Color in Action - Create Positive Change by Combining Design and Color Through the Lens of Object and Space

Color in Action: Create Positive Change by Combining Design and Color Through the Lens of Object and Space

Color in Action is a new partnership between Pantone and Academy of Art University designed to explore the positive influence of color on social change.

Eight student teams were formed to explore pressing social issues including education, tolerance and the environment. Pantone donated its Pantone Plus Series and Pantone Fashion + Home guides to be used for the project and will award the winning team a $10,000 scholarship. The scholarship will help students pay for tuition and will be awarded on May 14.

"Graphic designers are often called upon for logos and package designs, but have so much more to offer," commented Academy of Art instructor and design professional Tom Sieu. "Today, we're teaching students that it's not enough to create just beautiful things. We want them to also think about how to create the conditions and experiences that shape them."

The topics chosen by the students reflect their personal passions and interests. Students have set out to answer questions such as:

- How can the use of color be used to lower aggression and teach tolerance in schools?
- How can color be a positive force to define a nation and its people?
- How can color enhance the lives of people who are visually impaired?
- How can color help strengthen and promote the concept of fair trade?
- How can the use of color prevent the extinction of rare species?

"Design has the power to effect change on a larger scale. The class has already done some interesting work through the recent GOOD Ideas for Cities Project and Design Ignites Change," said Giovanni Marra, director of corporate marketing at Pantone. "This inspired our partnership and desire to explore how young designers would pair color with community and culture, and how the communicative power of color can be used as a vehicle to create social change."

The student teams are led by instructors Tom Sieu and John Barretto, both working design professionals. Sieu, who initiated this project and leads the undergraduates, has been teaching at the Academy of Art University for eight years and is also the founder of, a collaborative effort to promote sustainable design. Barretto leads the graduate students involved in the project. Classroom lectures are augmented by talks and feedback from Pantone representatives including Marra.

Academy of Art University