Graphic Design

React and Palette

Nami Kim
Red cabbage as an artistic tool.
Project Material Experiment
Major Graphic Design
Year Third Year

Third year graphic design students each investigated a material of own choice during the tenth quarter. Through in-depth research and experiments they dissected material and transformed it into a new being.

In this project, red cabbage - a mundane food in the kitchen - became an artistic tool. I have discovered that the plain purple pigment from red cabbage possesses unexpected possibilities. It can be altered to many different colours such as red, green, yellow and blue once it meets other chemicals such as vinegar, bleach, baking soda, etc.

Depending on the density of each chemical, red cabbage has ample chromatic diversity. Based on the colour experiment, I have created a multitude of physical samples. Eventually, I came to the conclusion that this experiment can result in a potential cabbage palette, which could be a new tool for artists and designers. I have decided to create a palette containing 48 different colours, based on chemical reaction of different chemicals against original cabbage pigment. I have also created a system to label each hue.

Next step was translating my observation into a cross-stitch poster. I dyed cotton threads with a few different colours from the palette. Then I did cross-stitch by using my hand-made threads. This final application using embroidery illustrates how methods of dying can work in a designed object and at the same time conveys in a playful manner.

This project involved only red cabbage,  a natural and humble ingredient. Eventually, however, it was meaningful to prove the validity of natural value in graphic design discipline where we are mostly overwhelmed by digital elements. I suggested an interesting method for fellow-designers/artists with many different colour manifestations of red cabbage ink.

Curious about Nami's other projects? Visit her website.


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