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go with green

Certain words and phrases have become imprinted in the public mind as representing good and evil in regard to the environment--words like ozone, CFC, rain forest, recycle, and, of course, green. Used in this context, "being green" is associated with society's environmental awareness and definitely will be on our minds in this decade. Bright Peridot Green PANTONE 376, signifies renewal, life and the freshness of the great outdoors.

The green color family is the largest color family discernible to the human eye, and that's why our feeling toward green can be so varied. On one hand, green represents optimism and a feeling that things are getting better. It's the color of life, vegetation and the onset of the warmer seasons. But the duality of green has a negative side too as it's linked with envy, Martians, sickness and slime. The yellow-green shades such as chartreuse evoke the most negative of emotions, according to the Pantone Consumer Color Preference Study which rated chartreuse as the color consumers disliked the most.

The use and popularity of green colorations are on the upswing in all design disciplines from graphic design and packaging to fashion and interiors. "The strongest color resurgence occurs in 20-30 year cycles," points out Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute. "The green and earthtones first seen in the late 1960's and 70's sparked the beginning of environmental awareness. We have seen the avocado and olives emerge again in the 90's, and even though they may be recycled they'll have an updated new look when used in fresh, intriguing combinations."

The concept of combining the old with the new is a trend that will transcend all industries. We are probably most comfortable seeing it in fashion or interior design, but in reality this borrowing and re-interpretation of designs and production methods from the past is happening all around us even with the latest graphic arts technology. Hi-Fi color, for example, employs computer technology, sophisticated screening techniques, as well as the craftsmanship of touch plate printing to achieve a higher level of color reproduction.

Oddly enough, in spite of the plentitude of greens in nature, natural sources for green inks and dyes are hard to come by. In the 19th century, the world of fashion and interior design was delighted that greens could finally be achieved with chemical processes. Paris Green became a very fashionable emerald shade and was used extensively in decorating. It was eventually discovered that the deadly arsenic-based pigments used in wallpaper had caused several mysterious deaths and Paris Green was aptly renamed "Poison Green!"


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