Artists and Art Licensees – Are You Really Looking for Purple Art for Retail Products?



I remember all too well the retail crash of 2008 and the deadline retail year of 2009, as much as I’ve tried to forget all about it. So what was the color of that year? What did the color mavens, the true color “experts” advise us to create and market? Gray. Gray added to blue, gray added to brown, gray added to everything, loading a broad palette of depressing colors onto an emotionally and financially depressing economic situation which some wag titled “The Great Recession” (“great” meaning “large”, one would hope, not “wonderful”).

The Emotional Power of Good Art

Now, I’ve always subscribed to the notion that good art raises mood, hopefully enough that you’ll want to bring that good feeling back to your home and have it around you, beautifying and uplifting your mood and your life.

Consumers just don’t purchase artwork that makes them depressed, especially when they started off in not the best of moods.

It’s Important to Maximize Appeal

I used to watch people in malls as they dragged themselves past store window after store window. What attracted their eye? What slowed them down on their quest, grabbed their attention, and got them to want to see more by entering the shop, hopefully to find what it was that made their day just a bit lighter, happier, smilier, brighter, that elevated their mood and made them feel just that bit better about life?

Is “Color of the Year” Believable?

I still do that on occasion and sometimes I speak to the consumer down the aisle and ask them, “what do you think of this purple? It’s supposed to be the color of the year.” That’s on the rare occasions when I can actually find a retail product that has taken to heart, and to product, the supposed revelation of Pantone or the Color Marketing Board. Imagine the responses I’ve had; it doesn’t really take much thought.

Purple Walls? Really?

After all, do you really want purple – pardon me, ultraviolet – all around your house, on your walls, on the floor, in the kitchen? (I exclude the humble eggplant, of course, which an increasingly number of Americans are happy to see in their kitchens in preparation for eggplant parmigiana or some other special treat that evening.) But honestly, a room with purple walls? Purple clothes in your wardrobe? Seriously?

Did Manufacturers Listen?

I understand from an associate who prowled through the admirable Atlanta Gift Show, first of the season, that she just didn’t find much ultraviolet anything. And to me, that’s not a  surprise. Who wants purple? More to the point of my industry, which is art licensing, am I now going to ask my artists to start putting ultraviolet into their Christmas, Halloween, Easter, Spring/Summer or everyday images? Not a chance. I really don’t want a repeat of 2009! Retailers, manufacturers, artists and agents suffered far too much already from that very gray and depressing year.

So let’s continue to give our licensees art that is uplifting, whimsical, cute, inspiring, pretty and thus mood-raising. Good commercial art, in varying degrees, is truly the alternative to Prozac. So out with the purple/ultraviolet and in with color. You’ll feel a whole lot better.






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