#65 Black & Blue

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My favorite colors are black & “charlie blue.”

Black is actually my very favorite color & yes, it is a color. (See “chaz sez” below.) “Charlie blue,” as my friends know it, is anything between Crayola Blue Green to cerulean to turquoise to cyan (one of the four printing ink colors). AmperArt #65, Black & Blue, features CBG as I call it, cyan, and one other blue which I’ll get to later. All my favorite blues are somewhere in-between CBG and cyan.

I am not fond of sky blue, navybaby blue nor royal blue. They are cold. (Yes, I know, my very favorite color—black—is definitely freezing. But we’re talking blue here.)

There is a very deep blue that does tingle my color bone. That’s cobalt blue. My first memory of that color is my father’s blue cuff links. Also the knob on his steering wheel to help turn the tires before power steering (that accessory became illegal because when the steering wheel snapped back the knob could remove a finger or two). & the cool red tail lights with the blue dot in the middle, which created a magical color effect.  They’re popular again today but I remember the originals on my dad’s 1950-something automobile. Probably no other recollection of cobalt blue is stronger for me than the bottle of Vicks VapoRub. That stuff felt ice-cold as the color of the bottle it was packaged in. I’m also partial to cobalt blue because it is the favorite color of my mother and my brother Rob. So that is the other blue in this AmperArt piece.


Just looking at this Vicks jar opens my sinuses! Other products in cobalt blue bottles were Noxzema, Phillips Milk of Magnesia (sounds appetizing, doesn’t it?), Bromo Seltzer, Nivea and Blue Coral.

In fairness to navy, royal blue, sky blue & all those that are not my favorites, combine them with various other colors & they create outstanding color schemes. Of course, the same could be said for poop brown.

I am releasing #65 Black & Blue during the playful days of summer, because that’s when I recall we’d get the most bruised up falling off our bikes, skateboards, or just playing in the backyard. I did, anyway. I was a real klutz. Still can’t ride a skateboard.

listen up! Black is a color! Not the absence of color, nor the combination of all colors. It is color. So is white. So why do people say it’s all the colors or no color? Because they don’t know the definition of color. “Color” means the description of the hue, value & tone. Pure yellow is a color that has a hue somewhere between orange & green on the color wheel, a very light value (high-key, or very bright compared to very dark such as navy blue), & minimal tone (grayishness; mauve & sage green have medium tone).

The color black is defined by no hue (red, yellow, blue, etc.), the darkest value, & zero tone. White is defined by no hue, the lightest value, & zero tone. So you see, black & white have no hue & no tone, but they are both colors.

If you want to have some fun with all the other colors, check out the Crayola website, especially the history & the Crayola Experience where kids (including big kids) get to play & create among all things Crayola, & see how they are made. If you can’t make it to the factory in Easton, Pennsylvania, watch this video: How Crayolas Are Made.

I love Crayolas. (I won’t use any other brand; the colors aren’t as pure, they’re waxy & they just aren’t Crayola.) I remember when the box of 64 premiered, with the awesome Built-In Sharpener. I probably have the few stubs that are left of my original set somewhere, but today I have The Ultimate Crayola Collection—152 different colors!—on my desk. I use them frequently, & always to sign important legal documents. For that task, of course, it’s Crayola Blue Green.

Original size: 20×30 inches
Program: Illustrator
Lettering: Hand-lettered by Chaz DeSimone
Colors: Cyan, cobalt blue, Crayola Blue Green & black
Vicks ad: flickr.com/photos/28153783@N08/ “SaltyCotton” has nearly 2000 photos of vintage ads in pristine condition. An ad designer’s or collector’s eye candy overload!
Vicks jar: Joe Corr on pinterest.com/pin/274930752225672732/ and etsy.com/shop/owlsongvintage Beautiful collectibles and antiques.
Enjoy & share...

Chaz DeSimone

Design. Dancing. Disneyland. Modernism. Nudism. Black Cats or any other color.

8 thoughts on “#65 Black & Blue

  1. Cuff Links? Steering Knobs? WOW! Old Stuff. It’s amazing how you remember so many details from when you were younger. You have a gift of story telling. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Ooh! This is COOL! Reminds me of some record album covers of my parents from the 60’s!
    As usual, too, your commentary is most excellent reading! I also love cobalt blue, especially in glass, because it reminds me of my mother and her mother. And, of course, I cracked-up at the comment that you sign all your important legal documents with Crayola Blue-Green! I needed a laugh! Thanks for the “mini-vacation” I always go on when I gaze upon your design and read your most interesting insights and memories.

    1. I’ve been listening to some cool jazz lately, and I felt the ’60s album covers as I was designing this. Almost wrote about that, but I’ll save it for my “Rhythm & Blues” piece. As for the dotted line, I really do.

      1. Hi Chaz,

        Another great poster this is my monthly fix. I look forward every month to see what you have to say and what the poster will look like. I agree with You Chaz reminds me of Blue’s covers and Lisa only thing I was thinking of my albums not my parents.

    1. Someday when I have absolutely nothing else to do, I want to research how the web people came up with the hex codes for the colors. 000000 is the only one that makes sense!

  3. Love this one. Super interesting. I was wondering about the lettering and saw in your notes that you did them by hand. That’s what caught my eye first — the placement of the letters. Very cool!

    1. This style of lettering is called “interlock” and there is a typestyle by that name, very popular in the 50s and 60s. There are other similar fonts as well, but the best effect is usually custom-rendered, much the same as a script or handwritten style. To make my job easier, I started off with setting the words in Impact, then stretched them and modifed most of the nodes.The ampersand was created from scratch.

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