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READ MY LIPS

As consumers become more comfortable wearing brighter hues, the craze for color experimentation grows stronger. The latest trend we're seeing? Decorated lips! Of course there are always endless ways to wear red, whether in stain or saturated color, but it is the new purples, blues and shimmery metallics that are making strong statements. Bold and rich, Lip Tar from Obsessive Compulsive is a heavily pigmented gloss with a highly saturated color range that lends itself to color mixing and layering. Then there is Violent Lips whose lipstick tattoos in zebra stripes, pink and white polka dots and color block patterning have truly turned the lips into an artist's paradise.

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TONES by Pantone v3.1: Color News & Views

FEATURES
Read My Lips
Chromatweet: Can You Feel Color Now?
A Taste of America
Crop It
Sephora and Pantone Universe
Living Walls

DESIGN TRENDS
Going Modular
Costume Drama
Plastic Fantastic
The Day the World Turned Day-Glo
A Kaleidoscope of Color

COLOR FORECASTS
PANTONE Fashion Color Report for Fall 2012
A Celebration of a Bountiful Earth Ripe With Flavorsome Vitality
Taking Orangey and Spice Tones to a Whole New Level

INTERVIEW
Leatrice Eiseman and Keith Recker
 
This Issue's Contributors
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CHROMATWEET: CAN YOU FEEL COLOR NOW?
A conversation with the artist behind "the color chronicle"


The link between color and emotion is a daily topic at Pantone, where we often pair color values with single words that explain their allure, their importance, and the effect they have on the viewer. As we think through the applications and implications of Pantone's thousands of colors, we are inexorably drawn into a conversation about what each color says to us and about us.

Artist Aleksander Macasev has his own daily conversation about emotion and color – which he has made public in the form of ChromaTweet. Macasev's project is a daily color journal, with a single color posted at the end of each day. That color is meant to express the artist's mental and emotional state. Over two years of ChromaTweet-ing Macasev has created a record of one man's interaction with color – and, movingly and enigmatically, his personal life.



You can experience ChromaTweet daily on Twitter and Facebook. Or you can head to Brooklyn's Dumbo neighborhood, where non-profit public art organization Art Bridge has installed murals of Macasev's daily color choices on street level.

Macasev shared some thoughts about his gorgeous project with Pantone color studio member Keith Recker.

KEITH RECKER: How did you imagine this beautiful project?

ALEKSANDAR MACASEV: It was born out of frustration. In my art and design practice I was actually never very good with color. I was more interested in form and composition. Color was something superficial, with no communication value, something added later to beautify the final product. But even though I was not good at using color, I always sensed that color is emotion, and I always wanted to establish a connection between my emotions and color.

The first thing I did on the way to developing ChromaTweet was to shed all of the imposed rules about color that I had learned — all of those harmonies, matching and contrast principles and theories from Goethe to Bauhaus; generalized principles of how colors affect our mood; the notion of trend colors introduced by consumerist culture, and of course color meanings that have been generated from within our cultural matrix – such as red meaning stop and green meaning go. I just wanted to experience a very personal and unconstrained relationship between color tones and my own feelings.

Since I often use an intimate blog/diary form in my practice, I decided to start a diary where I would mix a color tone that would summarize my entire day. I was interested in moving beyond Twitter's micro-blogging format of 140 characters, to compress my online communication even more. So all these ideas converged into a nano-blogging experiment. And I started posting just one color tone a day, which began to create a sort of personal, emotional footprint.

KR: How did ChromaTweet achieve its very eye-catching physical form in Brooklyn? There must have been a complex process of sponsorship and community approval.

AM: ChromaTweet is an online project that is more conceptual than aesthetic. No matter how hard you try, people (including myself) always see something "beautiful," "pretty," or "eye-catching" in it, so the ChromaTweet archive gave birth to quite a few physical outgrowths. One of the biggest is the 300 ft-long print of two years worth of ChromaTweets in New York. The print is produced by Art Bridge (www.art-bridge.org), a New York-based organization that connects art and public space. The Dumbo Arts Festival in 2011 was looking for an outdoor piece that would use the very long scaffolding over the Empire Stores on Water Street. 730 ChromaTweet colors – my personal color journal – fit the bill perfectly.

KR: How you determine the color for each day?

