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Sunday, May 1, 2011

Notes on Color 
by Nanette La Salle
Pantone Inc. is located in Carlstadt, New Jersey. They are best know for establishing the Pantone Matching System whose main purpose was to standardize the reproduction of color. Mostly used for print, they developed the CMYK process in which a color is created by combining specific quantities of cyan, magenta, yellow and black inks. These formulas provide a means for color communication, giving us a language which allows for exact reproduction of color.
Annually the Pantone group, along with a team of others, predicts seasonal palettes for the year driving business to update their products, prodding consumers to buy, making last years goods seem obsolete. This economic trend is embraced by the fashion industry where it is implied that you are “less than hip” if you don’t keep pace. Wanting to feel better, and not wanting to appear “behind the times,” some buy items they don’t need and can not afford. This behavior strains not only our finances and but the worlds resources.
Granted, color is fun and Paris runways must be exciting. For those in art, fashion and design, color is an essential part of our work, but maybe we could design more responsibly and encourage this with our clients. For example, French women have often been recognized for their great fashion sense yet they rarely fall victim to fads, choosing stylish, well tailored, well made basics. They focus on fit and what works for the individual, in general, they don’t pursue the latest trend.
Trends: 2010 - 2011 - The Economic Effect
Earlier this year, Pantone named Turquoise as the color of the year and it can now be found all throughout the fashion, interior, and graphic industries. The color was chosen because it “evokes thoughts of soothing, tropical waters and an escape from the everyday troubles of the world, while at the same time restoring our sense of well being.” Color trends for all areas of design are most often chosen based on our current economic and social trends. We have been living in a world economic crisis and it’s no wonder a color was picked to represent an escape from our everyday lives.
The current economy continues to haunt us and that translates into a desire for the better days of the past. We are saving money, and trying to go green by repurposing, recycling, and reusing the materials available around us. For 2011, with money on the back-burner, there will be a foreseen focus on family and preserving and exploring the past. What does this mean for design? Picture old, heirloom colors, distressed finished and earthy hues of brown, green and blue. We’ll seek styles that bring us comfort, reminiscent of our heritage and roots. Trend analysts are foreseeing a large interest in patterns, textures and colors that have a global influence. Renewed Aboriginal, Tribal and bold geometric patterns will be set off with amber tones, tomato reds, and sea blues, balanced by earthy neutrals like putty and sand.
To keep money in our wallets, we will also crave to keep things simple. Tones of gray and white will be the hottest neutrals and will be popped with warm butter yellows and taupes. To keep things sophisticated, understated washes of gold and champagne metallics will make their way into this upcoming 2011 season’s pallet. We should find all of these trends reflected in paint and fabric, and we will probably find overlapping in graphic design, by the use of simple and warm-colored hues, printed textures, and a mixture of patterns throughout collateral.

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