Pantone Executive Talks Color

pantone practice pic

Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of Pantone Color Institute, is quite possibly the most knowledgeable color expert in the world. From how colors affect people’s moods to the science of actually creating colors, she knows it all. She’s also a Bainbridge Island local who travels the world to determine Pantone’s color of the year. We know, her job is ridiculously cool. She recently spoke at a Fashion Group International event to shed some light on her vibrant life.

Ever wish there was a color between two tiles in your Pantone book?  According to Eiseman, some colors are technically too hard to create because they end up looking too similar to a color that already exists once it’s printed. That said, new colors are being made all the time.

Choosing the color of the year is based on research and what a color represents. In addition to other research, Eiseman talks to high-end jewelers about what stones are becoming popular to predict the color of the year. She also looks at Concept Cars to examine what paint colors are being used. In addition, each color is symbolic. For example, Emerald Green (2013’s color of the year) represents balance and well being.  The color of the year should say something about the current culture.

For the top 10 colors of the year, fashion designers (both establish end up-and-coming) send in the colors they are using in their collections. A database compiles the colors and spits out the 10 colors that are being used the most. Those become the top 10 colors of the year.

Eiseman lives on Bainbridge Island and claims that over-cast Northern light is the best light to view color under. In bright, sunny regions color can get washed out.

Naming colors can be difficult. A color’s name can never be based on a celebrity or a trend because the name has to remain relevant and resonate with people all over the world. Mimosa yellow is one of Eiseman’s favorite color names.

When matching color you should always stay dominantly warm or dominantly cool. For example 75 percent of your colors should be warm while the other 25 percent should be cool. OR vise versa. Or you can play with the ratio, it can be 85/15 or 80/20, as long as there in a dominate color theme.

Representatives from big manufactures like Target are going to all of the same big fashion shows in Paris as other retailers and designers. Everyone is getting exposed to fashion trends and colors at the same time. There isn’t the lag time there used to be for trendy looks and colors to show up at big stores for lower prices.

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is the managing editor at 425 magazine. Email her.
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