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PANTONE’s Vice President Describes How Color Trends Are Predicted Each Year
By Mikelle Leow, 05 Oct 2017
Image by STAFFAFE Karolina Grabowska via Everypixel
PANTONE’s legacy as the leading color expert has drawn cult-like attention from creatives and people who just like looking at nice things.
Step inside its factory, and you’ll discover that PANTONE’s reputation wasn’t built by accident. A basic requirement for its workers is for them to have near-perfect color vision, and it needs to pass the company’s stressful optical tests each year.
You might thus wonder—how does PANTONE choose which colors to make? More specifically, how does it come up with its color trends?
BuzzFeed has spoken with Laurie Pressman—the Vice President of PANTONE Color Institute—to discuss the inner workings of the firm’s creative minds. Check out some takeaways from the interview.
1. There’s a team of experts who predict on-trend colors years in advance.
Image via PANTONE
“At the PANTONE Color Institute, we have a global team of trend forecasters who report on current color influences, as well as predict future color trends two to five years in advance," Pressman reveals. “Members of this same team are also involved in the forecasting of color trends for influential material trade shows, to the fashion industry as well as finished products.”
2. For inspiration, PANTONE looks at what people like and dislike. Experts also visit trade shows to observe how brands develop their resources.
Image by foreveryoursbetty via PANTONE
“When selecting top colors for the catwalk, we look at macro trend influences that are taking place, as these macro trends impact trends in color across all areas of design, including fashion.”
3. While research is important, PANTONE admits that intuition also has to do with how it comes up with color trends.
Image by ninapearsepaperartist via PANTONE
“[Our team’s] eye, color intuition, and ability to connect the dots, is what has made us so successful in our color predictions....It is truly the team’s ‘color eye’ and ‘color feel’ that enables them to take what they see, and translate this into a language of color for top catwalk shades as well as the top shades we will see all across design.”
4. Color trends are more important than you might think—they reflect events that happen around the world.
Image via PANTONE
“They can immediately serve as a way for historians to understand what may have been taking place in a society at a particular point in time.”
Pressman also reveals the colors she predicts will be popular in winter 2019. These include classics like grays and blacks, as well as effervescent colors like yellows, purples, and turquoise. You can read about them in detail over at BuzzFeed.
[via BuzzFeed, images via various sources]
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