Camouflage Patterns and Designs From the Past

Abbott Thayer, an American artist, made an important discovery about animals in nature in the late 1800s. His observation became a useful tool in the development of modern camouflage patterns and designs.

Thayer noticed that several animals had colouring that graduated from dark on their backs to almost white on their abdomens. It is this property that is the most important in making modern camouflage useful. It is this graduation from dark to light that breaks up the surface of an object making it harder to see the object as one thing. Therefore, the object loses its three-dimensional quality making it appear flat.

Although camouflage has gone mainstream in recent years, it has been used as early as the 14th century by ninjas in Japan. Most of the camouflage clothes that they used were dark colours because they operate under cover of darkness. But ninjas are also known to use other materials that will help them blend in with their operating environment.

The military realized how camouflage would help them greatly in defeating the enemy. Armies used to wear colourful, flamboyant uniforms with intricate designs.

By the time that World War I came (around May 31 or June 1, 1916), military uniforms were in drab shades of brown or green.

It was during this time that the French established a Section de Camouflage (Camouflage Department). They were mostly painters, sculptors and theatre-set artists headed by Eugene Corbin in the beginning but later on Lucien-Victor Guirand de Scevola took over.

Other countries followed suit. England, the United States, Germany and Italy all set up their Camouflage Departments in the military.

Soldiers were made to wear hand-painted uniforms as added protection as well as to enable them to approach their enemies without being easily detected. In an effort to conceal snipers from their enemies, they were made to wear camouflage gloves.

In addition to military uniforms, false bridges, decoy tanks and even paper-mache horse carcasses were built for snipers, to be used as blinds.

Meanwhile, Norman Wilkinson, a British marine artist was responsible for “dazzle painting” where ships were covered with bold stripes and splotches. Instead of trying to blend ships into the horizon, they were made highly visible to the enemy but made it appear distorted. Enemies became confused about its size, direction and what armaments it had on board. Weapons were also painted with camouflage patterns, and sometimes they were covered by camouflage netting.

By World War II, camouflage was part of military tactics of most nations.

The US Military continued the use of camouflage uniforms during the Korean War. One such uniform was the Markaware Mitchell Camouflage Coat which was also use for shelter and helmet covers.

During the Vietnam War, US troops were made to wear a “boonie suit” that was dull green in colour, so that they can blend well into the jungle.

In 1981, the US Woodland pattern with enlarged splotches was developed. This enlargement of the design represented a shift in military tactics from close-range combat in Vietnam to more distant fighting. This is still being used by the US Military and the Navy SEALs today.

Although the “chocolate chip” tan and brown pattern that featured rock-like clusters of black and white was developed for camouflage uniforms for US troops in 1962 for the Arab-Israeli conflicts, it was used sparingly until the Gulf War. Although worn by US troops in the biennial Bright Star exercises in Egypt during the eighties, and by FORSCOM peacekeepers in Egyptian Sinai, the design proved to contrast too much with the terrain and since it had a six-colour pattern, it was expensive to produce. As a result, the Desert Camouflage Uniform was developed.

The Canadian military developed a digital pattern for their military camouflage uniform in the late nineties. These were not supposed to make the uniforms undetectable but they were supposed to “create ambient visual noise that an enemy would disregard when glancing in a camouflaged soldier’s direction. The US military adopted a similar design.

Other camouflage designs that came out were the lizard and tiger stripe patterns used by the French military in Indochina and the British army in Burma; and the ghillie suit or what is sometimes called the wookie suit, yowie suit or camo tent. This camouflage uniform is designed to look like heavy foliage. It was named for the Gaelic “lads who accompanied deer hunts in the Scottish Highlands. It is usually a net or cloth garment that is covered in loose strips of cloth or twine that are made to look like leaves and twigs, and sometimes, soldiers would add scraps of foliage from the area. Snipers usually wear the ghillie suit to blend into their surroundings and to conceal themselves from their enemies.

Pet Friendly Design – Solving Interior Design Problems for Dog Owners

Being a pet owner can be put a damper on design plans. There are three basic principals dog owners have come to accept: white furniture is out of the question, hardwood is too easy to scratch, and the most expensive piece of plush furniture will ultimately be the favored resting place of your canine companion. There’s a wealth of design issues to wrap a tail around that could leave any dog and his master’s mind spinning. Whether you’re a new dog owner or experienced with the frustrations of doggie design, Darlene White, of Simplicity Home Staging & Design, offers design ideas that will keep owners stylish and their dogs still presuming they are master of their domain.

Stylish Sofas:

While it’s easy to say a dog’s place is not on the furniture, trying to teach him to stay off of something that is absolute heaven to the fur is another story. Gone are the days of worn sofas embedded with the frayed image of Fido’s body in the cushion. New advances in sofa design allow pet owners comfort and style. Crypton is a nearly indestructible synthetic fabric that’s resistant to stains. It’s perfect for muddy paws and the dirt and grime doggie fur can leave behind. For a less expensive alternative, try an ultra suede microfiber, which is smooth to the touch and often sheds stains with the brush of a hand. If purchasing a new sofa is not in the design plans, try a sofa cover with ScotchGuard. These covers are stylish and come in an array of colors and designs. Sofa covers now come in stretch fabrics that make it difficult to tell the sofa has been covered. To keep the sofa fabric underneath from discoloring or fraying, place an old sheet under the cover. It will act as a barrier to protect the sofa underneath. Two fabrics to avoid: velvet and leather. A dog’s fur will cling to velvet and make it extremely difficult to remove the hair. While some owners presume leather is a good choice for dogs, it’s actually quite delicate to the nails and tasty to the tummy. There’s a reason Fido finds those expensive leather shoes delectable – the smell. The same is true for a leather sofa. A general rule of thumb for pet owners -be weary of furniture that produces a scent.

