Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Trendwatch: Colorblocking

Hello, Memory Bound friends!

Have you ever noticed how trends come and go over the years? If you stick around long enough, you'll see some trends you once enjoyed (or didn't!) come back! Who remembers OWLS from the 1960's and 1970's? Well, owls made a resurgence a few years back and are still PERCHED on the scene! How about tights? Or skinny jeans? Or wide-legged jeans? Or shabby chic home décor? All of these are trends which have come and gone, or come and stayed, in recent memory. 

It's interesting to note how trends in fashion and home decor quickly find their way into the world of paper crafting. One such trend is COLORBLOCKING. Colorblocking was popular in paper crafting about 10 years ago. In fact, I taught a class on colorblocking at Memory Bound! While this trend never completely went away, other trends overshadowed it for awhile. Now colorblocking is getting quite a bit more attention -- in fashion, home décor, and paper crafting. As you can see in the top photo which Dawn spotted recently in Life & Style magazine, colorblocking is drawing praise in the world of fashion. Dawn and Kellie also noticed the colorblocking trend at the recent Craft & Hobby Association trade show. 

So...what is COLORBLOCKING? 
According to the Hero Arts website, colorblocking in paper crafting is simply “arranging your papers, photos, journaling and perhaps some embellishing in a clean lined and geometric order. The overall look of a color blocked layout is usually a collection of squares and rectangles set up together to interlock and form a cohesive and clean-lined pattern on your page. The results are easy on the eye and timeless in design.” 

That last sentence is significant: Colorblocked projects tend to be TIMELESS IN DESIGN. I think that’s why colorblocking as a trend never really went away. Now crafters are seeing, with fresh eyes, how simple blocks of color can pull together a project quickly and easily! Even better, a colorblocked project will stand the test of time!

Let’s take a look at some examples of colorblocking in fashion, home décor, and paper crafting.

Colorblocking in FASHION is defined as "a technique where blocks of various fabrics are sewn together to create clothing with a few different solid colors." You can also achieve a colorblocked look by wearing pieces in different solid colors. Notice how these colors are all strong, saturated hues? Colorblocking tends to make use of strong colors, but it can also work with pastels.

Colorblocking in HOME DECOR works the same way. Here's an old dresser, freshened up with colorblocked drawers.

Colorblocking in home decor creates backdrops of solid colors. There are very few patterns used in colorblocking, and I think this is one of the keys to colorblocking's timeless look. Patterns have a tendency to go in and out of style quickly. A good example of this would be the fruit wallpaper which graced our kitchen up until a few years ago. It was very popular in the 1990's, but today...not so much! YIKES! :)

 Patterns, if used, tend to be low-contrast, tone-on tone.

Here are some good examples of colorblocking in PAPER CRAFTING. The designer of this card used embossing to add texture to her blocks of color. Embossing is a great way to add interest without the complexity or busyness of a pattern.

Here's another card with a colorblocked background. Here again, the green is a tone-on-tone, low-contrast pattern, which essentially functions like a solid.

Here are two colorblocked scrapbook pages I found on the internet. Each uses blocks of low-contrast patterns.

Here's a page I made recently using colorblocking. It's a great technique to use when you can't find exactly the right patterned paper to work with your photo. Just pull three solid colors from your photo and add to the layout.

So whether you're new to colorblocking or never really left it, this is one trend which is worth another look. Unlike BIG 80's HAIR or SHAG CARPETING, colorblocked projects will stand the test of time! :)

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