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The Color Revolution (Lemelson Center Studies in Invention and Innovation series) Hardcover – August 31, 2012

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The Color Revolution (Lemelson Center Studies in Invention and Innovation series) + A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire + Color: A Natural History of the Palette
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Product Details

  • Series: Lemelson Center Studies in Invention and Innovation series
  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: The MIT Press (August 31, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0262017776
  • ISBN-13: 978-0262017770
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 0.9 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #474,893 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Color is a vivid subject: the ground where moods meet physics. The colors of a particular moment live on in our memories, yet history is too often colorblind, oblivious to the powerful role color has played in the development of our florid consumer culture. The Color Revolution takes a big step toward opening our eyes and minds to the way in which a varied cast of characters standardized, refined, and expanded the use of color to create the vibrant, often garish, lives we live now." -- Thomas Hine, author of Populuxe and The Great Funk

"The twentieth century produced a new tribe of experts: the color gurus. At the intersection of fashion, psychology, chemistry, marketing, product design, and even military engineering, these men and women used the stability and consistency of modern synthetic organic dyes to create a brave new polychrome world that we now take for granted--in software and electronic devices, too. Combining formidable scholarship with memorable personalities and vivid stories, The Color Revolution will fascinate historians, marketing professionals, and consumers alike." -- Edward Tenner, author of Why Things Bite Back: Technology and the Revenge of Unintended Consequences and Our Own Devices: How Technology Remakes Humanity

"Regina Lee Blaszczyk, who deftly combines ground breaking scholarship with an engaging style, has produced an important and lively account of the individuals, organizations, and industries that made color an inventive and transforming force in modern American culture and design." -- Dilys Blum, The Jack M. and Annette Y. Friedland Senior Curator of Costume and Textiles, Philadelphia Museum of Art

" The Color Revolution unites the visible history of the color chart with the hidden history of imperfect information, mood, and perception. The narrative arc of this beautifully illustrated book starts with the technical achievement of color in describing the timely development of a reproducible color system among specialists who became 'colorists.' An insightful must-have for the student and historian of business enterprise, industrial psychology, advertising, and the predictive modeling of nuance and effect." -- William Lawrence Bird, Jr., Curator, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution

"This fascinating book details how a group of unheralded 'color engineers' created and standardized palettes for the American mass market…Blaszczyk, a design historian, illuminates the economic forces and shifting cultural values that have influenced consumers' color preferences -- and she shows how industry has sought to fathom those trends and to anticipate and alter those preferences." -- The Atlantic

"Read this marvelous book and your eye for color will snap back into brilliant focus." -- Jude Stewart, -- Imprint

"Exploring the use of color by American manufacturers from the mid-1800s when scientists, like Perkin, were inventing new industrial pigments and dyes, until the mid-2oth century, [this book] shows what a powerful force color has been -- socially, culturally, and economically." -- Alice Rawsthorn, The New York Times

" The Color Revolution…is a result of sheer research rigour…it's also suited for an academic setting, its heft and tone destined to be a primer for the growing number of American Studies, Design History, and Management programmes. Full of rich historical imagery, vintage advertisements, annotated footnotes, and an index, the book catalogues a crucial period in the history of Western consumer culture." -- Aileen Kwun, Icon Magazine

"With a focus on America, the book is a lively account of how individuals and industry made colour a transforming force in our culture and design." -- Design Talks

About the Author

Regina Lee Blaszczyk is Professor of Business History at the University of Leeds in the UK, and Associate Editor at the Journal of Design History. Her seven books include Imagining Consumers, Producing Fashion, and American Consumer Society, 1865--2005.

More About the Author

Regina Lee Blaszczyk is Chair in the History of Business & Society in the School of History at the University of Leeds in the UK, and Associate Editor at the "Journal of Design History." Her research focuses on enterprise and consumer culture, on design and innovation in the creative economy, and on the chemical industries. She has published seven books, including "Imagining Consumers: Design and Innovation from Wedgwood to Corning," "Major Problems in American Business History: Essays and Documents," "Producing Fashion: Commerce, Culture, and Consumers," "Rohm and Haas: A Century of Innovation," and "American Consumer Society, 1865-2005: From Hearth to HDTV." Her most recent book is "The Color Revolution," which is likeable on Facebook at TheColorRevolution.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By angel65 on September 17, 2012
Format: Hardcover
The Color Revolution is a bargain-- the gorgeous illustrations, all in color, are worth the price alone. And the author writes so well, it's a pleasure to read the text too.This book is a fascinating historical journey through the intertwined worlds of marketing and technological advances in consumer goods. In-depth analysis of stories behind the symbolic values of color range from Queen Victoria's trend-setting mauve gown as an 1858 mother of the bride, to the advent of color-coordinated kitchen appliances in 20th century American homes, and many more. This book is a real treat.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Richard S. Keyes on January 28, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In the early 80s, Philip Meggs wrote a History of Graphic Design that changed how all graphic designers saw their place in the world. The Color Revolution does similar work for the general subject of color theory as taught in art and design schools, and surprises us with the history of color standards in fashion and product design. The revolution Ms. Blaszczyk writes about may not seem revolutionary to us in the teens of the twenty first century, but she makes her case well. The subject of color theory is filled with folklore and conjecture and rarely receives the kind of serious study presented to us here. I hope she has another book up her sleeve soon.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By "Interested in Everything" on December 16, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Color has always been a dominant factor in my life & now to see the history and psychology of it laid out so clearly and so interestingly, so compellingly, is a real treat. This is one beautiful book. Kudos. *Q.
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