This is a biography and exploration of Pantone director, Leatrice “Lee” Eiseman. Eiseman and her team of color experts select a series of 10 colors each season from various inspiration sources including, but not limited to, current music, economic conditions, politics, traveling inspriations, social affairs, the entertainment industry, interior design and architecture, and art. This publication features a brief biography and interview with Eiseman and an NPR article detailing the business of color. This book also features the proof behind 26 of her team’s color choices over the years, with imagery of clothing pieces from my own wardrobe that match those selections.
CON TENTS 04
*Leatrice Eisemanâ€™s color selections from 2003-2011
Lee Eiseman is a color specialist who has been called â€œAmericaâ€™s color guru.â€? In fact, her color expertise is recognized worldwide, especially as a prime consultant to Pantone, Inc. She has helped many companies, from small one person start-ups to large corporations make the best and most educated choice of color for product development, logos and identification, brand imaging, web sites, packaging, point of purchase, interior/exterior design or any other application where color choice is critical to the success of the product or environment. She heads the Eiseman Center for Color Information and Training and is also executive director of the Pantone Color Institute and edits the Ezine on the Pantone web12
site. Lee is the author of six books on color, among them: Colors For Your Every Mood, which was chosen as a Book of the Month Club selection and received an award from the Independent Publisher’s Association, the Pantone Guide to Communicating With Color, Color Answer Book, and her most recent book, More Alive With Color. She has also written a chapter in web-page flash guru HILLMAN CURTIS’ newest work titled “MTIV Process Inspiration and Practice for New Media Designer”. Lee was named in the group of 50 top style makers two years in a row (#17 the first year moving up to #13 this year) by “Home Furnishings Now,” the leading home furnishings trade publication. And recently, Fortune Magazine featured her as one of the top decision makers. She conducts many color seminars and is widely quoted in publications such as Elle Decor, Home Magazine, House and Garden, Home Accents Today, HFN, Harper’s Bazaar, Allure, 13
WWD, Glamour, Vogue, People Magazine, Self, Communication Arts, Graphic Design USA, Consumers Digest, US Magazine, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, USA Today and Ad Age, as well as numerous other trade and consumer publications. Lee has made appearances on CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, MSNBC, HGTV, Discovery Channel and the FOX network in the U.S. as well as abroad and has been interviewed by radio stations worldwide. Her academic background includes a degree in psychology from Antioch as well as advanced studies and a counseling specialist certificate from UCLA. She has studied both fashion and interior design and has taught in both areas. She is a member of the American Trends Committee as well as the international forecasting group for the Pantone View Color Planner. Lee is an allied member of the American Society of Interior Designers, Industrial 16
Design Society of America, as well as the Fashion Group, and has received the prestigious service award from the Color Marketing Group where she serves as a chairholder. She has been a member of the advisory board for the Advertising Age/Arizona State University Symbols and Graphics Retention Study. The Color Association of the U.S. named her color concepts as “tops in the field of color”. She is named in Two Thousand Notable American Women published by the American Biographical Institute and is a recipient of an IMMIE Award and the Key Award for Notable Author. Her color selections for various industries have won numerous awards, most recently from Industrial Design Magazine for the newest group of colorful Leatherman Utility Tools called “Juice”, and Schick Women’s “Intuition” Shaver that was selected for recognition in IDSA’s Winter 2003 publication “Innovations”. 17
Q: In your seminars you talk a lot about the psychological and emotional aspects of color. Do you think the meaning and psychology of color is a learned behavior or are we genetically predisposed to have specific responses to different colors? Â 25
Q: IN YOUR SEMINARS YOU TALK A LOT ABOUT THE PSYCHOLOGICAL AND EMOTIONAL ASPECTS OF COLOR. DO YOU THINK THE MEANING AND PSYCHOLOGY OF COLOR IS A LEARNED BEHAVIOR OR ARE WE GENETICALLY PREDISPOSED TO HAVE SPECIFIC RESPONSES TO DIFFERENT COLORS?
Leatrice: Both of the above! Most of our response to color is learned through our cultural background--however, there is evidence that points to a collective memory or prehensile retention that creates more than a psychological effect. For example, how can we not respond to red? Our eye is inevitably drawn to it as it represents symbolically fire and bloodshed--warning signals that humans have always responded to. That is stored in the memory bank, and passed on from generation to generation, so that today red creates a physiological effect of increased adrenalin flow, a quickening of heart rate and pulse.
Q: WHERE SHOULD DECISIONS ABOUT COLOR PALETTE OCCUR IN THE DESIGN PROCESS?
Leatrice: Way up at the top. I believe that the essential design should come first and then the appropriate color is selected. Q: WE COULDN’T AGREE MORE, BUT CLIENTS CAN BE HARD TO CONVINCE. WHAT ARE SOME RESOURCES THAT A PROFESSIONAL DESIGNER CAN USE TO SUPPORT OR SELL THEIR COLOR DECISIONS?
Leatrice: I think it is important to use credible resources like myself (she says modestly) and especially books that help to support choices. My book, the Pantone Guide to Communicating with Color (Grafix Press) contains credible information that can help to substantiate color combinations and explain the psychology behind each color family. It is important to make that kind of reasoning part of the rationale when delivering to a client. That always helps to make a stronger case. There is also a chapter on where and how to look for trends that would 29
be helpful in answering the first question posed above.
Q: CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT THE PROCESS OF COLOR FORECASTING? WHO DECIDES WHAT THE “IN” COLORS WILL BE? AND HOW DO THEY DECIDE?