AM: At the end of the day I contemplate my emotional experience and then I summarize it in a single color tone. I use the 24-bit Truecolor picker that contains 16,777,216 colors. First I try to find a suitable hue, and then I adjust saturation and lightness. It's actually all about mixing, not picking. I try to keep it more emotional and intuitive and less cerebral.

Finding the right color is of course arbitrary, because the perception of color depends on many factors beyond our control, like the technology we use (print, paint, screen, textile), to the surrounding context and overall light, to receptors in our own eyes (I often wonder whether someone else sees the same color tone as I do). And then I add to the process something as elusive as my emotional state. But if you manage to free yourself from thinking about color you start noticing patterns, your own patterns and relations. It becomes deeply personal.

KR: Do you have a favorite?

AM: No. I try not to judge the color tones. Especially not in any aesthetic way, whether I like them or not, nor whether they are good or bad. I never use white or black, because they are not colors after all.

KR: Looking over your archive of choices, I am intrigued by the occasional sharp shift in tone. Bad days? Good days?

AM: One blogger described ChromaTweet as colorful and moody and a lot of my friends agreed. When I mix a color I don't look at what color I chose yesterday or the day before, because I want to avoid any kind of preconception about color matching or aestheticizing. I just focus on what happened that day. Honestly speaking, I am moody, but not as moody as it may appear from all those chromatic twists and turns.

I have a big question for people looking at the project: What do you see in those colors? How do you interpret them and what emotion do you attach to the color?

KR: What happened in April, May and June of 2011?

AM: That was a period of very intense personal crises. I was lost and disoriented, with a deep feeling of anxiety. My partner would probably be able to describe more accurately what was happening as someone who was looking closely, but from the outside. Even in this rather unhinged state I tried to express it all in color.

KR: And what happened on Jan 27, 2012?

AM: We were coming back from a vacation in Key West. I was totally freaked out by the tiny plane (that looked more like a dustbin with wings) we flew to Fort Lauderdale. This high anxiety and fear colored my whole day. The color tone is very intense and "unnatural."

KR: What sort of feedback have you gotten about the project?

AM: In the beginning people were puzzled. Then I started putting it out there by posting my daily color to Twitter and Facebook. I found a Tweet once that summarized the typical reaction pretty well:
"Thoughts on ChromaTweet: What? This is pointless and stu... oh hey look at all the pretty colors." (posted by @secondfret).

People also used to ask me about the meaning of particular tones. I was kind of secretive about it. The whole point is to avoid the written/spoken language, to try to communicate emotions with color only. I even avoid using the usual color names. There's only this hexadecimal color code for each tone that makes it easy to reproduce if necessary.

The outdoor print in Dumbo garnered a lot of attention. Even during the installation of the piece people were coming out of the stores delighted that the neighborhood was getting a vibrant artwork of that scale.

A regular stream of Flickr and Hipstamatic photos started after the artwork was installed. My favorite is one of a bride in front of the print.

KR: What's next for you?

AM: Although I started ChromaTweet as a personal experiment I always had in mind some sort of social network where people would ChromaTweet their own feelings. Something very minimal and very emotional. Right now it is in its development stage and it will be launched for the public very soon with an iPhone app in mind. The main tag-line question will be "How do you feel?"

It would be interesting to see how people get to know each other through getting to know each other's chroma-emotional vocabulary.

As for my own ChromaTweet feed there is more and more demand for applying it in various forms. From using my daily ChromaTweet as a background for a website that changes daily to various applications, to design products and apparel. Think July 2009 mug or September 2011 socks. On the other hand I use various segments as standalone artwork. A sequence of colored strips is one of the most straightforward ways of doing it. The possibilities of structuring color segments into a field are enormous.

So after all I'll end up aestheticizing the whole thing without the intention of doing it. The pleasing effect of it is in the eye of the beholder. But one thing is for sure: there's no such thing as mismatching colors.

Keith Recker
Tweet Images: Courtesy of Aleksandar Macasev




A TASTE OF AMERICA

As restaurants became more common in our culture in the late 1800s, printed menus for meals went from being just a listing of the culinary treats offered by a cooking establishment to an integral part of eating out. Looking at different ways in which to keep their customers coming back, many restaurants began focusing more and more on the importance of their menu's graphic design so they could also use it as a marketing tool and a favored souvenir. Steven Heller's, John Mariani's and Jim Heimann's new book on the history of Menu Design in America, which includes 800 printed menus from 1850 - 1985 serves as a history of restaurants and dining out in America by showcasing the history of this great art.

