When you’re this cool, who needs color to pop?

29 Oct

Before you even think it, yes, it’s weird to discuss the effectiveness of color utilizing a black and white spread.

However, finding a spread that utilizes color well doesn’t mean finding a spread where everything in the rainbow is meticulously incorporated. It means whatever the color choice, there is meaning behind it and a complimentary visual aesthetic to it.  Perhaps even more important than that,  a spread that utilizes color well will grab a reader’s attention.

So… who among us is flipping past Don Draper right now?

This spread works both for its color and its concept. With the color choice, while initially flipping through the magazine (Rolling Stone in this case) a spread done entirely in black and white stands out as unique (not surprisingly, it was the only spread in black and white this issue).  Eventhough the spread lacks traditional color, there is great contrast in the main image with the varying levels of brightness and the varying patterns of architecture (clearly shot at day but Jon Hamm may also bit lit on the side here).This gives the image great depth and makes Hamm pop against the background.

Beyond the choice of color, the spread works really well conceptually. “Mad Men” takes place during the 1950s during an age when a large portion of their media was in black and white. Allowing this to be conveyed through the image helps give it a vintage and classic feel. Additionally, many of history’s most famous arbiters of cool (we’re talking Marilyn Monroe, James Dean, Marlon Brando, etc.) are most famously captured in black and white photos. By taking this approach with Hamm’s Draper character, it helps bestow (rightfully so in my opinion) a certainly iconic level to both the show and its main character.

It all goes to show that a well thought-out and well executed spread will pop no matter what color palette the designer chooses to use.  It doesn’t hurt to have Jon Hamm either.

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One Response to “When you’re this cool, who needs color to pop?”

  1. A Graphic World II November 3, 2010 at 11:14 am #

    It was a risk, but you made it work.

    -Bridget Streeter

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