Waterloo & Trafalgar

Tonight was for writing this post and watching some football and thinking about orange and blue. And then this commercial comes on TV. (Well, this one is a few years old. Same flavor, though.)

Remember this. It means something in a bit. I promise I don’t care where you buy your life insurance. Waterloo and Trafalgar

by Olivier Tallec

{published 2012, by Enchanted Lion Books}

Waterloo & Trafalgar is at once spare and very much not. It’s a book about unnecessary fighting and the two stubborn sides who forget why they are even at odds. They are suspicious, bored, but always staid. Until. A snail, a bird, a different perspective. Different looks a little bit the same after all. Waterloo and Trafalgar Tallec’s goofy little men end up as a charming shout for peace. They are absurd. They are us.

Waterloo. Blue. Trafalgar. Orange. Opposites. Enemies. Waterloo and Trafalgar colorwheelThere they are, as far from one another on the color wheel as possible. Direct opposites. Complementary colors.

Orange and blue are a combination of dominance, because each is competing for the attention of your eye. One cool, one warm, constant attention-grabbers. Because of their stark contrast, each truly shouts. Waterloo and Trafalgar That’s why it’s a duo you see in a lot of advertising for banks, credit cards, and other Important Things. Would that Northwestern Mutual commercial be as strong if it were in a different color palette? Probably not. They want to imply strength, power, and – well, life.

And, ahem. I’m a fan of these two colors. Note my blog header and the rest of this thing’s design. Those design decisions were intentional, and since you are reading this and hanging out here with me, it might just be working.Waterloo and TrafalgarPerfect choices for Waterloo and Trafalgar, right? It wouldn’t make sense for those two ridiculous little men to be represented by closer together hues. Their orange and blues are a tenuous balance.

Besides a color scheme that works, that sings, and that smacks you in the gut, this is just a darn beautiful book. The paper is thick and rich to the touch, and some split pages inside extend the stories and heighten the division at hand. Waterloo and Trafalgar I love the die cuts on the cover – those clever windows reveal these two nuts and their telescopes at the ready. And the endpapers’ narrative is subtle as it holds the story in place. The carved out holes close up by the end, and the stream of blue and orange smash right up against each other. Waterloo and Trafalgar Still different, still far apart on that wheel. Transformed into something lovely together. ch MoreToRead

Ok, ok. One more orange and blue moment I love is the opening title sequence to the James Bond flick, Quantum of Solace.

breaker(These titles are created by a studio whose motion design work is just spectacular, MK12. They are the creative minds behind the visuals in Stranger Than Fiction and the gorgeous end titles of The Kite Runner. By the way, notice the colors in the first minute of that one!)

breakerAnd! A whole slew of orange and blue on movie posters. You won’t un-see this color palette once you start noticing it. That’s a promise prefaced with a slight apology! Here’s just one:Hugo_FilmPosters


  • Posted September 17, 2013 at 6:15 am | Permalink

    Great book! Thanks for sharing. It reminds me a bit of the two spies in MAD MAGAZINE. They were in Black and white, if memory serves.

  • Posted September 18, 2013 at 10:02 pm | Permalink

    Oooh, love that similarity!

  • Stacy S. Jensen
    Posted September 17, 2013 at 6:54 am | Permalink

    Ohh. I love the split pages. If I saw the interior pages (without the publication date) I would have thought this was a vintage book. Makes me think Dr. Seuss. Thanks for another fun one Carter!

  • Posted September 18, 2013 at 10:02 pm | Permalink

    I can see that!

  • Posted September 17, 2013 at 7:05 am | Permalink

    Any excuse to think about Daniel Craig is a good one–but only for you, Carter, would I watch a life insurance commercial! Thanks for the intro to a new book for me.

  • Posted September 18, 2013 at 10:03 pm | Permalink

    HA, Wendy. Truth.

  • Posted September 17, 2013 at 8:10 am | Permalink

    Mr. van Gogh liked this pairing. A lot! So do the Miami Dolphins! And I WANT THAT BOOK! Thanks, Carter.

  • Posted September 18, 2013 at 10:04 pm | Permalink

    My dad texted me and asked if it was such a power combo, then why are they UVA colors?! His Virginia Tech pride runs deep.

  • Posted September 19, 2013 at 12:05 am | Permalink

    I know the Hokie song from a friend’s bottle opener, haha!

  • Posted September 18, 2013 at 10:04 pm | Permalink

    PS-Did you see that new Van Gogh??

  • Posted September 19, 2013 at 12:08 am | Permalink

    Thanks to you, yes. Had the priviledge of viewing a fantastic retrospective in Denver. My favs were in private colections – no photos made of them, arrgh!

  • Posted September 17, 2013 at 9:37 am | Permalink

    The movie sequence blew me away…I don’t generally watch movies like this, so I would have missed it entirely. Thank you! And such a great way to reinforce your point about the orange and blue. I work with collage and it’s one of my favorite color combinations. Can’t wait to see the book…

  • Posted September 18, 2013 at 10:06 pm | Permalink

    Hooray! I love love love title sequences…maybe I’ll start sharing more!

  • Posted September 17, 2013 at 9:44 am | Permalink

    I learned something new about the use of color — especially red/blue. They are appealing. Love the split pages. Great book to read and study.

  • Posted September 18, 2013 at 10:07 pm | Permalink

    I hope you like it!

  • erin
    Posted September 17, 2013 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

    What a wonderful post and book. Thank you for teaching me something new today!

  • Posted September 18, 2013 at 10:07 pm | Permalink

    Love that.

  • Posted September 17, 2013 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

    I too thought this book was a vintage when I saw the split pages and something about the illustrations confirmed it. You are so right about orange and blue. On days that I am most confident and creative I discover I dressed in that palette – the bolder the better :) Carter you are wonderful finding these treasures for us.

  • Posted September 18, 2013 at 10:07 pm | Permalink

    I’m a pirate!! Always treasure hunting:)

  • Posted September 18, 2013 at 11:28 am | Permalink

    Love it. Orange and Blue is one of my guy’s favorite color combinations for, well, everything.

  • Posted September 18, 2013 at 10:08 pm | Permalink

    Cause, duh, he’s brilliant.

  • Posted September 18, 2013 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

    Last Days on Mars just launched their campagin, suprise suprise, those colors….


  • Posted September 18, 2013 at 10:08 pm | Permalink


  • Posted September 18, 2013 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

    Really cool blog! I work for Pixar and find your blog really inspirational!

  • Posted September 18, 2013 at 10:01 pm | Permalink

    Thank you! I just wrote about THE BLUE UMBRELLA at Design Mom this week, so I’m a big fan back atcha! http://m.designmom.com/2013/09/book-of-the-week-the-umbrella/

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