Written by Margie Deeb

margie_deeb_cmykTwice a year, I create the Color Report for Bead & Jewelry Designers. Within its digital pages, by way of instructions, examples, proportion-specific palettes, and beadwork, I demonstrate how to work with the 10 specific colors that Pantone has forecasted for the current season.

Color is important to the fashion industry, but it’s more. It influences life and our moods. It draws our eye toward something, heats us up, relaxes us. As designers—fashion or interior— we use color to create drama and depth or to produce different effects. Twice each year, the color forecasters at Pantone meet to choose an upcoming season’s colors. There’s a lot more to color forecasting than you might think.

Keith Recker, who forecasts for Pantone and WGSN (an online trend-forecasting firm) says “In forecasting we try to sniff out what people are thinking about, what they will be needing, what they are lacking in terms of psychology, spirituality, sociology, their economy, then we start to find our way into color.”

2016-09-22-11-27-55-hdr“One of the factors that came into play when forecasting in 2011 was the U.S. presidential election cycle. Events told us it was going to be high-volume, high-conflict. A lot of people would be either embracing that conflict and wearing colors of protest: patterns that are graffiti-like and maybe a bit angry and maybe a bit lost, suspecting that our institutions might not be representing us appropriately. And other people would be having the opposite reaction: to find the most peaceful, least conflicting, most nourishing position away from all the conflict. Both of these narratives have pretty specific color values associated with them.”

In her book Color: Messages and Meanings, Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute® writes “Don’t make the assumption that all the new color trends come from fashion.” She describes the influence the Apple iPod commercials had on color (remember the dancing silhouettes on brightly colored backgrounds). This is an example of color influence coming from the graphic design field. All the greens being used in the past decade have come from the emergence of environmentalism in the 90s.

2016-09-23-12-03-58As to the application of the forecasted colors and how to work with them, I’ve always encouraged my readers to use them as a starting point. You need not use the exact colors presented. Let those colors inspire you. Recker says “Use the forecasts as the beginning of the creative conversation. We put together these narratives and do our best to describe why the color palettes are relevant and perhaps how to use and combine them.”

Professional designers take the forecasts and use them as the beginning of a process of tailoring the information in a way that’s right for their product and their customer base. A fashion designer with a presence in a cutting-edge market will use the forecast in a very different way than a fashion house selling in the mass market, and the same thing [applies] in the home furnishing industry.”

Colors can bring your home to life by playing off each other. Put them to work for you.


Red & Yellow & Green & Blue for 2017

While Pantone’s colors for 2016 (Rose Quartz and Serenity) were soft colors that had a romantic and calm effect on consumers, forecasters say that the 2017 choices—which the Institute will announce in December—will go in a bolder direction. Indeed, the Fall 2016 color palette are more vivacious and playful than the warm rose and cool blue of the years colors.

The following 10 colors represent the Fall 2016 palette:

Airy Blue is a throwback to Serenity, a cool and peaceful blue that pairs well with bolder colors.

Dusty Rose is another throwback to the 2016 color palette’s Rose Quartz. It is bolder and warmer than its predecessor.

Riverside is a new blue that, while cool and calm, is vibrant
and sophisticated.

Sharkskin is that neutral grey that goes with any color, bright or muted.

Warm Taupe is another timeless neutral that pairs well with the other colors in the palette.

Potter’s Clay is an adobe-inspired russet with a strong, earthy feel to it.

Aurora Red is a warm, bold red that exudes confidence.

Mustard Yellow is a spicy, vibrant yellow.

Bodacious is a purplish-pink that looks just like its name. Bright and rich, you can pair it with pinks and reds.

Lush Meadow, a bright and deep green that is still elegant and rich, is a nod to fresh botanicals.

By the way, a lot of forecasters are predicting that Hunter Green will be one of the colors for 2017. We’ll let you know when the Institute makes their announcement.

For more information on color palettes, visit pantone.com.