Stairs as an Allegory…

Possibilities, that’s what Stairs mean to me. Stairs are associated with a journey, progress, growth. And, depending on which way you’re going? Down? Stairs could represent the Fear of Failure or Fear of Falling. Ok, that’s what I’ve experienced, after a knee surgery more than a decade ago- I had fallen on a small run of steps and after surgery I found out that it’s easier to go upstairs than to come down. What a revelation to me.

Stairs are a strong symbol of transistion, change, transformation and growing wiser- leading our minds to a new, different and hopefully higher level. Stairs have been used, even in ancient cultures, as a symbol of going from one level of being to the next level- one step at a time. Ok. Rocky might have taken it more than one step at a time- yet who can forget the image of Stallone standing triumphant? And yess, I’ve gone up those stairs myself! The Thrill of Victory. Really. Out of Breath.

I love beautiful stairways, ornate or humble. And yes, there’s the romance of a spiral staircase, an architectural marvel- symbolic of oh so many things…to me, it’s pure genius. A Black and White Staircase? Coco Chanel would’ve loved it. My personal favorites are a beautiful shade of blue at Independence Hall, the Village Steps with Terra Cotta Pots and the Tropical Green and White- so cool and fresh. Still. All of them have been speaking to me lately.

I’ve been impatient with a project I’ve been working on- I thought I’d be finished..there are more steps than I planned and more to go. Some are new challenges, I’ve been facing or even avoiding. ‘When you start something new, even if you don’t have all the answers, trust your instincts and believe that you’ll rise to the occasion.’ One of my favorite quotes even if I made it up myself! So!

It’s back to basics week. One Step at a Time. A New Perspective- each of the steps or even obstacles are really Possibilities in disguise. *I’m just hoping it’s less than ‘a journey of 1000 miles.’

Love y’all, Brenda

*Okay, an allegory is a narrative in which something like stairs, a place or object is used to express a bigger, more important message to illustrate or explain ideas. Allegories are really an easy way to express a meaningful, even complex idea. In this writing lesson, you’ve seen an allegory express more than just an architectural element- it’s about going higher or further than you thought you could or would.

A Touch of the Unexpected…

Gray and White… my prediction for transitioning from Summer to Fall. Practical, solid colors that have stood the test of time- yet still find a way to feel fresh and new. In these continuing uncertain times, I think we’re all looking for the promise of stability, calm and dependability. Gray and White do just that.

I was thinking about this while I was scrubbing clothes in that galvanized washtub. Okay, that’s a lie. I just wanted to make sure you were paying attention. My favorite Grays are Oyster Shells, Galvanized anything, Old Linen, Silver with the Patina of age, even Old Wooden Spoons washed to a pleasing gray- these things have stood the test of time.

Gray and White Inspiration

Yes, I love those colors, and while they’ve been around a long time- somehow Gray and White is fresh, cool, calm and collected- perfect for summer into fall. Whether cool and crisp or warm and cuddly as balls of yarn- my forecast is that Gray will give us what we need as the seasons change. As Pantone says of it’s Color of the Year- ‘Ultimate Gray quietly assures, encouraging feelings of composure, steadiness and resilience.’ White give us clarity and light while the ever practical Gray is timeless, strong, hardworking and wise. I don’t know about you, yet I think that’s just what I need.

So, what’s the touch of the unexpected? Well, it’s that Video and Music- that’s certainly unexpected from me! And, it’s a touch of Humor. You know where I tell you I was thinking about Gray while I was scrubbing clothes in that washtub? Right. And then, there’s building a story around an ordinary color like Gray… And yet, it’s truly the Fashion Industry’s standard of which colors will be ‘new’ in 2021. Ultimate Gray. You can build a story around even the simplest of things… add a touch of the unexpected and your story just might be unforgettable! Love y’all, Brenda

Find the Colors for Fall and Winter 2021 at http://www.pantone.com

A Writing Lesson using Doors…

A fun way to Write is to assign Human Characteristics to Inanimate Objects such as Doors.. It’s no secret that I love architectural elements. I take photographs of fences, railings, windows, shutters, windowboxes and more…especially Doors. Though this Writing Lesson may focus on doors, the technique applies to any inanimate object of your choice.

Take this first block of doors… that White Tool Shed, she’s a hard worker, down to earth with an unexpected flair for the dramatic with that blue door. The Hidden Door on a side street strikes me as a shy, private one- though hoping to be found, she secretly longs to stand out. That impressive Pediment in Constitution Hall, speaks of confident authority- yet one who probably wears sensible shoes. In contrast, there’s the humble thrifty landowner who probably caught paint on sale and didn’t give a whit about that showy color! Don’t you know that’s true!

In this block, there’s the introverted nature lover who obviously enjoys quiet and solitude. Bermed in, yet that blue Door is ready to welcome a friend or two. Now, the pretty Door with a Vine is a cheerful soul, a generous gardener who offers rustic dinner parties after holding a cooking class. Don’t you love her already? Oh my, that amazing Ornate Exterior has amassed a fortune, is also home to a fashionista. She’s a not-so-subtle standout with impeccable taste. The humble rustic door is concerned with protecting house and home- how do I know this? Well, it belonged to pioneer Kit Carson!

