December 22, 2015
Recently, I had the great pleasure of visiting my colleague and former student, Rami Kim, in Seoul, Korea. She owns and runs an academy of color where she teaches classes on many aspects of color (visit rcgcolor.com). Her multi-age school offers programs for young children all the way through adulthood, and caters to color professionals and non-pros alike.
She truly has a passion for color and feels, just as I do, that color education never stops. It is ever-evolving and even though some color tenets can remain the same, such a the classic color wheel, Rami agrees that there is now a lot more space for new ideas emerging about color from various cultures and that is one of the reasons for her coming to my classes in the U.S. She also agrees that staying on top of the emotional color cues, as well as the newest trends in color, is more important than ever.
Rami’s background is quite amazing. She had a serious automobile accident while still a student and was hospitalized for three months. During that time and at a young age, she decided to pursue her passion for color and developed the concept of what eventually became her color academy.
Starting with just two students, she eventually built her school into a thriving and respected business. While in Seoul I visited her school and met with four members of her staff. It was a special day for all of us!!
November 12, 2015
What color-lover doesn’t love Fall with all its shades of gold and orange, browns and rusty-reds? But how often do we think of some of the other fall colors as, well, fall colors?
There is, for those of us in the northwestern corner of the United States and similar climates, a wistfulness at the sight of our lush green trees of summer turning the corner towards fall with their leaves accepting a coral tinge. But what a fresh spring palette this appears to be!
Soon enough, an entire page of Pantone® corals…..
… is lighting up the view from our office…
…and we settle in and appreciate the wonder of Mother Nature’s color combinations.
October 26, 2015
One of my students recently asked me how it is that someone is able to pull off different Colortimes®. (Colortime® refers to my system for determining one’s best personal image colors based on hair color, eye color, and skin tone.) Here is my answer:
Anyone who has constant access to professional stylists or the money and time to constantly change their “look” could probably dress in any Colortime® they choose, depending on a whim or their mood. This is why you see someone like Olivia Wilde looking so different in many photos.
Julianne Moore is another excellent example of how her looks are changed for various photo shoots. If she chooses to wear an emerald green dress to an awards dinner, her makeup artist will likely use on her a very fair, cool tone foundation and play up the green in her eyes. Her stylists know how to advise on all of this—that’s why she always looks so good.
Celebrities also have the benefit of being under flattering lighting be it for TV, film, stage, or photo shoots where flaws can be corrected, and these “tricks of the trade” are always available to them. There are also the “fashionistas” and “creatives” who enjoy changing their looks from day to day—they really embrace the process.
However, there is the reality of the woman or man who has little time, a limited budget, or just doesn’t have the know-how to make calculated style changes. He wants to know that all his ties go with his suits. She wants to reach into her makeup drawer and pull out cosmetics that work for her coloring. This is where starting out in a basic Colortime® makes so much sense. Many of us want a method that is reliable, a color palette that will look good and be so well coordinated that it doesn’t take much time or money to feel confident. A Colortime® consultant teaches the basics of the theory and demonstrates its practical application.
What is your best chameleon moment?
October 7, 2015
As some of you may know, my husband, Herb, is a voting member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. His career in film and music has certainly helped me to be more aware of the importance of film in formulating public notions about color and design. We subscribe to many periodicals and view many of the films nominated for Academy Awards, and I am constantly researching film archives as well as present-day films to better inform my work in forecasting.
I was recently watching the trailer for the film Suffragette and was instantly captured by the story about the fight for the women’s right to vote. It is hard to deny the value of the movement and the importance of this period of time considering that we as a nation benefit from this movement.
I have read many books and seen some notable film, television, and stage shows about the early Suffrage efforts, so I wanted to highlight one compelling point of this particular movie that is almost a supporting character: the color used to convey the mood of this film.
In my talks this past year, I have been discussing the use of “umbered undertones” in current and future films. That expression comes from the somewhat murky tones that are being seen in both children’s films, where so many color stories come from, as well as films for grown-ups. Those more somber tones often reflect the nature, theme, mood, or historic setting of a particular film.
Suffragette reflects a historic time period when there were no Technicolor films, and the theme of the film is a rather sobering subject—women’s struggles in the pre-1920’s to get enacted their legal right to vote, and the indignities and abuse they suffered—hardly the stuff of bright Technicolor effects! Interestingly, the American suffragette colors of violet, white, and gold were very similar to the green, white, and violet carried by their British counterparts. It is believed that the British Suffragettes chose those shades because they represented the first letters of each color and translated into: “Give (green) Women (white) Votes (violet.)