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CROP IT

In the last few years we have seen stunning crop art springing up across rice fields in Japan. Farmers creating these cleverly planted designs use no ink or dye. Instead, different color rice plants have been precisely and strategically arranged and grown in the paddy fields. As summer progresses and the plants shoot up, the detailed artwork begins to emerge.

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SEPHORA + PANTONE UNIVERSE

Sharing a strong passion for how color can transform a face, mood or even an attitude, Pantone has partnered with the leading beauty specialty retailer Sephora to create an extraordinary collection that will change how consumers wear, feel and think about color. Available in all Sephora Americas stores since the end of March, the SEPHORA + PANTONE UNIVERSE beauty collection delivers insightful color forecasting, timely trends and powerful seasonal product collections. Paying homage to our PANTONE 2012 Color of the Year, Tangerine Tango, the first SEPHORA + PANTONE UNIVERSE Color of the Year Capsule Collection includes eye shadows, lipsticks, lip gloss, nail polish and accessories devoted to this vibrant hue. www.sephora.com


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LIVING WALLS

With the world becoming increasingly chaotic and fast paced, it is only natural that we would feel a pull toward nature and the need to re-connect with our environment. While some of us are deciding to leave the concrete jungle behind in order to live closer to nature, others are instead treating building facades and interior spaces as open canvases for their nature-inspired designs. One of the first to experiment with vertical vegetation was Architect Edouard François, who in 1999 in Paris created a "Flower Tower"; a building completely veiled with potted bamboo that offered its residents privacy as well as a feeling of living in a more rural, natural environment. Turning green design into art, Patrick Blanc covered one full side of The CaixaForum Museum in Madrid with a luscious vertical garden comprised of more than 15,000 plants in more than 250 species. In order to refresh an aging Louis Vuitton building, in 2008 architects Gregory Polleta and Sung Jang created a changeable topiary arrangement to cover it. The project, "Topiade", uses greenery-covered forms that can be changed regularly for a fresh new look. The atmosphere at The Moss Room Restaurant in San Francisco is certainly unlike any other. As diners descend into a subterranean room, housed within the Academy of Sciences, they walk past a 40-foot living wall designed by Olle Lundberg that is fully covered in moss. All in all a stunning display of magnificent greenery.

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GOING MODULAR

With consumers constantly on the lookout for "the latest and the greatest", ensuring that retail displays look fresh and enable the product to stand out is a primary goal. The challenge is that, while fashions might change by the season, often times in-store fixturing does not. As publisher David Shah reports in Viewpoint, designers Hisaaki Hirawata and Tomohiro Watabe of Moment Design address this challenge by rethinking the concept of permanent floor architecture in their design of the new clothing store for 24 Issey Miyake in Sapporo, Japan. Featuring 100 rectangular storage panels in gleaming white to enhance color pop, this modular system of display units can be endlessly modified to highlight transient seasonal displays without having to alter the entire store. Each numbered panel can either be recessed or opened up for display, strips can be inserted to create suspended clothing racks and movable display cubes can be positioned anywhere on the selling floor. The effect is to subtly change the architecture of the space to display new fashions, allowing them to remain the central focus within a perpetually dynamic, inviting and serene setting.

David Shah
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COSTUME DRAMA

As Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, reminds us, the fantasy world of the cinema has always provided an inspiration for fashion. This influence seems especially pronounced lately as we see the sweeter side of the 1960s captured in The Help; the style of black-and-white films depicted in The Artist; a look that can only be described as breathlessly beautiful in Marilyn; the hard-edge toughness combined with a raw sex appeal displayed by the character of Lizbeth Salander in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo; and the wartime ethos of War Horse. And who could forget the wonderfully glorious look of Paris during the 1890's in Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris?

