Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Pantone and it's Ever Changing Color of the Year

Pantone's Marsala

Personally I think quite a few jewelry designers think too literally when it comes to Pantone. 

You hear it every year, who are they to tell me what color to use!?

 It's a report, Pantone is telling you what is headed to the stores......
 the clothing stores, the furniture stores, the Bed and Bath stores, the Bead stores, everything we buy that is designed is taken into consideration. 

These are the prominent colors being used by designers all over the world. 

The colors always overlap with previous seasons and future colors being used. 

Whether or not you pay close attention should be based on who your target market is. If she is a fiercely independent woman with her own ideas, do whatever you want. 

If she's fashionista, you'd better pay attention. She's looking for pieces that will look good with her new outfit AND last seasons favorites as well as being able to blend with next season. 

Does that mean you HAVE to use Marsala? 


It means you should use colors that look good with it. You should ALWAYS use colors that LOOK GOOD with other colors, ALWAYS!

Here's a little article I wrote for Jewelry Lessons way back in 2008 it's still VERY relevent.

My Favorite Color Wheel from Real Color Wheel

How many times have you heard “I never would have thought to combine THOSE colors!”? Or “I can’t believe how good that looks with copper!”? Or my favorite :You can’t use those colors together, they’ll clash.

The truth is you can combine colors in any way you choose - making them a pleasure to behold is a little trickier and where this article is headed.

There are books you can buy but to fill up the pages they’ll talk about reflectivity, prisms, and bending light - we’re going to stick to the basics and how they apply to us.

All colors are made up of three primary colors red, yellow and blue. We all learned this at a young age, remember finger painting?

Mixing those primary colors creates secondary colors.
Red + blue = purple(violet)
blue + yellow = green
yellow + red = orange

When mixing the primary colors to get secondary colors you probably noticed that if you add more of one color than the other you’ll get Tertiary colors- those shades in between each primary color and it’s corresponding secondary color Ie yellow, yellow-green, green, blue -green, blue, blue-violet , purple (violet), red-violet, red, red-orange, orange, yellow orange and back to yellow again.

Notice brown is not on our wheel of color- that’s because it is a neutral and made of ALL three primary colors. You’ll also notice white and black are not on the wheel. White is considered an absence of color, adding it to any shade makes it paler. Black as we all know does the opposite, making the color deeper and darker until it too shows no color.

OK so now we’ve all relived our Kindergarten finger painting days and should have smiles on our faces, but what does this have to do with choosing colors? Well, keep reading, we’re getting there!

Complementary colors, are those colors directly opposite each other on the color wheel. They complement each other. Blue and orange, red and green, yellow and violet (purple) It doesn’t matter how you spin the wheel if the color is directly opposite it will complement the other.

Family groupings. Any color within a family grouping can be used with another color of the same grouping.

Cool family of color groupings are those colors associated with water and ice or a stormy wintry day, mainly blues and greens, blue gray, gray, blue green and blue violet.

Warm family of color groupings are those colors associated with fire, reds, yellows and oranges.

Neighbor groupings - Any color that is next to another color on the wheel can be used in combination with that color. Red always goes well with blue and any shade of purple between the two. Red is also perfectly happy with yellow and any shade of orange. See where I’m going here. Blue also works just fine with yellow and any shade of green.

Monochromatic families- a single color but includes any shade of that color from the palest pastel to the deepest jewel tone.

Pastel family groupings are the basic color wheel lightened to a soft hue.

Jewel tone family groupings are again the color wheel deepened in intensity.

Now remember I said any color could be used with another. Here’s the trick to doing so - it just has to be of the same family grouping, or tonal value.
Meaning the intensity of the color has to be the same. Whether it’s a jewel tone or a pastel or any value of dark or light in between, if their intensity is the same they’ll work well together as they belong to the same family grouping!

I mentioned copper at the beginning and well it’s simple really, copper has a red base color and it tarnishes down to brown. Brown being neutral goes with any color! And of course red likes blue or yellow and any color in between and it’s complementary color is green! So really, why wouldn’t that color look great with copper?

And yes it works for the more upscale metals too. Yellow Gold obviously has a yellow base, goes well with red or blue and and all those in between and it’s complementary color is purple. Silver has a blue base, yup you’ve got it! Goes well with red or yellow and all the colors in between and it complementary color is orange! So even our metals have the primary colors covered :o)

For a fun interactive color  site where you can play with complementary color combinations, monochromatic colors or any number of combinations go here:


Click on any color and whether you want monochromatic or multiple colors.

If you’re still unsure or a little afraid here’s another tip. Go down to your local home improvement store or the paint store and buy their full spectrum color swatch. You’ve seen the home decorating shows where the designers use them when showing what colors they chose to go with what fabric.- they go from lightest to darkest of every color. It’s your very own tonal value chart and they even come out with a mini version for the fashion trend colors every year!

Marsala is RED, see above copper reference.   Now that you've read a little on color theory look at Pantone's Marsala photo up top again. See the neighbors and the complements? 

Don't be afraid of color, explore it, revel in it!

Til next time!

OH! BTW next weeks post will be early!! It's Part ONE of the Build a Line Hop!!
See ya then!