We can expect these “umbered” tones to have a long shelf-life because of films like Mockingjay Part One, which was part of the popular Hunger Games series. Part Two will come this Fall, and the stage show will appear in 2016. Some TV shows are also showing these same effects. Super Girl of 2015 is wearing more somber colored garb than sported by Linda Carter in the Wonder Woman series of the 1970s.
If you were choosing colors to represent the cause of the suffragettes, what colors would you choose and why?
September 24, 2015
Kartell is an Italian company that makes and sells plastic contemporary furniture. Headquartered in Milan, they began manufacturing automobile accessories in 1949 and expanded into contract and home furnishings in 1963.
They have now forged an interesting partnership with one of the most imaginative fashion designers with a long-standing reputation in the use of unique color and pattern combinations. Christian LaCroix became the darling of the fashion runways in the 80s, but the 90s and early 2000s saw a decline in both business and attention. However, in recent years, we have seen his name on the ascendancy again, this time combining with “Kartell à la Mode,” as it is being called, in creating and producing a new handbag line.
Available in two sizes, a tote and a clutch bag, the fabrication is injection-molded plastic, a material that Kartell is referring to as “rich and sensual,” certainly not the usual connotation and impression of plastic. The shapes are geometric in design and both styles will be available in five colors, although those five colors have not been named yet.
Kartell has a recent history of producing some other intriguing, industrial–inspired molded plastic in inventive fashion forward looks and, very recently, they partnered with No.21, a Milanese shoe manufacturer. Called “The Knot,” the provocative and intricate styling on the sandal is quite unique, one that takes special skills to make. It is available in five colors: black, powder pink, mustard yellow, khaki green, and burgundy.
The look of the shoes fits very well into the influences we saw recently in Paris. Stilettos have given way to much lower heels, with sneakers being the “shoe du jour” in every imaginable color, pattern and, most often, with sparkle.
Question: What do you think of the color range of the Knot? Would you wear this kind of shoe?
September 15, 2015
If you didn’t know already, I travel…a LOT! My most recent trip was to Maison & Objet, a lifestyle uber tradeshow featuring all things “design.” It takes place at an exhibition center outside of Paris and covers 246,000 square meters or about 61 acres.
My traveling companion, assistant, and color/design associate, Melissa Bolt, walked every inch of the show with me, photographing our foray into the stadium-size halls.
We became immediately aware of the presence of design trends we have noted in recent seasons:
Eyeglasses as wall art and part of home décor accessories,…
…Owls peering from their perches,…
…Butterflies still flying high,…
…Shoes as wearable art,…
… crowns that are not exclusively for royalty,
…and concentric circles, as seen in these South African wire bowls
to name just a few.
August 27, 2015
My good friend and colleague, Patricia Nugent, curator of a surprisingly vast textile collection, opened her nearby Seattle showroom to us so that my Color/Design Associate, Melissa Bolt, and I could hunt for special fabrics from Pat’s collection for our latest book, coming out early next year. Not only is a visit to Pat’s studio a walk down memory lane in terms of all the vintage fabrics in her collection, but it is also a study in the kind of quality and artistry that attracts top designers from around the globe for inspiration. Thank you, Pat!
Okay, if you must know, the book takes a look at interiors via the Color Clock™ system I developed for my book More Alive With Color.
Can you determine what Colortime® and/or what decade each of these vintage fabrics illustrates?
August 17, 2015
The Metropolitan Museum of Art has been showing four of van Gogh’s paintings— those he did just before leaving the asylum he was in for two years. In the link you will see the comment that caught my eye: ” Vincent van Gogh (1853–1890) brought his work in Provence to a close with exuberant bouquets of spring flowers—two of irises and two of roses, in contrasting formats and color schemes—in which he sought to impart a “calm, unremitting ardor” to his “last touch of the brush.”
(There is also a video to watch. See link at the bottom.)
For art lovers out there the images on the Met site and the video give some interesting insights into the colors that he used to impart that feeling.
Take a moment to stop and smell the roses, so to speak.
What are your favorite Van Gogh works?
August 12, 2015
I was surfing the web last week when I found an article on Vera Neumann published by Elle.com in Mexico. If you’re not familiar with , you are in for a real treat.
