Shades of Meaning
WHAT’S MEXICAN FOOD got to do with it? Or, for that matter, Japanese animation or Apple computers? Turns out, a lot.
Together, they’re three indispensable ingredients for a total nerd-fest. But, taken on their own merits, the seemingly incomparable trio comprises just a few tools of the color analyst’s trade.
“I think a lot of people think forecasters sit in an ivory tower and dream up these things and hoist them on the public,” said Leatrice Eiseman, author of Color: Messages & Meanings and director of the Pantone Color Institute, the Carlstadt, New Jersey-based color research and information center. In fact, the “it” colors of tomorrow oftentimes manifest themselves in the unlikeliest of places. Whether it’s the spicy tones of south-of-the-border cuisine, the cheeky color combinations of anime cartoons, or the mechanical, glowing green of the 90s iMac, buzz in various industries can give rise to the next hot hue. “Your antenna is always quivering,” she said. “I can’t be myopic, I can’t keep my eye on one area.”
Green: Innovation, Responsibility
For 2009, it seems Eiseman’s gaze has settled upon an interesting combo of colors—those that have long since laid down roots in the fashion arena and those that may be new, but have the potential for staying power. “Trends last longer now, sometimes for seen elements, and other times, unforeseen,” she noted. Take yellow-green, for example. As Eiseman explained, it’s been on the trend trajectory in various incarnations since the 60s, and after experiencing a particularly strong resurgence in the 90s (thanks to the aforementioned apple-green iMac), it now exists in tandem with a certain environmental movement (heard about it?). “That is one of the reasons green has held on for so long. It’s beyond being a trend, it’s part of our social consciousness now,” she said.