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What a difference a color can make...
In my years of selling color to a host of industries, one of the things I find most amazing is how often a company will ignore the obvious.
Color, more than any other attribute, has been consistently highlighted through research as the single most important purchasing criteria in home fashion products.
Each company has its own finite budget to spend on the selection and promotion of color.   You would think that each one would want to maximize their limited budget by getting the best colors in the marketplace possible.
In my experience, however, we often see a host of other factors taking the wind out of the color marketing sail!   I have heard so many different reasons why color excellence is impossible...

  • Production can’t make the change on the line
  • The channel will never absorb the additional SKU
  • Last year’s colors were so good, why change?
  • There is no time to deal with that discussion
  • How do we sell the leftover inventory from last year’s range if we change the color now?
  • The budget is cut due to declining sales, so we can’t afford to be current in our color range

The list goes on and on.
Maybe I’m just ranting, but if color is the NUMBER ONE criteria for a product to sell, why do so many other factors have the ability to lay claim over a Color Excellence strategy?
I wonder what a difference just having the right color at the right time would have on fixing the total sales line.   Would that sow the seeds of fixing all the other factors in the first place? 

Color Marketing Group   Color Trends   Determining Color Trends


Color Stories

Vampire Couture – Is Blood the New Black?

Vampire CoutureVampires will always return a few times every Century, but we are full swing into a resurging trend of fascination with the undead and a love of blood. Vampires have moved from underground cult figures to mass mainstream appeal across all age groups.

Perhaps the new bloody phase started with the four part “Twilight” book series by Stephenie Meyer, inspired by a dream that she had in 2003 where a vampire falls in love with a schoolgirl. The film of the first series earned almost $400 Million, taking the teen world by storm.  The second film “New Moon” shines around November this year.

Also current on the big screen is the arrival of “Zombieland” and Korean director Park Chan’s “Thirst” – a slightly different stance from the other Vampire themes. Released earlier this year, “Thirst” deals with the moral dilemma of a young priest who enters a high-risk medical experiment where tainted blood turns out to be a lifesaver of a different kind. “Zombieland”, released in October, was a violent comedy-horror credited with the 2nd highest grossing start on record for a Zombie film. A sequel is already being planned.

Vampire CoutureOn the small screen, “True Blood” enters its second season and has been signed up for a third due to its popularity. Set in a small fictitious Louisiana town, a telepathic human waitress falls in love with a vampire. Japanese scientists have invented a synthetic blood called ‘Tru Blood’ which enables the vampires to integrate into human society; clearly the trend is massive, as “True Blood” is now HBO’s most watched show since “The Soprano’s”.

Couture and ready to wear fashions are following suit; the vampire look is sexy, glam, sultry, seductive and, let’s face it – just ‘drop-dead’ gorgeous! Make-up styles feature snow white, sculptured faces with berry stained lips and dark eyes. In 2008, luxury brands such as Dior, Lancome and Saint Laurent launched black lip gloss, forecasting a trend to follow. Dior beauty also released a palette of dark grey, silver and blue called…Twilight.

Vampire CoutureVampire CoutureDesigners such as Rodarte, Christian Lacroix and Jean Paul Gaultier vamped up their new lines with pale and bloodied models wearing shades of black, lace, leather, gloves, puffy jackets and Gothic Cross necklaces. Lagerfeld vampire chic included dark colours, high collars and leather on the runway. Mortals, such as Angelina and Kylie, have been seen supporting the vamp-inspired fashions.

The ‘undead’ fashion movement first emerged at the Mexico City Fashion Week, where the town celebrates ‘The Day of the Dead’. Fashion accessories are appearing in the ready to wear market too, such as the Zombie Stomper Heels by Iron Fist. Designer Rob Wynne has shown blood-splat cufflinks and there are diverse ranges of Goth and Vampire inspired jewelry.

Vampires and the undead will continue to shadow over society for years to come, as we continue to enjoy the romance and sexuality associated with Vampires since Bram Stokers’ 1897 “Dracula”; this trend might too live forever….


Death of Avocado
Author:  Pat Verdolt

Death of AvocadoBeing a color designer in the color industry for over 40 years, I’ve seen trends emerge and quickly die; however, avocado seemed to live on and on and on.  The crux of this color is that it was pervasive, appearing on absolutely everything.  We were deluged with it to the point no one could escape its insidious tentacles.  Worst of all, it was featured on products whose life spans were too long to be viable.  Appliances, carpet, tile, bathroom fixtures and other long life products sported this color.  Then...the trend died, but the product lived on (and continues to live) beyond its usefulness.  Consumers were unable to find coordinating colors to keep it current; they grew sick of the color being around and very "in your face", developing abhorrence for the hue.  As a colorist, I often refer to the color as the "A" word and my fellow colorful friends know what I speak of.

Death of AvocadoYounger generations born after this phenomenon do not understand the significance of this color. It has become an icon for the late 60's and early 70's.  I have found that by renaming the dreaded hue, I can work it into designs as it’s a suitable companion for curry golds, rich terra cottas and tobacco browns.  Variations of the color appear in Arts and Crafts designs and earth-toned combinations; the lightest shades could be classified as sages or darker versions as olives, but never with the avocado name pasted on it.

Death of AvocadoIn general, appliance manufacturers no longer fall into the trap of putting trend colors on long term items, although there may be trendy colors on high end appliances that the average consumer cannot afford; middle America wants safe colors that won't offend them in the future. Another exception to the rule is the trendy colors on laundry appliances, as they are placed in areas where most guests won’t wander, utility rooms not needing to coordinate and can use the color to brighten the otherwise beige/white, boring room. 

