Monday, January 23rd, 2012
In case you haven’t been reading the blogosphere fanatically, you might not know that Pantone has unveiled their Color of 2012.
Tangerine Tango is the Color of 2012, and I couldn’t be happier.
Last year’s Honeysuckle was alright, but Tangerine Tango fits in with all the color trending I’ve been seeing the past year.
You know I’m a fan of orange, and this is just the deeper orange range I prefer to play with. No apricot or peach tones for me. Deep saturation? Yes, please. This is more in the direction of the persimmon color I’m planning to paint my front door this summer. (I hinted at this in a post about front entries this summer.)
My favorite boxes for stashing supplies are a bold orange.
Boxes by Stockholm from The Container Store.
I just tried to create an image of my house with the updated paint color with the Sherwin-Williams Color Visualizer program, but the color rendering was terrible because it layered the color selected over the existing color which dramatically changed how every color looked. Bummer.
Here is one of their stock house photos with the door “painted” SW 6881 Cayenne. I think it would actually be deeper than this.
So I guess this is the closest I can get to showing the paint color ideas I have in mind.
The top color is a deeper persimmon with more red in it. The middle is closer to the Tangerine Tango. I was doing this in photoshop and couldn’t find quiet the right shade yet. The gray at the bottom is representative of the direction we headed for the main house color. Right now it’s a sage green the previous owners painted it, which is better than the baby blue it was before that. The majority of the front of the house is brick and the side of the house has a large expanse of white siding, so we have to work with all of that when selecting colors.
Okay, the idea of you picturing a really red brick with this color combination was enough to get me to do more tweaking to an image of the front of my house to get closer to a decent visual of the color palette. I don’t want my front door this bright, so you’ll have to mentally combine the images to get the right look. But you can see the gray may end up more gray with a hint of brown in it.
Okay, well you get the idea. I’m happy with Pantone’s color choice and I’m planning on bringing more orange into my life in 2012. Of course trends are trends, and I was already planning on using orange anyway, but it’s fun to see your favorite color get recognition.
Are you an orange fan? What color do you think should be the 2012 color of the year?
Friday, December 2nd, 2011
I realize this is a lengthy and deep post, but I thought some of you might be interested in more details on how color trending happens across multiple design professions. Don’t worry, I promise a lighter post next with more pretty product shots.
As an Interior Designer I attend Color Pulse presentations by Benjamin Moore and Colormix presentations by Sherwin-Williams that elucidate the trend forecasts for the design industries for the next couple of years. But how are these trends determined? Why does a trend appear in products as diverse as Kleenex boxes, dresses, side tables and pillows? Why do cobalt blue and Yves Klein blue seem to appear on everything from dresses and necklaces to dinnerware at the same time? How does the trend message get translated across multiple design professions ranging from product design, fashion design, automobiles, interior furnishings and fabrics, to decorative accessories? And why does it matter for interior designers and homeowners?
Trends are influenced by the quickly moving global influences we are all being exposed to on a daily basis. Clients are exposed to these influences as well, so designers need to be up to date on the latest trends in order to discuss and execute these trends for their clients when requested. Understanding the current color directions is essential for designers in every industry because clients will compromise on form but not color.
Mark Woodman explains that “trends and forecasts are often considered one and the same, but there are some fundamental differences. Trends tend to be evolutionary, as their directional movement is often strongly linked to a prior trend. … In the realm of color, the nuances of a particular hue will evolve within the trend’s time cycle….” For example, gray has become more popular in recent years, but now it is evolving from cool tones to warmer brown-grays and then it will move towards grey with blue in it by the end of 2013.
Above: Belgium Linen drapery fabric options from Restoration Hardware. Warmer brown-grays emerging in color palette options.
Forecasts look ahead to what has not happened yet, but can be anticipated. “Seemingly disparate ideas merge to predict accurate direction in design and color.” For instance, London’s Global Color Research sensed the expected mood of the new economy and the heavy feelings associated with a new world order and formulated the concept of “Ransom” reported in the 2010 issue of Mix magazine as an upcoming trend. Their sources included Hitchcock heroines and film noir, resulting in a palette of deep blue, black and gray for a classic, accessible feel with a touch of foreboding. Looking at the color trends in everything from tile to window treatments, I definitely observed this palette making a strong presence in 2010 and 2011.
