Trend Briefing: Fresh Event Colors for Fall
This autumn, create optimism by pairing updated neutrals with vibrant colors for a fresh look at your eventsby Rachel Globus | Published in June 2009 colors | design | fashion | it report | Departments
Looking at iron, the top color to show up in fall 2009 fashion collections, you might think we were headed for very dark times. Somewhere between brown, black and charcoal gray, it reflects the national mood of restraint and pragmatism in the wake of a challenging economy. But take a closer look at Pantone’s Fashion Color Report Fall 2009, which highlights color trends based on fashion designers’ choices for the season, and you’ll see a different story — one of balancing realism with vibrant optimism.
For event design, that latter aspect is key, according to Marjorie
Randell-Silver, owner and executive producer at Copper Leaf Productions. “Events are an escape,” she says. “We want people to feel uplifted and transported into a different place for a little while.”
Randell-Silver says she would use iron as an accent, such as in a vase or an element on the table, and a brighter color as a base note.
Turquoise, yellow, neon orange and charcoal gray are important colors for David Stark Design and Production in New York, says David Stark. The key to refreshing your fall palette, he adds, is pairing brighter colors with today’s neutrals. “Charcoal gray is the new chocolate brown,” he explains. Pairing pink or blue with chocolate brown? “Somewhat yesterday.”
Yellow is still fresh, however. “Yellow has been a color that we’ve adored for a long time,” says Stark. “We’ve often tried in previous seasons to sell that color and it’s been a harder sell. Now I have people telling me all the time that they love yellow.” Pantone saw a warmer, more subdued honey yellow for fall.
Although Pantone’s fall colors generally follow longer-range trends, some have gotten an unexpected boost from current events, such as the deep royal purple (Pantone’s purple heart) that Michelle Obama favors.
“I’m noticing a lot of purples, especially a deep royal purple,” says Travis Dudley, a freelance event producer and designer, and one of minds behind the 2009 Event Solutions Spotlight Awards, which used it as a base color.
Pantone also points to burnt sienna, rapture rose (a cross between vibrant fuchsia and soft pink) and warm olive (a rich yellow-green) for fall. But earthy fall colors may not always translate to events.
“There’s sophisticated, and then there’s drab,” Randell-Silver points out. “The question is, how do you balance it? I think you balance it with an alternative color that pops.” The size of the event can affect how your palette plays too, she says. An event for 3,000 filled with dark grays and olives would be somber. “But for a party of 50 or under, it could be amazing,” she says.
In the end, color is all about context. “It has to be appropriate to the mood of the surrounding that you are trying to create,” says Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute. “You have to be able to integrate all of those influences that are out there in color, and yet not stray from the feeling or the ambiance that you want to create from that color. Once you throw away the psychology of color and just use the trends, then you’re in trouble.”