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Best Practices for Graphic Designers, Color Works by John Cantwell, Eddie Opara

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Any color is good, as long as you’re consistent.
There are no ugly colors; there are only ugly colors
in combination. Any color next to white is fine. If
your product is linked with a color, and the product
is associated with a certain level of quality, that color
will be perfect forever.
For Scher, a big part of the process
was to consolidate and change certain
practices in Tiffany’s manufacturing.
Scher eliminated Tiffany’s glossy shop-
ping bags, which affected the perception
of the company’s blue when struck by
light, in favor of a bag with a more consis-
tent matte finish. The inside of Tiffany’s
famous blue boxes was dyed blue, so the
interior and exterior worked together.
Tiffany & Co.
Paula Scher
fig. 001
132 Color Works Tiffany & Co.Clients & The Subjective
5.2
5.1
Tiffany’s blue was iconic,
but inconsistent. In working with the com-
pany, Paula Scher’s efforts were focused
primarily on getting a consistent shade
across all of Tiffany’s brand touch points.
You will never have to change it, because you can own that color
with such confidence and such completeness. However, if you make
a bad product and the reception is poor, you’ll have to get rid of that
brand’s color.
Tiffany & Co. has a totally different attitude toward color than other
companies I have worked with. When we began working together, there
wasn’t a standardized method toward using Tiffany’s trademark blue.
Tiffany’s didn’t use the blue consistently and on the same level across
its branding and packaging. It wanted to become more judicious about
matching colors.
Tiffany’s is a global company with different types of advertising and
packaging production worldwide, so a big part of the process was to
consolidate and change certain practices in manufacturing. For exam-
ple, Tiffany’s used a glossy shopping bag. I changed the paper to a dyed
matte paper stock that had a fabriclike quality. The glossy paper affected
the perception of the Tiffany blue when light would reflect off it. The
company’s famous jewelry boxes featured a shiny paper-wrapped box
with a white interior. I decided to dye the inside of the boxes blue so that
the outside and inside worked together.
Everyone at Tiffany’s referred to the company’s color as Robin’s Egg
Blue, even though it technically wasn’t. But they were using it and they
established a color in relationship to the product. Tiffany’s had never
really done any branding prior to our work—the company didn’t seem
to know how it arrived at the Tiffany blue, other than at one point in time,
it was a fashionable color. Tiffany’s had selected the blue maybe fifty
years prior and had stuck with it. The company knew that at some point
it was going to have to take a longer look at all the things it manufactured
as a global brand. There were times when that color was terribly out of
style. And that is what happens with colors. Like greens, for example.
Sometimes jade greens are more fashionable than Kelly greens or lime
greens. These things move around all the time—the same is true with
blues and hues of red. But if you are confident about who you are and
what your product is, like Tiffany’s is, you never have to change because
you just made a commitment to it—you own that color.
To deal with the issues of photography and typography, the final system
features a large swath of blue and retains the logo at a small scale, while
the typography looks like it was done on a letterpress. To make the blue
stand out, the Tiffany’s art directors used a large portion of white in the
background in sharp contrast to the blue. If they had any other colored
backgrounds, it would start to get very tricky and look less expensive.
fig. 002
fig. 003

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