Trend trackers in each design field are watching patterns emerge around the globe and condensing the information they take in into key trend messages that they can apply to their industry. The trends they spot are in the formative stage and won’t reach widespread popularity for 2-3 years on average. Since product design such as car color selections and fabrics for furniture are developed years ahead of when they reach the consumer market, this trend forecasting is essential for companies to be on trend when their product is released, rather than being behind the trend curve. For more details on current car colors (which I think I’ve discussed before, ex. copper and orange becoming more popular, see this article.)
So how does an influence evolve into a trend resulting in mass consumer sales? A good example would be Mad Men, the TV series on AMC that first aired in 2007, which grabbed hold of the nation’s collective consciousness. Its influence can be seen in both the resurgence of 1960s curve-hugging lady-like fashions on the runway in recent years, and the shift from 1950s Danish teak mid-century modern furnishings to 1960s influenced trapezoid and other geometric forms in furniture and fabrics. Chrome, ceramics, and etched barware perfect for that drink cart in almost every Mad Men scene are also making a resurgence. Consumers want an escape from the gray reality of the economic downturn, so nostalgia for the space age optimism of the 1960s accounts in part for the rise of this trend.
Above: Note the trapezoid shape in the chair, the mid-century styling of the dresser and the retro influence on all patterns in this new collection from Villa Roma.
So who determines what the next trends will be? Color Marketing Group is an international association for color design professionals who forecast color directions one to three years or more in advance for products and services. They focus on identifying color and design trends and then translating those into salable color options. Their motto is: “Color sells, and the ‘right’ color sells better.” Color forecasters from around the world and different areas of expertise get together semi-annually to develop annual forecasts that are used in industries as diverse as fashion, interior design, transportation, industrial design, graphics, cosmetics and more. The value of this information is seen in the experiences of their members.
The color forecasts prepared separately by Benjamin Moore and Sherwin-Williams concisely distills influences from around the globe into several easy to understand trend directions. They utilize images from diverse sources ranging from designs by indigenous populations to scientific imagery to illustrate the patterns and then explain how these influences are being translated into early product designs at the front of the trend curve.
Above: Color Mix 2012 Color Trends illustration (see a larger example at their website)
Trend trackers often consult with companies in multiple design related industries, which in part accounts for trends showing up in different industries at the same time. When a trend starts to connect with consumers in one industry companies in other industries will embrace it as well. Consumers are interested in showing their personalities across all platforms of their lives. One’s car, clothes, jewelry, shoes, kitchen accessories, furniture, house color, and art are all a reflection of personal style. Companies recognize that, and by embracing the trends already gathering steam in another category they are giving consumers the opportunity to show their style in this aspect of their life as well. If a company does not pay attention to the trends they run the risk of losing customer base. For instance, a manufacturer can develop a great washing machine, but if they do not understand the increased importance consumers have placed on the role of the laundry room in their homes and the desire for color on large appliances, their efforts might fall flat. Research and sales have proven over the years to Christine Mau, Associate Director of Packaging Graphics for Kleenex, that “color is just as important as pattern when trying to win the purchase interest of consumers.”
I went to Kleenex’s website and found this fun tool that really illustrates how they think about pattern and color in the context of how the product will be used. You select what type of tissue box you want (ex. auto, wallet, cube) and it shows you the pattern options available. The patterns for boxes meant to be used in a car are primarily tight geometric patterns in metallic shades. In contrast, the patterns for wallet kleenex packets are bright colorful florals designed to visually pop in a packed purse.
Cross marketing relationships between brands further proves the value of understanding the style and trend preferences of a brand’s client base. This is exemplified in a recent four page ad campaign for the Volkswagen 2011 Jetta that showcased clothing, jewelry, make-up, accessories and even a teapot to connect with their desired demographic that appreciates great design, but does not want to spend a lot to achieve the look. The ad copy tells the story.
