The past few months we’ve looked at some of my favourite colours, some on trend (Peach Blush), and some decidedly absent from store displays for some time (Wasabi). This month, it’s time to look at the *They* in “They say ‘Radiant Orchid’ is the colour of 2014”.
Pantone are the company responsible for standardizing our colour expectations accross the world.
The Pantone Matching system allows designers to specify colours in no uncertain terms and know that the result will be exactly as they specified.
Imagine assigning a colour to every word in the English dictionary. Pantone designed the book, made the colours and named them. Then provided the recipe to every colour there-in. From Industrial design markers to fashion and graphic design, even my digital fabric prints are governed by their industry standards.
There’s a fantastic read all about the rise of Pantone over on ISUU for those of you keen to pursue the complete history.
Right now we’re focusing on one little thing. that spell binding oracle “The colour of the year”
Each Year Pantone release a “Colour of the year”. In their own words, “A symbolic color selection; a color snapshot of what we see taking place in our culture that serves as an expression of a mood and an attitude. “
The prediction of colour and design trends can be a little like the chicken or the egg query. Pantone announces a colour of the year, and many designers and industries embrace their apparent wisdom, and follow suit.
At the same time, however, Pantone are supposedly making their decisions based on the things they’re already seeing in the market. This includes success of past trends and other social predictions, as well as identifying burgeoning trends and highlighting them for the market. That would suggest that consumers are already leaning away from or towards certain colours to suit our moods and social situations and Pantone is simply yet obligingly telling the industry to supply the demand. Some predictions are more or less successful, with ‘success’ being defined by the scale of consumer embrace. Some colours are spot on, while others are further out on a limb. Like Radiant Orchid, which will likely never darken our doorstep in again, being over as soon as Pantone said “this year the colour is Radiant Orch…”.
Don’t feel too bad for them though, they got their own back on an un-obliging public by announcing dual colours for the first time ever in 2016 – The pair chosen to champion a colour somewhere between Rose Quartz and Serenity Blue, which, if you think about it, could otherwise be described as a chastened (less radiant) orchid.
As promised, the colours are symbolic as snapshots of the zeitgeist. Radiant Orchid supposedly symbolic of Love and Health, while Serenity and Rose Quartz reflect wellness. Completely different. Right?
But perhaps, as a society, we’re on an overarching big picture trend trend chasing health and happiness. It’s not such a leap.
Active Wear has taken over from our Sunday best, whether we need it or want it to or not. We’re on a hipster lead mission for authenticity and sating our hunger with raw materiality. And ‘raw’ equals natural, so we’ve jumped on a polished reclaimed timber band wagon full of tan leather, marble, metal and polished palettes. We’ve loaded it up with fiddle leaf figs and other indoor plants but we’re only half way there.
All this polished sleek is too much refined, not truly raw enough, and too cool to be cosy. So in the coming year we’ll be eschewing copper and marble for matt products, terracotta tiles and cork will be topping the hot list, providing a homey backdrop for our continuing love of natural fibres, jute rugs and artisan ceramics.
So we’re only inching closer to our goals, but for true health and happiness we need energy and spiritual cleansing. We want to be whole, to be our best us, to make Oprah proud. So we’re drinking Kombucha, eating Qinoa, embracing wholefoods like never before.
And so here we are, the next pit-stop on the journey of self expression, and the sign on the highway says it all
2017 is the year of KALE
“Evocative of the great outdoors and a healthy lifestyle, Kale is another foliage-based green that conjures up our desire to connect to nature, similar to the more vivacious Greenery. And, just as we see in nature, this lush and fertile natural green shade provides the perfect complementary background to the more vibrant tones in the palette.” – Someone at Pantone.
We’ve spent at least 3 years bringing the outside in with potted plants, succulents and green walls, but finally some bright spark has realised that not all of us are green thumbs, and whatever the long term pitfalls of deep green upholstery, at least you don’t have to water your sofa.
Of course, like any good psychic, Pantone realises the best way to hit the mark is by casting the net as wide as possible (while apologizing for mixed sporting metaphors). So alongside Kale, here’s the rest of the palette predicted for Spring 2017
We’ve got all our bases covered with this sample chart, best descibred as “desperately-pretending-not-to-be-a-rainbow-while-simultaneously-including-almost-every-hue.” Yes there are nuances and variations among hues, such as those we discussed when looking at Peacock and this selection is brighter and springier than last year’s rainbow. The focus on these specific Swatches is nature, with names evoking flora, vegetation, base elements and jewel tones.
But honestly, the only colour that’s not here is a variant of Purple. Perhaps Pantone have finally learned their radiant lesson?
But my take away is that every colour is on trend, it’s what you do with it that counts!