Home Pantone Forecaster Eiseman Interprets Cultural Color Influences
March 14, 2022
Pantone Forecaster Eiseman Interprets Cultural Color Influences

By Vicki Matranga

Contributing Editor

The Inspired Home Show joined global retailers and exhibitors in an invigorating return to Chicago’s McCormick Place. Industry professionals, jubilant to meet in person again after several years of online conversations, eagerly examined products and caught up with the latest trends.

So too, consumers, emerging from their pandemic isolation in the virtual world, seek ways to express themselves and explore new realities that blend physical and virtual experiences. The annual ColorWatch display aims to inspire retailers and exhibitors to “think color” to motivate consumers. Attendees arriving or departing the show engaged with color by walking through the energizing ColorWatch display, which presented Veri Peri, Pantone’s Color of the Year, and the seven palettes of the Pantone View Home + Interiors 2023 forecast.


A Peek into the Mystery of Forecasting Color Trends

Some may wonder how Leatrice (Lee) Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, determines these annual forecasts and chooses the Color of the Year.  In her popular keynote presentation at the show, Eiseman explained how she observes the trending uses of color, finish and texture in consumer product categories and experiences.

“Our lifestyles and workstyles are in a dynamic state of change,” said Eiseman, “and industries must develop a “chromatic vision’ to connect with consumers in a very personal way.”

Eiseman illustrated how our physical and digital lives are merging in ways that stretch the limits of our imagination, opening to a world where we can explore new color possibilities.

She outlined exciting color directions in cosmetics, nail polish and hairstyles, apparel, automotive, interiors, major appliances, and entertainment. A rising creative community is fusing traditional arts in video gaming, metaverse experiences and NFTs. In cities around the world, immersive art exhibitions, such as the popular Van Gogh experience, soaked millions of viewers in color.

“Forecasters must always look at the entertainment industry for emerging trends. This is now more important than ever, as people spend more time at home viewing films and streaming video on their large screens,” Eiseman commented.

She previewed films and TV shows set for release in 2023, such as children’s animated films, the prequel to the venerated Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory film, and the Wheel of Time, successor to the Game of Thrones epic television series. She urged the audience to note the vibrant colors of costumes and sets, evocative historical references, and rich textures and finishes when viewing.


Track Consumer Lifestyle Choices

“Sustainability remains top of mind for many consumers,” Eiseman reported. “Recent research from IBM stated that 8 in 10 consumers said sustainability is important for them and nearly 70% said they would pay a 35% premium for sustainable and environmentally friendly brands.”

This preference leads to exciting new developments in biomaterials.  While at a juice bar Eiseman questioned, “Have you ever wondered where the garbage goes?” Not only directed to compost, but orange rinds are also collected, dried, milled, and mixed with the fermentation of corn, sugarcane and potatoes to make biodegradable products. Durable waterproof fabrics and tableware can also be made from fruit peels combined with algae and pectin obtained from fruit juice suppliers, Eiseman explained.

Soft, malleable or hardened, plant-based materials can become accessories like buttons, or leather-like fabrics rendered in authentic-looking colors and finishes. “Biomaterial companies are seeing an explosion of interest and sales doubling in a year,” she added.

“In order to conserve the Earth’s valuable resources, we see a movement to plant forests that allow for younger trees to be harvested rather than denuding old growth,” Eiseman commented, as she predicts that consumer demand will grow for salvageable wood and novel wood treatments, as well as reworked fabrics such as denim on soft fabrics. Consumers can create environments that represent the merger of art and technology — joining handcrafted and machine-made goods for unconventional and eclectic effects.


Bold Contrasts Co-Exist with Soothing Influences from Nature

Always-popular neutral tones can find unexpected compatibility with high-intensity bright colors and a mix of materials and textures in room décor, clothing and housewares products, Eiseman noted.

Think of the range of ocean blue/greens as gentle waves approach the beach, or the tones of a sunset to understand the “ombre” effect —“the blended use of hues within the same color family,” Eiseman explained. Such ombre colors are appearing in apparel, food, bedding, and housewares hard goods. “Ombre sea and sky tones inspire us to relax, exhale and restore,” she said.

Eiseman outlined the rationale and thinking behind Pantone’s first created color, Veri Peri, as the Color of the Year to symbolize our new realities and to look to a promising future. Based on the most reliable and beloved blue color family, the dynamic Veri Peri “blends the faithfulness and constancy inherent in blue with the energy and excitement of the vivifying violet-red undertone.” This complex and versatile color encourages creative and imaginative expressions in a variety of price points and products. It can be paired with many other colors for intriguing effects.

Eiseman then presented the seven forecasted palettes that compile the major influences she had discussed: Tropic Refresh, Epic Tales, Honesty, Earthbound, Unexpected Reality, Artisan Invention, and Intoxicants, that were illustrated by exhibitors’ products in the ColorWatch display.

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