“We’ve scoured the marketplace for truly great things you can get right now for very good prices. If you’re looking for deals, steals and even great wheels, you’re getting hotter.”
The message is clear that the Jetta is great style for the price of good, just like the high style, reasonably priced items they featured. Here one’s car is meant to be an extension of both one’s personal style and financial priorities.
The inspirations for the next wave of design trends are out there all around us, so keep your eyes and mind open. Then you too can say “I saw that coming.”
Blue color trends compilation from Oprah, March 2011
Drapery color samples from Restoration Hardware
The Birds from IMDB.com
Furniture and fabric product shot from Villa Roma
Color Mix 2012 image from Sherwin-Williams
Kleenex boxes from Kleenex.com
Jetta ad scanned from a magazine
Thursday, September 29th, 2011
I love landscape photography. I love urban environments and pastoral settings. So what happens when you bring one into the other and force a dialogue? You get the work of artist Tim Simmons.
Tim developed a series of installations on billboards in Los Angeles and Philadelphia called “The Urban Land Project.” He thoughtfully studied each area and selected scenes that juxtapositioned against that particular urban landscape would force a dialogue. His photos are breathtaking, but the layered message makes them even more powerful.
For more on this project and other installations, visit The Anthropologist.
Photo credit: Image from The Anthropologist
Tuesday, September 27th, 2011
I love the emails I get from Crate & Barrel every few weeks that showcase pieces from their collection to highlight a current trend. Here are a few that have stood out recently.
Chunky weaves are definitely a trend lately. When I look at those chunky knit pillows, rustic wood table and woven rattan vase I am reminded of Maine. Why? Picture hanging out in an old village in Maine on a cool, windy fall day in a Irish fisherman’s sweater surrounded by fishermen’s baskets and old wooden boats and industrial buildings with faded painted exteriors and iron signs with sea spray patinas. Now do you see it?
The bronze tones in the accessories feel just right for the fall, especially with the perforated leaf design. I like how the pillow unites the different tones in the furniture and accessories. These are the inexpensive touches that can update and refresh a room.
Now compare that to this colorful and modern compilation of light fixtures from CB2, Crate & Barrel’s younger and hipper sister company. (I think of it as the company for the younger sister who’s just starting out and needs to furnish her loft apartment in the warehouse district, while Crate & Barrel suits her big sister in her late 20s-early 30s who is more settled down in her condo and wants to spend a bit more on pieces that she’ll hold on to longer. Not that their collections don’t work for people of all ages!) With all those punches of colors can you guess when this was sent out?
If you guessed Spring, you would be right! I got this image in an email this past March and I’ve kept it in my archives and still remembered it all these months later. In the Spring we’re all itching for bright splashes of color to pull us out of the winter grays. Like daffodils and crocuses popping out of the brown lawn, these yellow and red lights would pop in your home against a neutral palette. Or add them as a surprise element in a room has no other red or yellow elements (though you would want to add at least one or two other accessories in that color somewhere in the room to make it work).
Do retail ads and catalogs that pull their color palette from the latest season inspire you to make a purchase?
Wednesday, September 14th, 2011
Summer may be nearly over in most of the country, (Minnesota is cruel – I’m actually wearing slippers and the thermostat says 45 degrees!) so it must be time to find that product that would have been great for enjoying the summer sun. Isn’t that always the case?
I don’t really ever sit in the sun on a beach, but if I did, this would be a product I’d enjoy. I love that this is compact (rolls up to the size of a yoga mat), has a convenient carrying case, offers UV protection (which recreating this with a standard piece of fabric wouldn’t offer), and comes in such cute colors and patterns. All that for a decent price considering you could get years of use out of it? I say go for it and you can use it to build a fort in your living room during the winter and play make believe that you’re sitting on a beach reading a magazine. By the time NEXT summer rolls around you’ll be an expert at setting it up. (Just don’t forget where you put it away over the winter.)
