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Featured in editor David Shah’s Viewpoint Magazine, Franklin Till tells us that, in contrast to stylized and minimalist design, Plasticine is characterized by a playful and hands-on aesthetic that indulges in highly saturated colors and smooth textures. Seeming to emerge from the enthusiastic DIY culture, these process-driven works of art created by spontaneous and expressive techniques embrace an element of surprise and produce some unique pieces and installations. From Yago Hortal’s acrylic paintings with neon colors, Jordy van den Nieuwendijk’s vibrant figurative designs made out of fluorescent clay, and hot fuchsia pink orchid bowls created by Fredrikson Stallard to fantastical legwear by Nick Pulles, we are seeing some bold new color and design directions coming to the forefront, highlighting a fresh new look in this digital age.

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TONES by Pantone v3.03: Color News & Views

The Emergence of Plasticine
A Psychedelic Trip
Drivable Art
Social Gaming - Fashion's
Newest Frontier
Good Enough to Eat
Happiness is a Balloon
Putting Dyestuffs on a
Low-Salt Diet

Fashion in the Streets
Glamorous Reflections
Shaggy Chic
Fit to Print
Connecting the Dots
Glo For It
It's All Mashed Up

PANTONE Fashion Color
Report for Spring 2013
Positively Blissful
A Path to Vibrant Tribal Color

Paul Thompson
myColor myIdea


Integrating the station with its surroundings, as well as providing a platform for innovative, cutting-edge design strategy, the Karim Rashid-designed metro station in Naples, Italy represents the new wired global condition. Sculptures and graphic artworks line the escalators leading to the train platform which has been transformed into a candy-colored kaleidoscope. Once the commuter arrives at the end of the escalator, transformational digital art follows them to the platform stairways. Lime and pink accents appear throughout, guiding visitors through the descent to their final destination. Such a playful and colorful experience certainly turns the drudgery of the daily commute into a wondrous and exciting journey.

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Timed to coincide with the London Summer Olympics, the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London partnered with BMW to bring Art Drive, an installation of BMW’s Art Car Collection, to London for the first time. Started over 35 years ago, when French auctioneer and race car driver Hervé Poulain invited his friend Alexander Calder to design a car that married artistic excellence to “an already perfect object”, Art Drive now features designs from 16 of the world’s best-known artists. Created for various reasons and causes, designs contributed by Alexander Calder, Ken Done, Frank Stella, David Hockney, Jeff Koons and others display a wide range of artistic interpretation and certainly add a great dose of color excitement and vibrancy to these powerful driving machines.

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Interactive gaming looks to be fashion’s next frontier in the digital space for companies who have already expanded their web presence with editorial content, mobile presence and social commerce. Partnering with DKNY, is an interactive social experience designed to engage the fashion industry online. Living exclusively on Facebook, players are challenged to create a career within any facet of the fashion world, from show production and photography to styling look books, runway shows or ad campaigns. Users are encouraged to tap into talents within site parameters as well as network with other players and rise to fame with each challenge. Starting with generic options, as a player progresses up the ranks, a boutique with virtual products and designs will be at their disposal to help them advance in the game. Shoe company Aldo has entered the mix here too. On their site,, players are given 16 pairs of shoes, broken down into four levels with the goal to try on as many pairs as possible within three minutes. If players run out of time, they can gain a bonus three minutes by sharing the game on Facebook, Twitter or Tumbler. Upon completion of the four levels, players are asked to enter their information for a chance to win an actual three-minute in-store shopping spree. And then there is, a game in which high-fashion models dodge obstacles – and each other – as they prance down the catwalk. Blending feminine passion with high-octane action, each model is given a storyline and as the competition gets tougher, we see models tripping one another and flying coffee lattes splattering on the screen. With social gamers estimated to hit 74 million in 2013 and 53% of this population predicted to be female, it is no wonder that many companies are stepping up their game.

