color of the Year” bothers me so much, and I’ve come to this straightforward answer. It's a shameless, transparent, capitalist effort that rings hollow of real creativity or importance. The idea of a “CotY” smells of desperation. “Look at me, I have X colored socks, I’m on trend!” Are we so lost that we need a brand selling cheap mugs to tell us what's good? Trends, historically, have come from those with taste (or money, to be fair) and not a corporation with a marketing team. The last 20 years or so have made this a murky affair.
Most of my annoyance stems from Pantone, who is firmly planted at the top of my shit list. Their newest “CotY” is a red tone that leans the slightest toward the purple end of the spectrum. They’ve decided to call it “Viva Magenta” even though this color literally has nothing to do with magenta, whatsoever (T-Mobile’s brand color is magenta, for reference). I want to give you a taste of these delectable, very real quotes that Pantone is using to describe their marketing scheme:
"It's assertive but it's not aggressive – we refer to it as a fist in a velvet glove."
"It's a brave and fearless red shade that vibrates with vim and vigour.”
"Audacious, witty and inclusive of all, Pantone 18-1750 Viva Magenta welcomes anyone and everyone with the same rebellious spirit.”
"It's so flattering across all skin tones and all genders."
I vomited 17 times having to cut and paste those here. I cannot imagine having the balls to seriously say those sentences out loud to another human being. Good on them, I guess, for having the audacity and fulling believing your own bullshit?
Last year, Michelle Ogundehin wrote a piece about their last color of the year, “Very Peri” (that name 🤢), which they described as a blue color for some reason, when it’s clearly a shade of purple, further confirming “CotY” as a mindless marketing maneuver. She and I share the same opinion here, with her nearly summarizing the affair with, “Colour of the year could be an opportunity to talk meaningfully about such issues. Once again, Pantone choose not to rise to that challenge.” I would go a step further and ask that you not buy into the farce they’re selling. Put down the cheap mug at the museum gift shop. A colorful mug is not your personality.
💭 — Louis Vuitton is beginning to tease it’s upcoming second collaboration with renowned multimedia artists, Yayoi Kusama. To do so, they’ve gone over-the-top with a takeover of the iconic Shinjuku billboard in Tokyo, which was made famous back in July for featuring a giant cat. I do love that they’re getting weird and playful with the campaign, with her signature pumpkins transforming into frolicsome cephalopods. CGI Kusama is a little uncanny valley, which I kinda like? It’s so odd and surreal, it kind of fits? What do you think?
💭 — After nearly a year since the loss of Virgil Abloh, his wife and partner of 23 years Shannon Abloh conducted her first interview with the New York Times. She speaks with Vanessa Friedman about the future of the companies, projects, and collaborations Virgil built before his passing, as well as starting the Virgil Abloh Foundation to help kids find success. ngl, the interview made me quite teary eyed.
💭 — I can watch good home tour videos all day long, and this walkthrough of Alex Tieghi-Walker’s home in LA is a gem. Alex is the brains behind Tiwa Select, “a gallery and platform celebrating the ever-evolving culture of craft, and the unexpectedness of the handmade.” His home is a hodgepodge of cool, random and found objects, lots of eclectic arrangements, though everything is very well put together. The ironic part here, is that shortly after this video was filmed, Alex moved to NY.
💭 — Imagine getting a design brief and you’re asked to create brand identity for an entire nation? Well, that was the challenge presented to MMBP & Associates, who were approached by the kingdom of Bhutan for a little brand zhuzh. Overall, I feel like they really knocked it out of the park on what I assume was quite a daunting challenge. They were able to create quite a contemporary look and feeling thanks to some smart typeface choices and lovely custom illustrations. The vibe for me is Louis Vuitton meets Takashi Murakami, which is honestly, a place I would love to visit.
💭 — I chanced upon GrandArmy, a creative agency based out of NY, who is doing and has done some really solid work. I knew they sounded familiar and realized how much I loved their brand identity for Gimlet (and the case study is a beaut’). More recently they did work for Analog:Shift, a website that sells lovely vintage watches. The font choices they made and the color palettes they put together are off the charts. And the bespoke illustrations, with the hand-stamped quality, is such a nice touch.
💭 — Ok, I feel like this is becoming a trend. Last week, I mentioned Design Threads, a web-based magazine that highlighted the current state of design. Now I received an email from Satisfy (the French brand who makes the best running gear) have released a new issue of their web-based magazine, ©POSSESSED Magazine, and this one is all about astrology. They put a lot of time and effort into the issue, I’m looking forward to digging in. Are there any other web magazines out there with high production qualities like these? If so, pop ‘em in the comments or email me.
💭 — Thanks to this TikTok I was introduced to Margaret Zhang. In February of 2021, she was brought on as editor-in-chief of Vogue China at the age of 27 (I think that’s so rad). It took me down a rabbit hole of how astounding the creative of the magazine has been. For example, the December 2022 cover is simply breathtaking. And if you google search “vogue china cover” you can get a sense for the drama and creativity here that you’re not seeing elsewhere. I’m also simply obsessed with her and her life. Her Instagram is stunning and envy-inducing, and now I’m on the hunt to find more interviews with her, I want to learn everything I can about her.
💭 — Revel Cider is an Ontario based winery that produces some really unique ciders and vermouths, and I really want to try them out. Started by Tariq Ahmed as a solo project back in 2017, he began fermenting farm-grown and foraged fruits, combined with native yeasts to see what he could create. The bottle are adorned with such sublime artwork, and the flavors seem so complex and interesting. Sadly, they don’t ship internationally yet! If you’re in Canada, please support this small business, and then email me your opinion.