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PLASTIC FANTASTIC - AN IMPORTANT ECO STORY

As publisher David Shah reports in the Summer 2012 issue of View2, with natural raw materials continuing to grow scarce, fears about global warming increasing and designers concerned about adding to our global waste problems, the search for synthetic and recyclable material alternatives is gaining both momentum and acceptance. Plastic, once perceived as cheap and tacky, is now being used, along with a variety of other man-made synthetic materials, in a chic way. From transparent plastic in footwear created by Ellen Pitfield, Zuzana Serbak and Adidas, to Australian artist Mark Vaarwerk's jewel-like brooches and rings, more and more designers are turning to plastic as the fabric of the future.

David Shah
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THE DAY THE WORLD TURNED
DAY-GLO


With neon colors once again in the spotlight, we look back to the 1970s when bands like The Ramones and The Sex Pistols took up the punk banner of sullen rebellion and, with their green hair, black leather jackets and dirty jeans, defined what came to be known as punk style. As we see in PANTONE, The 20th Century in Color, written by Leatrice Eiseman and Keith Recker, Vicious and Rotten emulators abounded. Girls wore combat boots, tutus and artfully ripped T-shirts held together with safety pins while wraith-thin boys wore bondage pants under jackets with so many metal studs they resembled armor. Both sexes dyes their spiked hair in Day-Glo colors, pierced their ears, noses, eyebrows and everything else. The Day-Glo colors of punk hair and druggie black light posters were celebrated in 1978 with the X-Ray Spex song "The Day the World Turned Day-Glo," with lead singer Poly Styrene rejecting the overabundance of synthetic materials in modern life: polystyrene, nylon, perspex, acrylic, polypropylene and latex. The punks' color of choice was nihilistic black, a perfect backdrop for a mind-blowing spectrum of neon dyed hair and paint-splattered T-shirts.

Leatrice Eiseman + Keith Recker
PANTONE The 20th Century in Color


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A KALEIDOSCOPE OF COLOR

No matter the season, hot and bold hues are being used more and more to capture the consumer's attention. In a recent issue, New York Magazine highlighted some exciting and enticing products that clearly leverage the power of color. The Yumaki toothbrush comes from a company born from a partnership between a Scandinavian Product Design company and a Japanese Oral Care factory who have been working together for years developing high-quality dental products. Each season they release a new color lineup reflecting the latest color trends, an easy reminder that it's time to purchase a new brush. Crystal crayons and transparent neon tape from design firm Kikkerland stir up the creative juices while the combustible color combination from Marimekko for Converse for Spring 2012 definitely makes you yearn for warmer weather.

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PANTONE FASHION COLOR REPORT FOR FALL 2012

PANTONE'S Fashion Color Report provides a first look at the season's top fashion color picks from the industry's leading designers. From love potions and the magical hour of sunset, to witches and warlocks, fantasy and illusion are inspiring designers this fall season. With an unexpected mix of darks, brights and neutrals, colors for Fall 2012 cleverly manipulate reality to transport consumers to an enchanting place, free from the stresses of everyday life. "By playing to consumers' practical side with versatile neutrals, and boosting their confidence with bold, spirited hues, this skillfully balanced palette has something for everyone," said Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute.

Follow this link to read – and savor – the PANTONE Fashion Color Report for Fall 2012.

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A CELEBRATION OF A BOUNTIFUL EARTH RIPE WITH
FLAVORSOME VITALITY


Satisfying a demand for brighter color, but framed in more tasteful tones, the Co-nvivial palette found in Unity, the PANTONEVIEW Colour Planner forecast for Spring/Summer 2013, has all the personality you would expect from a family of brights but allows for a more practical color application. Designed to be multipurpose in use, this collection of modulated bright tones, including a genial and aromatic mix of juicy reds and pinks as well as vital greens and browns, works equally well in exotic fruit and vegetable prints as well as flatter color combinations. These are simple ingredients which join together to make a sum of its component parts. Like a delicious plate of tapas, this is a palette for picking over, enjoying and sharing. Bon appétit!

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TAKING ORANGEY AND SPICE TONES TO A WHOLE NEW LEVEL

Extracts, one of our forecasted palettes found in PANTONEVIEW home + interiors 2013, employs flavorful notes of color along with suggestions of appealing scents to create color combinations that are zestful, pleasing, piquant and often unexpected. There is a subtle taste implied in this palette that evokes a somewhat exotic top note in Spiced Coral, Brandied Melon and Apple Cinnamon. The quiet presence of Dusty Pink and Baked Clay are refreshingly balanced by a tart Green Banana.

