© 2017

Bright Modernity

Color, Commerce, and Consumer Culture

  • Regina Lee Blaszczyk
  • Uwe Spiekermann


  • Provides a multidisciplinary analysis of the relationship between color, commerce, and consumer societies in the United States

  • Appeals to scholars of cultural history, design, fashion, and history of the chemical industry

  • Includes contributions from international scholars in the field


Part of the Worlds of Consumption book series (WC)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-x
  2. Regina Lee Blaszczyk, Uwe Spiekermann
    Pages 1-34
  3. Foundations: Industry and Education

  4. Gender and Color

  5. Ringmasters to the Rainbow: Color Inventions and Visual Culture

  6. Predicting the Rainbow

  7. Back Matter
    Pages 271-287

About this book


Building on Regina Lee Blaszczyk’s go-to history of the “color revolution” in the United States, this book explores further transatlantic and multidisciplinary dimensions of the topic. Covering history from the mid nineteenth century into the immediate past, it examines the relationship between color, commerce, and consumer societies in unfamiliar settings and in the company of new kinds of experts. Readers will learn about the early dye industry, the dynamic nomenclature for color, and efforts to standardize, understand, and educate the public about color. Readers will also encounter early food coloring, new consumer goods, technical and business innovations in print and on the silver screen, the interrelationship between gender and color, and color forecasting in the fashion industry.


history of color design transatlantic history marketing and design history history of business and consumer culture marketing and art education

Editors and affiliations

  • Regina Lee Blaszczyk
    • 1
  • Uwe Spiekermann
    • 2
  1. 1.School of HistoryUniversity of LeedsLeedsUnited Kingdom
  2. 2.Institute for Economic & Social HistoryUniversity of GöttingenGöttingenGermany

About the editors

Regina Lee Blaszczyk is Leadership Chair in the History of Business and Society at the University of Leeds, UK.  Her nine books include several award-winning titles: Imagining Consumers: Design and Innovation from Wedgwood to Corning; Producing Fashion: Commerce, Culture, and Consumers (editor); and The Color Revolution.

Uwe Spiekermann teaches economic and social history at the University of Göttingen. His research interests in German and American history include consumption, retailing, nutrition, and knowledge. He has published extensively, including Decoding Modern Consumer Societies (coeditor) and The Rise of Marketing and Market Research (coeditor).

Bibliographic information


“This rich collection of essays sharpens analysis of a still relatively neglected topic. From synthetic dyes to electric lightbulbs, the book's analyses of the multifarious connections between color science, commerce and culture vividly capture how color helped shape the twentieth century. The book's breadth of new scholarship uncovers many fascinating complexities around color forecasting, design and commercial application during a pivotal chapter in the history of color in Europe and the USA.” (Sarah Street, Professor of Film and Foundation Chair of Drama, University of Bristol, UK)

“The full spectrum of colorful topics. This innovative and carefully crafted collection combining rigorous scholarship and imaginative analysis across time and space documents the impact of color on modernity in the West.” (Gary Cross, Distinguished Professor of Modern History, Pennsylvania State University, USA)