In 2010 Susan Seid wrote a very beautiful book called Vera The Art and Life of an Icon. It is filled with wonderful and colorful photographs of Vera’s history. In it Susan states:
“Vera Neumann was an unlikely revolutionary–her tiny five-foot-tall frame typically dressed in mod tunics and a bold scarf, armed with a quick wit but a shy demeanor. But Vera—the innovator of cross-licensing and one of the most successful female entrepreneurs of her time–had a radical philosophy: fine art should be accessible to everyone, not just a select few. She believed that artwork should not be relegated to walls. Rather, people should surround themselves with art–wear it, eat off it, and sleep under it. And why not? Great art endures. It lifts your sprit and makes you feel better. Vera’s art certainly does. It is bright, happy, and inspirational.”
A year after Susan Seid’s book came out, I made note of Vera Neumann in my book Pantone: The 20th Century in Color. The chapter is aptly named “Colors and Coordinates,” where I said, “Designer and artist Vera Neumann didn’t seem to need any help understanding color interactions, or the way color creates a mood.”
Seid has quoted Vera as saying to the Washington Post in 1978, “Color is the language I speak best,” and, “Color is such a marvelous way of expressing emotion. We have so many problems in the world, color brings just a little bit of joy into our lives.”
I agree wholeheartedly.
If you are not familiar with Vera, a quick Google search will bring you into the colorful wonder of Vera Neumann.
Vera’s designs are still being licensed now, more than ten years after her death. Their longevity is her longevity. And for those of us who were around when she first came on the scene, it is a welcome reminder of a colorfully artistic era to see her famous logo still used today.
August 6, 2015
It has been just about one month since I wrapped up my summer color/design course. It is a busy few weeks after the class. We are putting stuff away, getting prepared for the next class and chatting about all of the wonderful people we’ve just met and the ones who have taken the course previously. It was in that discussion where we remembered one student in particular, whose experience in class had such a colorful impact on her daughter that she gave her young daughter an impromptu color/class in the days that followed. We did a blog post about their experience because it was too adorable and it showed us all (I am sure her mother knew) that a child’s love of color is insightful and shows no bounds. Color is an important factor in childhood development and one day could ultimately lead to a career that involves color, including consulting.
Click here for the original story.
We caught up with Amy Anderson and her daughter Sofia to find out how Sofia is using her color skills today. We thought it would be fun to do a Q&A and, as a budding color professional, Sofia nailed it. She has a true gift for color and her choices are just as on-trend today as they were then.
Below are their responses:
Are you enjoying your summer so far?
Yes, it’s awesome!
What have you been working on since your color class?
In my art class at school, I made an orange cheetah mask with papier-mâché and my self-portrait. At home, I’ve been working on my own logo for “Sofia’s Colors.” I love color and art!
Are you pleased to see that your magic yogurt maker color palette is all over the fashion scene?
Yes, I love neon because it’s very bright and I like bright colors. They make me feel happy and energized.
Are you wearing neon? If so, what is your favorite piece?
Yes! My neon pink cardigan sweater is my favorite. It goes with everything.
What is your next project?
I’m really excited about metallic colors. I really like my metallic silver Birkenstocks! I’m working on a palette for a new product I want to create like the magic yogurt maker. Last week I went to the Paint Lab and picked out metallic color swatches: fire opal metallic, amethyst, sapphire, tourmaline, topaz, ballroom gold, aluminum and emerald.
July 23, 2015
Here is an update on fashion upstart, Hickies®, one of our former clients. You can read the original blog post here.
Not familiar with HICKIES®? In their own words:
“HICKIES® is an elastic lacing system that replaces traditional shoelaces and lets you easily slip in and out of your shoes while keeping them snug and secure. Never tie or untie your shoes again! Get rid of the bows and customize your footwear.”
It wasn’t that long ago when I was visiting a popular site called The Grommet, when I saw HICKIES® prominently positioned on their front page. I was instantly reminded of what I knew back then: that this concept is stellar and they have certainly found their following.
I couldn’t be more pleased!
It’s phenomenal to see what can come of your dreams when they are supported by your peers and a grassroots network with Kickstarter. I remember the excitement and energy of this company and I couldn’t be more pleased with their continued success.
Cheers to you, HICKIES®! We look forward to your continued success.
July 9, 2015
Just like many of you, I am constantly online working, either reading and responding to email or doing research, and I am blessed that my work is FUN!. Recently I received a message from a fellow color lover, Piali Dasgupta, a Fashion Editor for Amazon India/Style Diaries, with a special request to discuss the color yellow, and not just any yellow but Pantone’s Minion Yellow.
