Maison & Objet

October 9, 2016 § 2 Comments


My associate and fellow color enthusiast, Melissa Bolt, and I had the pleasure of attending the fabulous home furnishing show, Maison&Objet, in Paris last month.


That city with all its design influences hosts a show that is a feast for the eyes.



There are eight stadium-sized halls, all inter-connected and filled with everything from housewares, textiles, furniture, and tabletop, to lighting, carpeting, giftware, and home accessories.










There is an area we especially look forward to visiting called Atelier that offers the most original and colorful wares, including wearable art and jewelry. Another area that we love is a special section devoted to young artists and artisans, many of whom are just starting in business.  It is more than trés jolie.


Of course, being in Paris also means eating great food, visiting interesting areas of the city, conversing with the people, and we manage to squeeze in a bit of shopping!





We decided to share some of the two thousand images that Melissa takes during the show and on the streets of this amazing city that ultimately can influence the forecasts that we develop for Pantone. There are many other factors and trade shows that can influence trend forecasts, however, what we see in Paris is a major and treasured source of information and inspiration


Travel Posters Colorful Palettes For Inspiration

July 31, 2013 § 2 Comments

July 31, 2013

I was perusing the Huffington Post when I spotted the story (link at the bottom) on vintage travel posters and was reminded of some of the wonderful posters that we came across when we were doing research for my latest book Pantone The 20th Century in Color

There is something magically transportive in seeing these fantastic illustrations of life in far away places. The colors, mood, and feeling all come together to entice the eager traveller to get away. The following is an excerpt from the book that can be found in a section addressing the colorful 1920s called “Destinations.”

Image via

Image via

Though post-WWI nationalism made international travel a little more complicated, improvements in train and ship lines gave it a stylish sense of luxury and adventure. The forward march of technology also made speed part of the thrill. 

Graphic designers did their part to build desire for cities like Paris and London with elegant posters that glamorized both destinations and their inhabitants-who all seemed to wear the latest fashions. Resorts like Nice and Vichy also benefitted from such marketing: resort towns that relatively few had heard of became worldwide household names. 

Image via

Image via

The color language found in travel posters of the day frequently employed the coppery tones of suntans and the warm neutrals of sand and sunlight. Silvery greens gave elegant life to oceans and rivers, and olives and browns to the landscape.

Vintage Travel Posters Show Tourism’s Hayday.

Creating A Dynamic Work Space With Light And Color

September 12, 2012 § Leave a comment

September 12, 2012

I have answered many questions about color in my work. So many questions that I wrote the Color Answer Book to help to quell a lot of recurring themes. One specific question is how to create the illusion of more open space when working in a colorless cubicle with no windows.

This is the view from my desk. I am fortunate to have a home office where there is plenty of natural light which is crucial to color matching.

My answer is as follows.

Many employees complain about lackluster surroundings and how uninspiring they can be. The lack of natural light coming into a space can be so depressing, but color can certainly help to create specific illusions in our surroundings. First of all, bring some sunshine into the space by using some yellow, especially in the spot facing your desk. This can be in a painted surface such as the facing wall or, if it is not possible to repaint the wall, in a piece of art or a poster. Yellow is most closely associated in the human mind with sunshine and good cheer, and will make the space appear larger and lighter.

Isn’t this an inspiring office space? The lighting creates the sense of movement.

 Another method of opening up a cramped space is to use blue on the ceiling (suggestive of the sky), and if you can sponge on some white puffy clouds, all the better.

This may seem a bit extreme but new research is supporting the theory that “natural daylight is better for humans than the fluorescent bulbs most of us languish under for eight to 10 hours a day. Adding windows or simply improving artificial light in offices has been shown to increase productivity, boost morale and reduce the number of sick days, headaches and cases of eyestrain among workers.”

German applied-research group Fraunhofer is working on a balanced color spectrum of LED bulbs that will turn office ceilings into a lighting system that mimics the daylight sky with movement and changing hues.

Image Via

This technology might not be available in your office any time soon. In the meantime you can stick with my tips of bringing yellow into the space and if your boss will allow, paint the ceiling blue and don’t forget the clouds.

Do you work in a windowless office in a cubicle? How do you keep the doldrums away at your desk?

Click the link below for the full article.

Sky light sky bright – in the office – Research News January 2012 – Topic 1.

