The Lure of Blue

Variations of blue

by Rebecca Cochran

What is it about blue? I’ve been aware for quite some time that I naturally gravitate to the color blue. According to an article* I read late last year, half of the people on earth list blue as their favorite color. Granted, much has been written about color theory.

When I was at the North Carolina Museum of Art again over the weekend, I made an intentional visit to Ellsworth Kelly’s Blue Panel. Each time I visit that painting, I try to view it from a new perspective. The work, a purely abstract blue panel, dramatically captured my attention during my first visit to the Museum’s new West Building in 2010.

As I continued my museum visit this time, I challenged myself to become hyper aware of what initially draws me to a work of visual art. Usually, it is color that catches my eye first – and oftentimes, the color is blue. Blue Dancer, sculpted of bronze with a blue patina by the Ukrainian-born avant-garde artist, Alexander Archipenko, is another of my favorites.

Wending my way through all the galleries, I notice that blue regularly lures me into a painting. The incredible blue sky above Georgia O’Keeffe’s Cebolla Church draws me in every time. I notice the sky first. Then, I am drawn in further to her unusual rendering of the church itself.

The cool, dappled, blue light is what first lures me into Renoir’s double portrait, The Daughters of Durand-Ruel (on temporary loan here from the Chrysler Museum of Art). I recently enjoyed the biopic, Renoir, so this work has a current appeal for me. Blue was its initial draw, however.

The same thing happens when I shop for clothing or home goods. Blue draws me to an item first. Then, I notice shape and texture.

As a designer, rather than simply using blue to be agreeable (blue is everybody’s favorite color, after all), I’m going to consciously work to use blue to lure others in. Blue can be a conscious element of a call to action in advertising. A blue button can be used to lure people to purchase online. (Blue links are blue for a reason, after all.) And, I think I’ll make certain to wear blue whenever I have an important presentation to make.

What are your thoughts? What are some other ways we can capitalize on the lure of blue?

*Read the New York Times article here.


What we all need to know about aging and driving

Collaborating with other PR professionals, we designed and implemented an education and public awareness campaign to educate Washington, DC area residents about the effects of age on driving ability and to encourage drivers to make wise choices as they grow older. We interfaced with a host of non-profit agencies including the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators, AARP, U.S. Administration on Aging, National Highway Traffic Safety Board and AAA. The program combined a speakers’ series, outdoor and transit advertising, website and community outreach efforts.

We created the GrandDriver name and visual identity:


and key messaging used in outdoor and transit advertising:



Since the initial campaign launch in Washington, DC, the program has been replicated in Virginia, Nevada, Florida and the UK.

by Rebecca Cochran

Storytelling from the front

The History Channel Commemorates the WWII Leather Bomber Jacket

In partnering with The History Channel to develop a licensed chair and ottoman inspired by the ever-popular WWII leather bomber jacket, I was given access to THC’s vast photography archives. My photo research inspired me to build the marketing campaign around a “postcards from the front” concept, blending history with romance to tell the chair’s story.


We used a sepia effect on the images and I had a great time penning intimate messages from imaginary flying aces to send back home to Mom, Dad, a sweetheart, etc. The set of postcards, bound together with a military dog tag chain, became the basis for point-of-purchase materials used in the furniture manufacturer’s showroom and at retail. Individual postcards doubled as actual direct mail pieces.

Print ads carried the headline, “Once They’re Gone, They’re History” to build a sense of urgency and highlight the limited edition nature of this commemorative collection.

by Rebecca Cochran