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The handmade resin pieces in the new Sorbet collection from Australia-based Dinosaur Designs come in refreshing hues layered in such a way so as to produce a variegated effect. Each piece, hand sculpted in clay, is characterized by its uneven lines and finger-smoothed surface before being cast in resin and then sanded, drilled and finished by hand. This juxtaposition of gelato-inspired pastel shades and bright highlights, inspired by the vibrant pigments of fruit, the color processes they go through when transformed into an icy sorbet and how the tones change with the addition of ice, look simply good enough to eat.

Pantone Color Team



Looking more like a shaggy dog than living room seating, the “Happy Chair”, created by Israel-based industrial designer Pini Leibovich, is made with thousands of colorful balloons. Taking a playful and unstructured approach with these most familiar of materials, our intellectual barriers melt and pure unadulterated joy springs forth. Quirky, odd and surely whimsical Leibovich and his Happy Chair have captured our imagination, taking us up, up and away on his beautiful balloons.

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Looking simultaneously retro and futuristic, the Peel P50 and Trident from Peel Engineering are making comebacks 50 years after their original launch and, in keeping with the times, each can now be purchased with an electric engine. With only one door, one headlight, a single windshield, and able to reach a speed of up to 40 miles per hour, the tiny three-wheeled P50 at 134 centimeters long and 40 centimeters wide is possibly the world’s smallest car. Seating two, the bubble-roofed Trident is only just slightly larger. Only 25 of each will be made and, while neither pretends to be the future of electric transport, they certainly bring some fun and flair to the world of eco-friendly automotive design.

Pantone Color Team



Developed with the goal of reducing the amount of time, water and energy needed to bring color to fabrics and reduce toxic output, ColorZen is a new process that sits between dyestuffs and cotton fibers. Through nano-technology, cellulose is manipulated at the molecular level in a way that makes it more receptive to dye, reducing the time needed to dye a bale of cotton from 7.9 hours to 2.4 hours, creating an energy savings of approximately 75% and dropping water usage by an estimated 90%. Even more critical is ColorZen’s ability to eliminate salt from the process, as well as three-quarters of secondary chemicals, that otherwise would be put into any and all bodies of water communities depend upon, including streams, rivers and local water systems. With 20% of industrial freshwater pollution believed to come from textile treatment and dying – a number that increases in countries more dependent on textile and apparel production – ColorZen’s formula for saving the dyer time and money while simultaneously decreasing environmental impact without any additional financial investment appears to be a win-win for all concerned.

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Street Art, once considered ugly vandalism, is now being printed on high-end garments and marketed to the fashionista demographic. Here we see India-based designer Manish Arora featuring superimposed images of the work of Brooklyn-based artist Judith Supine as part of his debut collection at Paris Fashion Week earlier this year. This same influence is being extended into casual footwear.

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From luminous furniture to ethereal fashion and footwear, our fascination with reflective surfaces knows no bounds. Maybe it is the expansive feeling mirrors create, maybe it is the transportive quality they inspire or maybe it is their dazzling brilliance that appears so futuristic. They say that beauty lies in the eye of the beholder. So, maybe, just maybe, we are so captivated with these shimmering surfaces because what we see in the mirror's reflections can be entirely up to us.

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Our love affair with nature's greens are driving the trend in these shaggy-meadow-looking lawns we are seeing in residential home design as well as in urban areas like the High Line in NY and the Palisades Garden Walk under construction in Santa Monica, CA. Meadows are simply in fashion. This is due partly to a backlash against more traditional lawns which get a bad rap because of the quantity of water, chemical fertilizer and energy they tend to consume; but also many architects and lawn designers like the contrast of the undone, soft-edged look of a meadow against the modern straight lines of a home. Design pioneer Apple certainly likes it; their new headquarters in Cupertino, CA features acres of grasslands and meadows.

But for those of us who can't or don't want to live with a meadow but still want to feel the grass beneath our feet while still wearing shoes, Kusa makes flip-flops lined with synthetic turf. Then again your feet might be a bit more comfortable if you chose to gaze instead at these sneaker sculptures from London artist Jethro Haynes or this book of fantastical botanical shoes by renowned photographer Michel Tcherevkoff.

