A sophisticated, natural earthiness



So the colour of 2015, according to Pantone, is Marsala. A colour that “enriches our mind, body and soul, exuding confidence and stability.” Some would say nurturing and fulfilling for others it is the colour of dried blood and wine stains, the colour of regret. To investigate a little deeper I have been reading The Pantone Guide to Communicating with Colour by Leatrice Eiseman.

This book contains a detailed look at the psychology of colour and a cornucopia of colour combinations focusing on consumer marketing.  It is, nevertheless, an informative book for artists. Below are some interesting snippets from the book:

Young children are colour rather than form dominant. This usually changes with age but many creatives remain colour-dominant.

Memories involving colour from childhood set the pattern for future reactions.

Children between three and six years old, as well as teenagers, have a fondness for orange.

Cultural heritage and socialisation involves the transmission of beliefs about colour.

New colour combinations, by their novelty, attract our attention. Children generally like unexpectedly coloured food more than adults because they have less conditioning.

20% of visual signals go to the pituitary gland causing physiological reactions such as increased heart rate and sweating.

Yellow is unusual in becoming brighter with saturation, other colours become deeper.  Teamed with black they are the most unignorable colour combination.

In recent times brown has gained prestige due to designer coffee and expensive leathers.

Teal blue is one of the few colours liked equally by women and men.

Green is the colour with the widest amount of choices.

Taupe is also referred to as “greige” – grey plus beige.

Black is not a popular choice for an airplane or boat because of the association with weight.

Consumers are 78% more likely to remember words written in colour as opposed to black or white.

Towards the end of the book there is a neat section on influences, trends and buzzwords around colour.  As a former offset litho printer I remember the sensory delight of opening a new tin of Pantone ink and scooping out thick, sticky globs into the ink fountain. Whether you embrace Marsala in 2015 or not the work Pantone has been doing since 2000 in gauging the global colour zeitgeist is enriching for us all.


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