Design Principles: Color

August 2, 2012 § 2 Comments

August 2, 2012


Are you into trends?


In my book Color: Messages and Meanings I highlight variations in color families and bring broader insights to the meanings and consumer responses to color(s). Some of the insights I share are about trends and I give you guidelines on how to spot them.


Do you have an eye for spotting trends?


Here is an excerpt from the book.


“Spotting future trends is much like detective work. It’s not the one big ‘AHA’ that hits you but rather a string of clues that leads to the ultimate realization. It’s very important to view the big picture first-the macro level that precedes the micro.


Fashion is most often the forerunner to color trends, but one season of a “hot” color doesn’t do it. One or two seasons of a hot color is still a fad. But tracking a ‘new’ color for several seasons will tell you if it translates from fad to trend. Read the magazines or visit the websites that talk about trends. If a trend is growing, you will see it in more than one resource.”


That brings us to the May issue of Graphic Design USA (GDUSA). Graphic designers are “tuning in” to the trends. Some trends may start in fashion but as more people embrace these trends we will continue to see them in areas such as website design, interior design, typography, and graphic design as an important design principle.


What role does the color forecast play in your life? Does it inspire you to repaint your home? Do you invest in a key wardrobe piece for a season (or two)?


Pantone Fashion Color Report – May 2012 Annual Color Forecast.

The Challenge Of The Light Bulb

October 18, 2011 § 6 Comments

October 18, 2011
As you know, if you are a follower of our blog, we often refer to articles from Wired Magazine. At one time a publication only for techies, the magazine has become much more user-friendly, especially for those of us who appreciate a bit of simplification.
In a recent issue, there was an article on lighting that explained some of the changes and new technologies that have affected color rendering. One of the most fascinating aspects of the article, written by Dan Koeppel, is the resistance that many consumers have in changing to the newer bulbs and fixtures that are so different from those products we are more accustomed to.
Credit: Philips Lighting

Koeppel observes: ”Evolutionary biologists believe that human lighting preferences are the result of our trichromatic vision—rare in non-primates—which makes us particularly suited to daylight and perception of primary colors. There’s an anthropological component as well; for 4,000 years, humankind has been banishing darkness with fire. And Edison’s bulb, at its core, is a burning filament that casts a glow of flame. Abandoning incandescent bulbs means abandoning fire as our primary light source for the first time in human history.”

I never thought about it that way, but it certainly makes sense and answers the resistance that is being shown to accepting the newer look in light bulbs. Actually, from a design standpoint, some of the squiggly shapes of the newer energy saving bulbs are really quite interesting. The challenge is balancing a lampshade on some of them. However, there are some manufacturers that are using the odd shapes as a design component.

Plumen 001

A chart explains the meaning of color temperature very simply. It states: “Expressed in degrees Kelvin, this is how we measure things like soft white or daylight. A pleasant soft white will have a color temperature of 3000K. White light ranges from 4100K to 6000K, roughly equal to noonday sun. Higher numbers get increasingly bluer”.

Bill Buxton Appreciates History

September 6, 2011 § Leave a comment

September 6, 2011

Design History Appreciated
by Bill Buxton

Back in 1926, Kodak launched the third generation of its all-black Vest Pocket camera line, the Series III. It sold well, but the company wanted to expand the market and make the camera appeal to women as well as men. To help with this, Kodak turned to designer Walter Dorwin Teague. His concept was to release essentially the same camera but in five distinct and different colors packaged in color-matched satin-lined boxes. This version of the camera was released in April 1928 under the name Vanity Kodak.

1928 Vanity Kodak ad

In 2003, Apple Computer launched the third generation of its all-white MP3 music player, the iPod. It sold well, but the company wanted to expand the market and make the iPod appeal to women as well as men. To help with this, Apple turned to its lead designer, Jonathan Ive. His concept was to release a smaller version of its MP3 player in five distinct and different colors. This version of the iPod was released in January 2004 under the name iPod Mini.

2004 iPod Mini ad

One started from black, the other from white. The strategies were the same, the numbers the same and the colors the same.

Walter Dorwin Teague was Chuck Berry to Jonathan Ive’s Keith Richards. It was a matter of respect and inspiration, not plagiarism or copying. It was also an act that increases, rather than diminishes, the respect due to Ive, since designers are measured by who they quote in their designs, how and when.  

To read the full article….

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