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LEATRICE EISEMAN & KEITH RECKER

In their new book PANTONE The 20th Century in Color, authors and noted color experts Leatrice Eiseman and Keith Recker take an in-depth, decade-by-decade look at the colors that defined culture in "The American Century". More than 200 significant artworks and iconic fashion and elements of décor are featured to illustrate how colors both reflected and influenced changing aesthetic, social, political and technological trends. TONES recently spoke with the authors about their work in developing the book.

TONES: What was your working method? How did you determine the dominant or representative colors of a given decade?

LEATRICE EISEMAN: The first step was total immersion into each decade. We looked at all the cultural artifacts, certainly, such as the art and design objects produced during that timeframe. But we also considered the social trends and conditions that were driving color choices, to understand the rationale behind the colors and the palettes we were seeing.

Our research method varied across the decades. For example, we needed to be particularly careful in identifying colors from the early part of the century, when methods of reproduction were less accurate and preservation techniques more primitive. The early decades needed intensive cross referencing and fact checking.

TONES: What social trends or factors most influence colors? Design? Politics? Technologies?

KEITH RECKER: All of the above. The color-zeitgeist evolves out of a complex mix of psycho-social, socio-economic, macro-micro-nano factors. The multifaceted influences that surround us demand response, and one of those responses is our collective thirst for certain colors.

In the development of the book we came to see how perfectly opposite color palettes frequently come forward at the same time. Not to oversimplify, but as individuals we may only avail ourselves of two categories of response to outside events: to embrace what's happening, or to reject it. Opposing color palettes emerge simultaneously as these polar responses to the external environment are explored.

For example: The Great Depression produced the brilliant, diversionary, distracting, amusing colors of Technicolor – which we discuss in our section about The Wizard of Oz. American (and global) society needed these colors to relieve the economic gloom. But, at the same time, we see the subtle, serious, thoughtful colors of WPA posters and even of chic, pearlescent Hollywood-influenced fashion design. A journey through the moodiness of the moment happens in these palettes. Each is beautiful in its own way. Each is appropriate on its own terms. But they represent very different responses to the events of the day.

TONES: What guided your choices of imagery to include in the book?

LEATRICE EISEMAN: Certain historical images already exist as powerful color statements in our collective memory, such as the Avocado and Harvest Gold kitchens and the fluorescent Punk Mohawks hairstyles of 1970s. These are cultural markers that locate us in a specific place and time. Other expressions of color in the culture, such as the Hawaiian shirt trend and the candy colors of the iMac series, emerge more from the background of their time in history, though they can have just as much effect on our consciousness – maybe more, because we are so saturated by them, over time.

KEITH RECKER: We looked for iconic representation of the palette and the spirit of the times. The search was not easy – particularly when the sources of the most beautiful imagery seemed to fade into the mists as we searched. But in the end, after reaching out to libraries, museums, art galleries, antique dealers, magazine archives, collectors, and more, we found a mix of pictures that speaks to each concept.

TONES: In terms of the representative colors and palettes, what's your favorite decade?

KEITH RECKER: I love the Sixties. There is something in the wild cocktail of that decade that appeals to me. The opening-up of the West to influences like India is invigorating – and foreshadows influxes of Latin and African influence. And the general sense of experimentation and inquiry is so exciting. Plus the range of colors moves me deeply: all the way from smoky, sexy Cordovan to the lime green and taxi cab yellow of Warhol. WOW.

LEATRICE EISEMAN: For me, there wasn't one particular decade that I was attached to, but rather a particular type of image I would see at different points across the century. An image with a subtle, unexpected color palette, where the creative vision behind the work would suddenly reveal itself. The 1930s poster for the US Travel Bureau, for example, promoting Montana – it has a sophisticated design and a sublime color palette. It still holds up as an artwork today. Those kinds of surprises made the book an adventure to write.

—Tim Young


Leatrice Eiseman is executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, the author of seven books on color, and a leading color consultant for major design and manufacturing companies.
Read her bio

Keith Recker is founder and editor of HAND/EYE Magazine, a print and online publication that explores the nexus between art, craft, design, philanthropy and enlightened consumption.
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