Please click the link below to read the full interview.
July 2, 2015
I love this beautiful Marsala, Pantone Color of the Year collage, that my friend and colleague, Bridget Frizzie, created for Kehoe Designs.
Thank you for sharing this wonderful Marsala compilation with us.
What are some of your favorite Marsala moments?
June 25, 2015
Discovering or rediscovering history is something I truly enjoy. What can be more life-affirming than a trip down memory lane? It’s fun looking back at the signposts that are left of a life once lived, reflecting on the food, fashion, and music of eras gone by is something both the young and the old enjoy. How many times have you seen the Internet meme celebrating the wonders of the past?
Today is wonderful but yesterday was something else, especially when it is tangible. There is nothing like feeling and smelling these relics from our past. I’ve heard it said that “the nose is the doorway to nostalgia,” especially if you read old books.
I was flipping through one old book in particular when I realized I was completely transported, not just by the old-book scent, but also by the wonder and promise that this first-of-its-kind forecast held. The book that I am referring to is the venerable textile manufacturer Hockanum’s Coast-to-Coast Woolens fall 1955 fabric color trend forecast. You might be familiar with it if you have read Pantone: The 20th Century in Color, as it was featured in the chapter between Cosmetic Superstars and Fantasyland.
Below is the foreward from the Hockanum forecast:
“From coast to coast, America soars, sails, rides, treks, walks. America goes places. So does Hockanum.
Here, in a few pages, is a fast trip through Hockanum Coast-to-Coast Woolens for Fall ’55. Not all of the collection is here, of course – but there is enough to give you a quick look at our Fall color story, with proposed coordinates – and a lightning idea of some of our non-stop fabrics.
The new trend toward ensembles shows up clearly. One fabric links itself to another – and yet another. Colors stand alone with strength, or fall into costume groups, giving each other additional grace and impact.
The fabrics have gone into all markets – coats, suits, dresses, sportswear, separates. There you will come upon them again – and we hope you will find the helpful signposts, pointing the way to a good, successful season.”
This forecast was a blast from the past, but as familiar and comforting as the fashions we loved on Mad Men.
May 21, 2015
I was talking with the ladies in my office about missing the final episode of the David Letterman Show.
Did any of you watch it?
I was fortunate enough to have gotten to be on the Letterman show many years ago. It was one of the most exciting yet unnerving experiences. I had to audition for nine people, including Lorne Michaels.
It was one of those days where everything that could have gone wrong did. My flight was late to arrive. It rained in biblical proportions and I was caught without my raincoat.
In spite of all of those obstacles, I managed to get the spot.
I am thrilled to say that I did David Letterman’s colors. He falls into the Sunlight Colortime® and he also seems to favor the Crossover colors.
I am sad to say goodbye but forever grateful for the opportunity and experience to have gotten to be a part of history.
So long Dave.
Thank you for this wonderful write up, Lori E.
May 21, 2015
Was the uber-influential 1980s design collective Memphis named after a Bob Dylan song, the capital of ancient Egypt, or the birthplace of Elvis Presley? The first answer is correct, but Memphis founder Ettore Sottsass would have loved the question: Memphis was a deliberate mash-up of high- and low-culture references, expensive and cheap materials, functionality and playfulness.
Sottsass was in his sixties when he gathered a bunch of European twenty-somethings to launch Memphis during the 1981 Milan Furniture Fair. Their provocative, zany offerings, including Sottsass’s Carlton Cabinet, attracted immediate media endorsement, and Memphis was star material right off the bat.
It is wonderful to see this movement having another moment in 2015. The color palette may have slightly softened to speak to today’s color palette but the feeling, context and the design elements are enduring.
Please take a moment to click the link to see how the Memphis movement looks today.
April 23, 2015
Originally posted November 19, 2010
Vision Scientist Studies Color Contrast, Illusions
By Sonja Patterson
“Your eyes may be playing tricks on you. Without your even knowing it.”
“The whole world is an illusion,” says Arthur Shapiro, a vision science researcher and psychology professor.
“It’s easy to believe that when you look out into the world, you’re seeing what’s really there and not just a representation of what’s really there. The distinction between our perceptions and reality is an important one, and people should understand it,” he adds, “as much as they can.”
Read more HERE
Look at Dr. Shapiro’s illusions by clicking HERE
April 22, 2015
“If you had any doubts that pop culture now defines a big chunk of the fashion world, not to mention the fashion you see and will potentially buy, this should put them to rest.”