Ready to order? Check out their website. It looks like a feature in the NY Times has boosted their business…the Moroccan blue style is on backorder. But you’d still have it in time for your winter getaway to Jamaica.
Photo credit: Image and article via the New York Times
Tuesday, August 16th, 2011
I just wrote an article for a the MN chapter of ASID’s quarterly publication, Design Directions, on how trends are forecasted and then evolve between different industries. I knew a little about the subject, but it was really fascinating learning more about how the forecasting industry works.
I mean, do you ever think about how Kleenex picks the colors and patterns on their boxes? They are studying the color trends and style trends 18 months out to be ready to introduce the perfect look just as a trend happens. I think about it with fashion, interiors and cars, but I hadn’t really thought about it in product packaging as much, even though I know the graphic design world styles are always evolving as well.
Anyway, I wanted to share a trend I spotted in my own magazines before I even wrote the article, and had verified by an industry forecaster at a presentation of the trends for the next 18 months. BRIGHTS! No wallflowers here. I’m talking about those saturated bold shades that announce their arrival with a bullhorn. Don’t believe me? Check out the latest furniture evolution from (Minnesota based) Room & Board:
These pieces are not just available in the usual stainless steel or natural steel finishes. Now you can add a punch of color to your room beyond those accent pillows you rely on to liven up the room. Be bold! Say “I’m not afraid of vivid color that wakes up my room.”
Even better, these pieces are all made by a local company in Minnesota, reducing the carbon footprint of transport, and it’s ultimately recycleable. I’m digging the Kelly Green Piper bed frame. I could easily see it in a kid’s bedroom that evolves into a hip teen’s bedroom and then it moves with them to their first apartment.
Just like a room, the pops of color in your outfit shouldn’t be relegated to a few small accessories.
Here is the proof, straight from the pages of Lucky magazine. Colored denim jeans are another trend big for fall, in brights just as bold as these outfits above. I’m going to have to switch from colored top and neutral pants and try out a bright pant and see how bold I can go with the top without feeling overwhelmed. Kelly green jeans and a turquoise t-shirt with a grey cardigan and a skinny belt in brown leather over it could be bright but still have the safe touches to make it feel comfortable. The room equivalent: a bedroom with a kelly green bed frame, turquoise sheets, multi-colored throw pillows, light gray walls and a leather slung chair. (hmmm…. I might need to do another post just to show this room idea…)
So what colors are going bright? Here are the key color trends to keep in mind:
Bright saturated colors are emerging as a trend. Think tropical greens and neon green as accents perfect for kids’ rooms and patios. Mid-tone orange and corals with a rusty hue will move to neon in-your-face tones in 2013. Look for tropical pink with a coral tone. Fuchsia with more blue in it serves as a bridge to purples. Purple is trending down, moving towards smoky gray and blue tones rather than red tones. Fire reds reaching out to orange will appear, while blood red taunts brown. Military olive and khaki that have been hot in the fashion industry the past couple of years are moving into home décor. Instead of gold, camel is rising, influenced by the military trend. Blue and white combinations are jumping forward again. Denim and turquoise also make an appearance, while the spa blue evolved to a warmer blue with green and gray undertones for a sophisticated feel.
On a side note, this weekend I painted my bathroom a gray-blue with a hint of green in it, so I’m clearly right on trend. =)
Want to see what these brights will mean in fabrics? Check out the Lily Pulitzer collection of fabrics through Lee Jofa. Not for the faint of heart, but I don’t think you have to live in Palm Beach to embrace these fabrics. Start small and layer, layer, layer!
Can I mention that I’m digging the art on the walls? I know it’s not the focus of the ad, but I love how they used a modern painting and photographs to bring a fresh young feel to a room that could skew to grandma’s Boca Raton condo. The lucite table, zig zag rug and cheeky elephant side table help keep it young too.
So are you game? Are you going to give brights a try in your home, wardrobe or both?! Come on, if I can do it, so can you!
Photo credits: Room & Board, Lucky magazine, Lee Jofa.