Color Me Happy
I have always loved purple. I must get this from my grandmother, who was ahead of her time by having a lilac bedroom with purple accessories all around. She was always a thrifty woman, but she paid extra for a purple casket with lilac satin inside. As a designer, I’m exposed to thousands of colors of various tints and tones, but I still get excited when Pantone® releases their “new” colors. We all tend to gravitate towards certain palettes we love. Color can make us smile, cringe, or feel like we are at a spa. It’s such a simple thing, but it can completely set the tone for our feelings, our emotions, and our company brand.
It’s always funny to me when clients react strongly to a particular color. I really think people have color prejudices! I’m a color lover—don’t be hating on them people! I had a client tell me once that the gold I used for a concept reminded her of the wallpaper that she hated from her childhood bedroom. (Remember the story “The Yellow Wallpaper” and how it came to life for the mentally disturbed girl? )
I had another client tell me that the lovely olive green shade I had so carefully chosen reminded her of her baby’s poop and was making her sick. And yet another client, who after questioning my shade of purple for her logo was actually purple, literally mailed me a purple party plate with a sticky note on it that said, “I consider this purple.” What’s this? How dare she question my favorite color in the world! (My dining room, bedroom and bathroom are purple, as are the sweater, scarf, and ring I’m wearing as I write this).
Each year, color gurus release what’s going to be hottest shades for each season, which are actually predicted two years in advance. Their inspiration comes from what is going on in the world, both globally, culturally, and technologically (think iPod colors). Fashion is what sets the stage for the objects we later buy for our home, or the colors that translate to our website. We can easily look back a few years and associate colors with specific time periods. Remember the gold, green, and orange from the 70s? Or the (horrid) teal of the early 90s? Talk about good color gone bad! (I’m ashamed to admit it, but teal was one of the colors of my bridesmaid dresses in my fuchsia, purple, teal, and blue color scheme wedding. I am way more sophisticated in my color choices now).
Thankfully, we have the color experts deciding for us what’s cool to buy, and of course we latch right on. “What do you mean rust is out? Now I’ve got to replace my living room pillows (with chocolate brown and smoky blue, course)!”
I recently participated in a Color Trends Webinar for Spring/Summer 2011. The good news is, most colors are “in,” but you just have to find the right shade. Here are some color and design trends to look for in early 2011:
- Combining various shades of one color
- Texture play and combinations, as well as various textures in white
- Neutrals combined with bold colors (ie. pale gray with bright yellow)
- Inky blues, accented by brights
- Blacks with blue undertones
- Natural materials, organic shapes
- Pale nude colors paired with a hint of color, like light pink or light purple
- Bold contrasts
- Super bright reds with an orange and pink cast
- A range of pinks, from muted rose to hot pink
- Greens with yellow tones
- Tangerine orange paired with whites
- Purples, ranging from lavender to a blueish tint, to hot and passionate
- Complementary colors together (red and green, blue and orange)
- Colors with gray undertones
If these “trends” don’t make it into our design work, don’t feel like we are slighting you in any way. Part of being a designer is knowing when to follow the rules, and when to throw them out the window and chose what feels the best for our clients and their message. We’ve got a few years of intuition under our multi-colored belts!
What do your company colors say about your organization? Send them to us and we’ll send you our interpretation.
Amanda King is the Senior Graphic Designer at M Creative and loves to play with her Pantone® color chips.