Sunday, February 17, 2013

Design School: Color Blocking

Moving forward with Fashionable Conversation, I have some exciting things in the works! First thing you can expect from the blog is more voices. I've always been a huge fan of collaboration because I thrive around others, and I like sharing things I enjoy with my friends (and people in general). To create an even larger "conversation" here on the blog, I'll be bringing in guest writers this year. Partly because I have really hip friends with great things to say and also because I'm a social girl who likes having her friends around. 

Mary: sister and guest writer
That being said, I am very pleased to introduce my first guest writer for Fashionable Conversation during today's post! She is none other than my beautiful sister and best friend: Mary. If you followed my blog during the summer, we did a few outfit posts together, so you probably remember how cute she is. Mary is currently finishing up her last semester of college where she is studying graphic design, and I can't brag enough about how incredibly talented she is and look ahead to how she'll impact the world (side note: I convinced Mary that graphic design was her calling before she chose a degree, and I was right). Welcome, Mary. It's all you today! - Sarah

DESIGN SCHOOL: Color Blocking
Brought to you by Mary


I love color blocking. Apparently, it is trendy.

As a graphic designer, I am picky when choosing prints or garments because I can’t shake my training in trying to rationalize every detail of a design. Why did they put that shape there? Is that a tasteful typeface choice? What about the kerning? Enough of my nerdy-ness. This is a fashion blog. All this to say, I am pleased with the current trend of graphic shapes found in fashion today. From color blocking to geometric-patterned woven sweaters, a well-designed graphic element on a garment always catches my eye.

Beat The Whites With The Red Wedge
My love for color blocking comes from three incredible art and design movements: Constructivism, Bauhaus, and De Stjil. You’ve probably heard of Bauhaus (the British goth-rock band used this term for their name) or De Stjil (The White Stripes used this moniker for their second album).

Constructivism was a design style that utilized basic shapes and color as a means of communicating a feeling. It was most popular in Russia during the early 1900s and vastly used in propaganda style posters, including El Lissitzky's "Beat The Whites With The Red Wedge."

Bauhaus was a radical design school in Berlin, Germany from 1919 till 1933 and was eventually shut down by the Nazis. This didn't keep the artists down though, as they relocated to Chicago, eventually resulting in the awesome art culture that is still there today.

Composition II in Red, Blue, and Yellow, 1930
De Stjil, Dutch for “the style,” was a design style that sought abstraction of elements until they became their purest, simplest geometric forms, using mostly or only primary colors. Piet Mondrian, the most well-known artist from this movement, popularized square and rectangular blocks through a series of art pieces, each called composition (see Composition II at left).

What I love about these art movements is that each were visually similar subcultures in three different countries. Rebelling against the conventional art and design at the time, they utilized simple geometric shapes and color as their primary design elements. It's pretty incredible that the style is still fresh and modern in 2013--evidence that good design never dies.


So indulge yourself in color blocking, but please appreciate the roots of this style.

Part One:
1) Jumper - $131.55 - ASOS; 2) Felt iPad Case - $25.50 - MyFeltAttic; 3) Patchwork Clutch - $36 - ASOS; 4) Black & White Dress - $276 - SHOPBOP

Part Two:
5) Blouse by Vince Camuto - $60 - Shoebox; 6) Geometric Brooch Set - $18 - ClairAshley; 7) Skirt by Kate Spade - $178 - Saks Fifth Avenue; 8) Color Block Manicure via New York Times

Mary Alexandra

2 comments:

  1. Color blocking is essential not only in dressing but also in designing artworks. It creates a contrasting look that exemplifies both elements, and makes them stand out on their own. I love your fashion sense and how you mix all the clothing accessories to complement one another.

    Sharonda Head

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  2. Ahh, the White Stripes!! I went to school for computer graphics, so I get very picky with patterns! It's hard for me to like the overused patterns like damask and houndstooth, because I would never use those conventional patterns in my graphics either. I love constructivism too! I just adore how old propaganda posters look. I think they're so cool. I think that's why I love the 80s the best, because they use a lot of colorblocking and shapes for their styles (clothing or media).

    Oh hey, I think we need to collaborate too <3 not sure what to do, but I'd like it if we found something! :-) I recall a certain music blog with Brittan, but that didn't really pan out :-(

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