Leatrice: Essentially this is done by color forecasting “experts” (such as me) who belong and contribute to color forecasting groups such as the Color Marketing Group or the Pantone View Color Planner. I also do a home furnishings forecast that can be translated into usage by the graphics industry. This is available on the Pantone Web site (http://www.pantone.com) under “fashion and architecture”.
Q: ARE COLOR TRENDS MEDIUM-DEPENDENT? IF YOU CONSIDER THE VISUAL COMMUNICATIONS LIKE WEB AND TELEVISION AND PRINT, AND CONSUMER GOODS LIKE CARS AND CLOTHING AND TELEVISION-WHAT IS IT THAT MAKES COLORS MORE “RELEVANT” OR “APPROPRIATE”...OR JUST “WORK” IN ONE MEDIUM AND NOT IN ANOTHER?
Leatrice: I find that there is a bigger crossover than one might think. The only real issue is visual contrast as on the Web and in print, legibility and visibility is of major importance. But the forecasts can be used as a guideline. As I state in my talks to graphics and print people, color trends should never replace the inherent ability of a designer to create color combinations, but simply provide a jump start to their own fertile imaginations and to demonstrate that they are “on top of” trends. It also helps to refresh one’s work or concepts.
Q: CAN COLOR TRENDS ONLY BE VALIDATED BY ESTABLISHED BRANDS? IS THERE SIGNIFICANT RISK TO BEING AHEAD OF THE COLOR TREND CURVE IF A BUSINESS DOES NOT HAVE A WELL-ESTABLISHED PRODUCT OR IDENTITY?
Leatrice: Yes, there is a risk in being ahead of the curve. On the other hand, the innovative use of color might be just the thing to create more attention to your brand. And it can certainly earn more attention in the 33
press for the brand.Â Even though Apple was widely known, they took a step way ahead of anyone else in the computer world when they introduced the iMac.Â They will never sell as much as the PC makers, but they earned more market share when they introduced their colors.
15-5519 18-1661 16-1543 16-3320 16-1219 12-0642 18-3945 12-1107 17-0627 15-0513
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the business of color The big names in fashion are all associated with a strong point of view and a distinctive style: think Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger and Donna Karan. These and other designers are poised to showcase their latest trendsetting styles on the runway starting Thursday at New York Fashion Week. But who comes up with the color trends that are evident on the catwalk? People in the fashion business say trends are rarely decided by individuals. Instead, they are decided by committee. One of the most influential committees is a group of 10 people whose names are a secret. They meet in Europe twice a year — May and November — at the invitation of Pantone, a company based in Carlstadt, N.J., whose only business is color. In fact, Pantone has a hand in the color of roughly half of all garments sold in the U.S., according to NPD, a market research group.
Meeting In A White Room Publisher and designer David Shah, who runs the meeting, said he seeks opinions from a broad swath of industries. The End Of Trends: If It’s Hot, It’s Over “I have people who work in the car business, who work with big store groups,” Shah said. “I can’t tell you the names. They’re involved with everything from furniture through to clothing and knitwear.” The group meets in a room with white walls so everyone can clearly see the objects their colleagues have brought as inspiration. “One of our committee [members] came last winter, and he came with a basket full of onions and chopped up all the onions to show how the beauty of the color of an onion is,” Shah said. Nearly 2,000 Shades Pantone has plenty of competitors in the colorforecasting field. But in its core business — color standards — the company has no rivals. There are 1,925 colors in Pantone’s index of textile colors, each with a unique identifying number. 45
â€œIf designers disregard the trend, they risk irrelevanceâ€” just about the worst thing imaginable for any label.â€?
In the dyeing room at Pantone’s New Jersey headquarters, 12 stainless steel machines hum and belch steam. One of them rinses a canaryyellow piece of cloth. In the next few hours, it’s dried, cut and sent to clients around the world. Laurie Pressman, Pantone’s vice president for fashion, home and interiors, says the reason for color standards is to provide a vocabulary — through swatches, color books and computer files — to enable developed-world companies to talk to their overseas suppliers. “What you have now is so much production shifted to Asia,” she says. “It’s very key to have a standard way to communicate from the design side all the way down through the supply chain.” International Appeal Pantone’s system is also used in Latin America. ASA Textile Sourcing, a company based in Lima, Peru, connects international labels with suppliers in Peru. Since adopting the Pantone system about a decade ago, CEO Nacha Rejas says productivity and accuracy have improved.
“When a customer phones us up and tells us, ‘These are the colors we are going to use for a specific style, and the codes of the Pantone are blah, blah, blah,’ I can work very [quickly] and save a lot of time,” she says. Rejas says she is now able to compete with Chinese exporters, turning around some orders in as few as 30 days. Her clients, in turn, can respond to trends in fashion even faster. Becoming Part Of The Trend But here’s a question that cuts to the heart of what fashion is: Why would any designer want to run with the pack? John Crocco, the creative director for Perry Ellis, calls color forecasts “a self-fulfilling prophecy.” He says if designers choose to follow such forecasts, then they’ll be “part of what ultimately becomes the trend.” But if designers disregard the trend, they risk irrelevance— just about the worst thing imaginable for any label.
SUMMER | WINTER
THE “IN” COLORS* WOMEN’S FASHION
*Source: pantone.com + david mccandless
This book was designed as part of the course requirements of the Designing Methods and Processes special topics course at the University of Tennessee in the spring of 2011. 69