Pantone Color Team



In a nod to interiors, printed pantsuits are making a strong comeback this fall as the influence of Mad Men and the 1960s continues to live on. In sharp contrast to the minimalistic color blocking we have seen of late, these psychedelic pantsuits seem to have much in common with stuffed pillows and interior upholstery. While each of these pieces can certainly be worn as separates, this look is being shown as very "matchy-matchy" from the apparel right down to the accessories and footwear - something we have not seen in a very long while.

Pantone Color Team



Polka dot fans - watch out! Visionary Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama and designer extraordinaire Marc Jacobs have collaborated on a limited edition collection of apparel and accessories in these explosive dots for Louis Vuitton, inspired by Kusama's spotted oeuvre and preferred theme, "Love Forever." According to Marc Jacobs, "The dots represent something that has no points, no hard edges and is infinite. And what could be nicer than infinite love?" We think so, too.
Pantone Color Team


With neon shades making a bold color statement in everything from fashion to footwear, it was only a matter of time before these day-glo brights made their way into furnishings and decorative accessories. Wondrous flashes of fluo appear on sofas designed by Alberto Biagetti, stools from Eva Maguerre and Hay Denmark's accordion-style folders. Combining fluorescent light with clear materials, Alexandra Von Furstenberg's acrylic coffee tables positively glow.

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Moving into fashion and home furnishings, mash-ups are creating some intriguing new designs. Always on the cutting edge, Junya Watanabe is showing classic menswear in restyled shapes mashed up against prairie dresses for a look that is both dark and interesting. Then there is the split-personality appeal of this ultramodern dining table by Kisskalt; two tables in one, half of the design is modern, glossy and minimalist while the other half is traditional German oak with carved legs and a natural finish. And then east meets west in this new china collection from Seletti, where classic patterns join in the middle. Is this a case where two halves make more than a whole?
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"This season, designers overwhelmingly address consumers' desire for self-expression, balance and the need to re-energize..."

From exuberant Poppy Red to calming Dusk Blue, from piquant Lemon Zest to soft Grayed Jade, today's top designers reveal the colors they are featuring in their spring collections, offer rare personal insights into their inspirations and signature colors, and list their must-have items for the coming year. It's all here in the PANTONE fashion color report for spring 2013 – the one forecast that brings together the important colors for next season and the colorful personalities behind them.

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Irresistible deep and luscious darks are counterbalanced with shimmering metallic highlights in Bliss, a palette highlighted in Happiness, our PANTONEVIEW Colour Planner forecast for Autumn/Winter 2013/2014. These rich shades are ripe with mouth-watering temptation and enticing aromas; the lush espresso and chocolaty hues of Friar Brown, Shopping Bag and Coffee Bean. Navy Peacoat and deep violet Petunia act to beguile and we are magnetized by the deep berry tints of rhododendron and fig. Physical indulgence provides a swift route to happiness; however, while the wish to treat ourselves can be compelling, we seek balance and sophistication here, not decadence. Metallics are fast becoming part of everyday life and, more than ever, are incorporated into many diverse products that explore alluring surface effects. Food, fashion, science and art are now intertwined in the quest to experiment with our senses: playing with smell, taste, color and texture.

Pantone Color Team



Making waves earlier this season at the Chanel 2013 resort show, a white-based Seafoam Green emerges as a key fashion color (PANTONE 13-5714 Cabbage). With its roots in the 1950s I connect shades of Instagram greens and iconic Jadeite dishware. For ladies, leverage Seafoam in Easter table programs. In Juniors and Young Mens it is a must in '50s Kitsch and Rockabilly-inspired trends.

Mitchell Kass



Speaking to our need for adventure and exploration, Footprints, a palette from our PANTONEVIEW home + interiors forecast for 2013, leads us down a path of vibrant tribal colors. These are steps that are not taken lightly but instead are bold, forthright and very directional. Following the seductive rhythms of Tangerine Tango are Peacock Blue, a fiery Pink Flambé and a solar-powered yellow. Oasis, a verdant yellow green, provides respite from the heat of Sudan Brown.