Follow the link for more.
April 2, 2015
Originally posted on February 1, 2010
As the spring is approaching we found it fitting and inspiring to share a story about gardening. If you are looking for inspiration for your summer garden why not start with the color blue? Keeyla Meadows was inspired by a specific blue (Majorelle blue) found in the personal garden of Jacques Majorelle.
As a true fan of the color blue I was thrilled to read about the use of blue as the focal point for which a wonderful garden is inspired. It might not seem that blue would be a good choice to build a garden around but as it is written in the Pantone Guide to Communicating with Color, blue seems like the perfect choice.
The color blue is strongly associated with sky and water, blue is perceived as a constant in our lives. In the presence of a blue environment, we feel calm. Humans are soothed and replenished when they view blue and there is some evidence that when blue enters our line of vision, the brain sends our chemical signals that work as a tranquilizer. Blue is an excellent choice for areas demanding mental concentration or for products and environments that invite concentration or relaxing, “meditative” moods.
“The changing color of a chameleon’s body is an impressive sight—but how it happens has long been a significant scientific question without a compelling answer. Now, researchers have identified a thin layer of deformable nanocyrstals in their skin which gives rise to the phenomenon.”
The final portion of this blog post on the color changing trend is courtesy of technology trends.
Technology is also impacting product development with amazing effects in fabrics and fabrications. These products change color based on the heat generated by the wearer’s neural activity.
March 5, 2015
I woke up singing “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” and feeling a little nostalgic. The lyric “It was twenty years ago today” was in repeat in my head. Feeling inspired, I thought it might be fun to take a look back at some vintage advertising from the 80s, hence the post title. As many of you trend followers are aware, right now fashion is all about the 80s, especially for kids. So, why not revisit the time that is so heavily influencing us right now.
It was fun and shocking to see all of the funky fashion. I was most taken by the use of Honeysuckle. I know, I know, you may be growing tired of all the talk of this color but I promise this post will be a little different.
There are many interesting “trends” happening now that were also happening in the 80s. Brace yourselves.
Frankie says relax don’t do it….Fur and Honeysuckle.
I haven’t been brave enough to try this look as an adult. Socks and sandals…I might need to leave this one to the kids.
This fantastic graphic in Black, White and Red with Honeysuckle. Can’t you just see Lady Gaga in these shades. Rah Rah ooh la la.
I think this chair is the only item that seems to be timeless and just happens to be pink. Good design never goes out of style.
Good golly Miss Molly and John Crier and Pink, oh my!
I hope you had fun in this 80s time warp. It seems like such a long time ago and yet so very current. Was it too horrifying for you? I don’t think any of these images are nearly as scary as some of my personal fashion statements from then.
February 4, 2015
In the last year we’ve seen and talked about the butterfly as a fashion statement but we haven’t spent as much time talking about the butterfly as a symbol of change or the metamorphosis.
The term metamorphosis is evocative of so many different things. The thesaurus puts it into the perfect context for this conversation. “his amazing metamorphosis from gawky hayseed to sexy pop star.” Additional terms to describe metamorphosis: transformation, mutation, transmutation, change, alteration, conversion, modification, remodeling, reconstruction; humorous transmogrification; formal transubstantiation. Some pretty lofty words here, but they are all about change.
In an article titled Oscars 2014: The Year of Metamorphosis written by Jenelle Riley in the December issue of Variety, Riley has done a great job in articulating the spirit of metamorphosis our favorite actors have gone through for some of the top movies of 2014.
These days, it’s not enough to be good looking and a good actor. It’s just as important to be willing to adapt and transform yourself for that perfect role. That might mean adding prosthetic pieces, losing/gaining weight or simply baring it all with reckless abandon. Anyway you slice it, the critics all agree that the key is in the transformation.
When we see our favorite actor in a movie, it’s truly exciting to see them morph into someone we don’t recognize and even more thrilling when they capture a spirit that we’ve not yet seen from them.
What is more fun than going to the movies and having your mind blown from the story or the setting, the actor or the acting, or the costumes? One might say that this year’s Oscar contenders far outshine their stunning wardrobes. Lucky for us that there is room enough for accolades all around.
I find that the term transformation can also be applied to the students in my color class. I revel in the various levels of expertise and knowledge of color that my students bring to the table. In the four days we share together I too experience a transformation in myself as well as witnessing that change in the students.
What star had the biggest metamorphosis that made you take notice? Was there a specific color related to that change that “spoke” to you?