Color Forecasting

What will your color be for this year?

This is “old news.”

Turquoise is THE colour of 2010. Mimosa (pantone 14-0848) was 2009’s hue du jour, or so says Pantone and the Color Institute.   Color trends that we see today had to be predicted long before we, the general public, could “consume” them. Fashion, home, beauty, advertising and even quilt shop selections are “trended” years in advance to allow for design and production. Colors often arrive on fashion runways and then make their way into home and soft furnishing lines. Groups like the Color Institute (offspring of Pantone) analyze consumers’ taste trends and make predictions about how they will want to color their worlds. They search the world for colors to watch and those that suit the current global psyche (Turquoise is a color of refreshment and protection to ward off recessionary woes, right?). Pantone, Clariant, MudPie, Global Color Research,  the Copenhagen International Fashion Fair (CIFF), et al issue reports to help industries make informed decisions before investing in their newest color offerings. Memberships are available in groups like  the Color Association or CMG (Color Marketing Group) (I’m neither a member or advertiser for any of these groups). Not all associations predict the same color trends(Pantone chose Turquoise, while CMG’ s pick is Mardi Grape). However, each group tends to pick a variety of themed color groupings.

Paint colors

From runway to wall coverings

One option for keeping an eye on what others are doing with their palettes and what is trending today is to join online forums like Here, nearly 400,000 members peruse and post palettes of their own, created from Pantone’s assorted color systems (these vary from ‘spot’ colors to textile collections, and others).
Another easy way to check out the latest in color trends is to look to the Paint Quality Institute * (and their YouTube channel) or your favorite interior paint companies’ websites. Sherwin-Williams has a trend report, as do Olympic, Benjamin Moore, ICI and all the usual suspects in wall decor.

And HOW does this relate to stitching?

The Voice of Color: WONDERLAND

The Voice of Color: AVATAR

The first step in designing Threads: Basics & Beyond was to choose colors. We looked to trend reports to help us choose fabrics and colors that would be relevant (and available) at the time the book debuted. As luck would have it, we stumbled upon two palettes that turn out to be big movie titles this year: Avatar and  Wonderland. Little did we know…. But those tricky trend reporters could foresee a fascination with these themes and colors. These palettes look nothing like their namesakes (Avatar, The movie, is interpreted by as much bluer, while Disney’s Alice in Wonderland is a vibrant clash of orange and green- here)**

The other Avatar...

Liz and I played with these palettes and came up with very different interpretations of them. We recombined the swatches in different groupings, chose lighter or darker versions of the colors or just plain “saw” the colors differently. My colors were a little less vibrant (no matter how hard I tried). At times, I stayed within one grouping, while other Passport Pages were a mix of both palettes.

Thread Type/Color Sampler

Thread lace colors

Couched cord colors

How many trendy collections start here?

Some trends will coincide perfectly with our tastes, others could not matter less in our choice of fabric and thread. While trends may dictate what is “HOT” and most available, they are generally pulled from the existing collectiom of recognized colors. Trends played a role in how we began our book journey, but in the end, they are not all that obvious. We were each pulled toward what would work best for us and the threads that we had available.
Like nearly every aspect of the lands of art and creativity, there are continuums. Do we doggedly follow trends to be seen as “current” or do we stay true to whatever palette our heart pulls us to? When we are selling our work (as so many of us are in one form or another, from books to teaching to prints and OOAK works), do we cater to trends for marketability or do we rely on the intrinsic value of selling our ‘selves?’ There is no one ‘right’ place to be, and at one time or another, we may find ourselves in different places along the continuum.

How do color and design trends effect your work?
* With thanks to notes by Regina Garay.
* * Find even more color tools listed by Alyssa Gregory, here.

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