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"Listening to the client's needs and their perspective about a project causes me to think and develop directions beyond myself and what I have done before..."

Paul Thompson is a recognized professional with over twenty years in space planning, product development and merchandising in the gift and home furnishings industries. He has conceived, designed and installed award winning showrooms across the United States. He has particular expertise in using color and style to communicate trends in sales environments as well as expressing a client's unique personality when designing home interiors. TONES caught up with Paul at a recent design conference and asked about his working methods and inspiration.

TONES: Where do you begin when creating a new showroom? Do you usually have a color direction in mind before starting, or do you take your cues from the client?

PAUL THOMPSON: Almost all projects have their own limits or implied directions. This can be evidenced in the space itself or the color preferences that the client or design team may have.

Often new showrooms are based on previous showroom development and these various spaces reflect existing brand criteria for the given company in the fixtures, flooring and overall style of the build-out. The color direction is often a lighter background for the product to play off of, but often we use saturated color hues for bold backgrounds that enhance the various products on display.

Showrooms are usually planned to be changed or modified structurally or within the space twice a year as it relates to spring/summer or fall/winter markets. These changes most often involve repainting based on a product direction or overall theme of a show or fashion trend. I have always relied on Pantone and the fashion color forecast to inform and direct me as needed. These reference tools are so helpful in conversations with clients to see trend and overall market directions with color.

TONES: Does color help your commercial clients communicate a brand or product message?

PT:Absolutely; the brand of a client is often rooted in their company logo and the marketing and brand guides. If a company has not updated their logo, or has no guide for style and color direction, it can be an opportunity to help refresh and create new logo and brand directions that may be long overdue.

If a company is known for a bold use of color, then an expectation and an association with color exist with that client's customer. If the client has no real color direction past the logo, then adding a color palette to the brand can create excitement and update the perception of what can be perceived as a stale brand look.

TONES: You also design residential interiors. How do you decide on a color palette when designing a residential space?

PT: Getting to know your client is essential in this process, along with reviewing what the existing space(s) have looked like and identifying the furniture and furnishings that will continue to be used in the space(s).

Most clients have a color sensibility and you need to determine what those colors are and how much you can direct the client into a modified or new color palette that the client feels comfortable with. I always say that I do want to put my signature on every project but I also understand the client need, budget and result that they want to live with. While I am known for a clean and contemporary direction, I do want my projects to reflect my client's style and preferences, not mine exclusively.

Often a basic color palette can be enhanced with texture on fabrics and other décor along with color on drapery, pillows and rugs to add new life and boldness to a somewhat calm or safe color direction.

TONES: What is the most memorable space you've designed?

PT: It would have to be a bedding and bath retail shop that I did with almost no money, little time, and no real brand direction.

Thanks to good contractors that I have used for many years on commercial projects and an existing relationship with the company management, I was able to deliver a finished space that looked great, functioned well, elevated the brand and didn't exceed the approved budget.

This project became a turning point in my own development and in the way I approached working with clients and my methodology for design. Ultimately, this shop has become a model for classroom instruction on visual branding and store planning that I teach. The store and its development make for a great case study for students to use to understand design concept, space planning, logo and brand development, fixture design, color study and merchandising and display for a retail space.

TONES: Do you have a current favorite color or palette?

PT: I am finding that bright bold color and design details to be my main focus as I work on a project for an institution, trying to look from the perspective of the students who will be using the facility. What colors will they respond to, and in what combinations and in what graphic formats? How will the colors and the textures work together to be harmonious and energizing without distraction? Also, how will this final palette be used in contrast with murals and other student artwork that will be created to be installed in the facility?

TONES: What inspires you?

PT: My clients inspire me. I have the good fortune to work both on commercial and residential projects and this may include a team of people or a single client. Listening to the client's needs and their perspective about a project causes me to think and develop directions beyond myself and what I have done before.

I often take the thought that is least related to my gut reaction and think about where that direction comes from and what might be possible from that suggestion. These suggestions always include the discussion of color and its use in materials and specifically painted finishes. It is important to recognize how we use color since it affects how we feel and perceive our surroundings.


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