I had to include at least one window, a warm, open, happy personality, who allows us to see just the right amount of her humble home. as she breezes easily through her life.

Of course, the opening image is a Sanctuary Door- welcome, wise and strong. It’s as if She knows, at some point in our lives, we’re all going to need a discreet Listener. You know? I love them all- beautiful, unique as a fingerprint- serving their own purpose- big or small. Still. If I had to choose, it would be that white tool shed with the blue door. Why? I’ve decided that she’s actually a ‘Work in Progress’. Yes, I definitely relate to that! Which one would you choose? And, if you’d like to give it a try, assign human characteristics to an inanimate object like a Door.

Love y’all, Brenda

P.S. If you’d like to be on our mailing list for the free planning guides- drop me an email at brenda@brenda-wyatt.com

Creative Possibilities…

Paintbrushes symbolize creative possibilities, and represent the possibility of Change. It’s said if you dream of paintbrushes- it’s possible that you see yourself doing something unique or the desire to accomplish something worthwhile. If you’re not sure what or how to write, start with a plain or simple image of something sort of common or mundane. Look up the symbolism and you’ve got the start of a great story.

It’s been said that artists prefer wooden brushes made of pine- an evergreen. To paint something that achieves lasting form, meaning and value. And, then there’s Color. Color is the Workhorse of Design. Before we ever read a word, our brains have formed an opinion. Your color choices, your color story has- well, it’s told a story. If your color story is complex, the viewer decides- ‘I don’t have the mental energy for this.’ Am I right? In today’s world of massive amounts of information coming at us- from many directions.

From a young age, we develop emotions around color. Color forms the texture of our lives. It’s been said, ‘ Use language on a 4th to 7th grade level.’ Why? It’s not because we aren’t smart. Because.. a message should be easy to understand. The same is true with color – your color message should be easy to understand. Never be afraid of possibilities, change or to accomplish something worthwhile- achieve something of value. Use Color to start the conversation, evoke good feelings and opinions.

Yet, above all, Keep it Simple. Simplicity is often the most difficult design or art form to achieve- yet Simplicity tends to accomplish something long lasting and worthwhile. Memorable. These are Notes to Self and to You- I hope you dream in Paintbrushes and that Color is the Fabric of your Life.

Love y’all, Brenda

P.S. please notice- in writing, use symbolism such as paintbrushes. Then, color begins the conversation, let the image set the scene and then begin telling a simple and easily understood message. That’s a winning combination every time.

P.S.S. The July Planning Guide is ready- and it’s chock full of information to take you right into the Fall! In fact, there’s a major Color Story in this guide- an interpretation of the Fall/Winter Colors of 2021! These guides are free. Send me an email at brenda@brenda-wyatt.com

Weight…

Weight.. could we talk about weight? No, no, no- not that kind of weight. And, could we talk about Balance? Okay, weight and balance aren’t just for those amazing Health and Wellness folks. Still. Weight brings Balance to your Visual Designs, especially in 2 dimensional designs such as we find in advertising, on our blogs, in other social media- in other words Photography Graphic Design is 2 dimensional and flat.

On a recent trip to New Orleans, I was having a Ball posing next to a rather weighty Urn.. it occurred to me that weight in graphic design brings Balance and Interest which you cannot achieve any other way. Then… as if to reinforce my thought process, I saw a vintage scale in the French Market. Scale is another one of those words in Design that relate to Balance. Though this scale was for weighing things! So… I jotted down 7 Ways to use Weight in Visual Design.

  1. Use contrasting color. (Apples anyone?)
  2. Move the ‘important object’ away from the other elements in your photos.
  3. Be careful with Font Shapes, Size and Form- especially for Quotes. *Folks are 3 times more likely to pause and read a well done quote- so it’s important to create them well.
  4. Use a singular object. Negative Space does add ‘weight’.
  5. Add a human being- yes, even if she’s faded standing next to a big iron urn!
  6. Use distinct or complex imagery. (Fill up the frame.)
  7. Increase the size of your image. (The first image is a good example)

Here’s the thing, Weight adds emphasis, importance and interest to your visual designs. Weight balance an otherwise same scale photography. Photo after Photo on an Instagram feed for example which are all the same- may look balanced yet not as interesting. Or you may use several photographs on a blog post, yet if you shift the ‘weight’ as listed above in your photographs, they tend to be more eye catching. The same goes for Store Displays. Adding things of different weights or sizes to your displays make them more interesting.

Weight also signals that there might be something interesting or important in the message you’re sending to your reader. *A warning here… Weight can be overdone and perceived as ‘shouting’. Even type fonts can be a little too bold or scary!

Have a wonderful week, folks. You’ve just gotten a message to ‘Add Weight.’ Couldn’t resist that one!

Love y’all, Brenda

The July Planning Guide is almost ready! July is a pivotal month in the Retail Calendar. This one will be different than the others to reflect the upcoming Fall/Winter Season. If you’d like to receive it- send me an email at brenda@brenda-wyatt.com