Stylish Floors:

Carpeting gets dirty, hardwood gets scratched, and for pet owners flooring options gets limited. Unfortunately, flooring choices seem to depend on the pup. If the warm comfort of carpeting is a necessity, try FLOR carpet tiles. These 19.7″ x 19.7″ tiles join together to make a full carpet or area rugs. With a multitude of styles, an owner can mix and match designs to create a custom look or select a simple traditional design. FLOR has even teemed with Martha Stewart to offer a larger variety of stylish selections. Easy to clean, if a dog soils an area, just pull it up, follow the simple cleaning instructions, allow it to dry, and return it to the floor. If hardwood is an absolute must have, stick to the harder woods which are more durable and scratch resistant: oak, cherry, maple, hickory, elm, balsa, mahogany, and sycamore. Softer woods such as birch, cedar, pine, redwood, fir, and larch will dent and scratch more easily. According to Bella Wood, small scratches can be repaired by purchasing a kit but larger scratches will require light sanding and a new coat of varnish. While some owners have had success with laminate surfaces, which comes in a variety of hardwood, tile, and slate, laminate can also scratch. Some dogs also have a difficult time walking on laminate floors. The best solution for stylish floors: stained concrete, tile, or slate. Mix and match these surfaces with carpet tiles and never worry about soiled and scratched surfaces again.

Stylish Furnishings:

Compromising furniture is a thing of the past. While metal and glass will withstand the jowls of any pup, wood is not out of the question. When selecting furniture and accessories, consider the age of a dog. Puppies will be more prone to gnaw on woods and it’s probably best to avoid wood furniture until a pup is through his terrible twos. If eliminating wood furnishings is not an option, consider crating Fido while no one is around to supervise. Chew toys and regular exercise also keeps a dog at peace and less likely to destroy his owner’s home. Installing an invisible fence inside the home allows owners to keep dogs out of a room without doors or baby gates.

Stylish Accessories:

Because dogs are like children, it’s important to be sure there’s nothing within Fido’s reach that can be hazardous to his health. Place accessories high enough that a dog cannot reach them. Pieces that are lower to the floor should be larger in scale. As a general rule of thumb an accessory should be two to three times the size of what a dog can swallow. Antiques, precious family heirlooms, and expensive pieces should be kept out of a dog’s reach. Consider getting on all fours and crawling around the room. Look at the room from the perspective of your pet to see what they see and what may be of potential interest. Large breed dog owners should come up to a kneeling position and determine what a dog can get into at this height. Then plan your accessory placement accordingly.

Stylish Walls:

Teach Fido not to jump early. Scratches and dents in walls can be difficult to repair. Flat paint will be nearly impossible to clean. Consider painting in a satin, eggshell, or semi-gloss which is the easiest to wipe up.

Doggie Design is within an owner’s reach. Practicality and function can blend seamlessly with personal taste -the owner’s and the dogs. With so many choices available, there’s no reason for owners to feel they are living in a dog house. Stylish sofas, fabulous floors, and fine furnishings will make Fido and family the envy of the neighborhood.

© 2007 Darlene White, Simplicity Home Staging & Design

A New Book Marketing Strategy – Single Book With Multiple Covers

When people purchase a book, other than content, book cover is one of the major factors affect their decisions. Targeting this situation, adding different covers for the same book has become a fruitful strategy for book marketers.

For example, Fourth Estate’s new book has two different covers: one black and the other white. Other publishers such as Canongate also design multiple covers for their published books to attract more readers.

The new book by Stephen King, “Under the Dome”, has five paperback versions with different book covers made by its publishing house. Although adding extra cover design costs more, Lucy Hull the person in charge of marketing thinks it still worth a try. Even these five versions didn’t make significant improvement to the selling figures so far, she has faith it will work out in a long run by converting potential readers to Stephen King’s book’s fans in the future.

This strategy is now accepted by many bookstores. For instance, British bookstore Waterstone has put all five versions of “Under the Dome” paperback onto its book shelf to attract readers’ attention. Many other publishers are considering adopting this strategy as well. Mrs. Hull told the media that Amazon bought all five versions, but they will randomly choose one send to customers when they make the purchase. Thus compared to online bookstores, local bookstores take the advantage of displaying on the shelf and better visual impression.

The big name publishing house – Penguin adopted this single book multiple cover marketing strategy, too. For example, “Sense and Sensibility (Penguin Classics) has four different covers. One of Penguin’s publisher staff said: “Penguin always pays huge attention to book cover design, especially for the books in Penguin Classics. Because people are familiar with the content of these books, a good and high quality cover design therefore is more important. Public domain books can be published by any publishing house. The key to make Penguin’s success is that we are making the design with our hearts.”