So, is Avocado finally dead?  Is this photo the last living specimen of an endangered trend?  Do you have classic avocado pieces that fit into your current setting; I would love to hear from you.

by Serene Pang, 4 November 2009

The Saffron SpiceIt is amazing the various spices used in the preparation of the Indian cuisine. While some people expound the tastes of such spices tremendously, it may be an acquired taste for others!

I often try to guess which spices are used in an Indian dish, often with little success!  In any case, I am convinced they make every meal a wonderful experience.  Saffron, in particular, is tied to a fond memory I have; after a sumptuous dinner one evening, my dessert came in the form of a Saffron-flavored ice cream!  Imagine my delight, as this is certainly not an everyday flavor! 

Given its distinctive aroma and flavor, a little sprinkle of Saffron gives a unique twist to Indian gourmet.  Apart from cooking, Saffron is also used in scents and essential oils, as I was informed by a dinner guest who happens to own a perfume laboratory. 

The Saffron SpiceIndia is undoubtedly a population who embraces bright, accented colors, often reflected in the women’s everyday wear; Saffron-colored saris adorn shop display windows, amidst other dazzling colors.  In homes, it is not a surprise to find brightly painted Saffron-colored walls and furnishings. Even though the color Saffron was named as a trend color on the Indian palette a couple years ago, it will certainly not be a short term trend!

While saffron is a yellow-orange hue, the Saffron flower is actually violet in color.  In some parts of India, there are fields of saffron flowers and are used in barter trade.  It may be a small flower, but the value of the flowers is quite the opposite!  Crocin is manually extracted from the three stigmas of each flower and is a powerful dyeing agent with great coloring intensity, even if used sparingly.  In fact, saffron is the most precious spice in the world.  Today, India is one of the biggest saffron producing countries, apart from Greece, Spain, Turkey, Iran and Morocco.


Seeing Red
Gerry Johnson (Oct /09)

I am, by no means, a color expert; however, having spent over 30 years involved with some colorful industries, I must have come across virtually every color imaginable.

Today, my focus is drawn to one particular hue that could very well be the most influential and widely-used color, active in every aspect of our lives.  Whether it’s in the form of an expression of an unknown origin or simply in our minds-eye in the course of any given day, RED appears in almost all conversations or experiences.  A stimulating color that creates an emotional spectrum of its own, RED can represent anything from passion to hatred and is naturally used in some very expressive forms.

Seeing RedDoes anyone really see RED or is it just an expression?  It’s no wonder Ferdinand the Bull literally saw RED and became hell bent on killing the methodical matador that taunted him with a RED cape.  On the other hand, Australian natives didn’t seem to be too worked up about seeing RED when a major sandstorm full of red sand blew in from the Outback.  Do those that paint the town RED actually see RED?

When embarrassed, many people get RED-faced, especially when tagged by cops going through a RED light.  They might need to go through some RED tape to get out of that scenario; however, it might be difficult as they were caught RED-handed.  Maybe they could go shopping at a RED tag sale to make themselves feel better, although it might just be a RED herring.  They could also grab a bite to eat to calm their nerves, with a hearty meal of RED meat.

While walking a RED Setter or catching the RED-eye flight, one might think they’re having a good day, maybe even a RED letter day.  The only RED letter days I remember include an English teacher that took pleasure in marking up my essays that definitely didn’t include an “A” and the day I married my RED-headed wife (at least she used to be).

Seeing RedIs it any wonder that stop signs and fire engines are RED, as it displays the threat of immediate danger and shouts out RED alert to all who see?  Even in advertising, RED is consistently used as a means of attracting attention to the featured product.  Even though silver, white, and black cars sell more than RED ones, it’s still the brilliant RED sports car featured in ads that causes everyone to desire it.  The only exception is Cincinnati, where the most popular car color just happens to be RED, maybe due to the fact they are the home of the REDs.  That doesn’t ring true, however, for Boston (with the RED Sox) and Detroit (RED Wings).

Fictional characters, like little RED Riding Hood and Santa Claus’ side-kick Rudolf the RED-nosed Reindeer, have garnered the attention of children for years.  Adults often don the RED coat at Christmas time to see the spark of joy in their eyes.  They also make sure to purchase those RED roses for their sweetheart on Valentine’s Day. 

Ever walked through a movie-rental store looking for a good movie to watch?  Maybe RED October or Moulin ROUGE (c’est RED en Francais) can be the chosen entertainment, or perhaps the Thin RED Line.  If seeing famous actors and actresses strut their stuff is more entertaining, watch them walk down the RED carpet at the Academy Awards, wearing their RED dresses, RUBY jewelry, and RED lipstick.  The RED Hot Chili Peppers might be there, as well as SCARLETT Johansson.  It’s usually good to grab a snack while watching the television, so be sure to pick up some Smarties or Skittles.  Don’t forget to eat the RED ones last!

Seeing RedWhile watching the RED sunset, one might think of making a difference in the world and volunteering at the RED Cross, which is a symbol of hope for a lot of people.  Or perhaps the sunset’s view is skewed after a few strawberry daiquiris or a glass of Rickard’s RED.

No matter how I look at it, seeing RED is a daily occurrence, although I’ve always looked at the world through ROSE colored glasses. My use of the word has been extremely REDundant throughout this blog; however, you can see how this color appears in everyday life.  Please feel free to send in your own collection of RED observations and anecdote, remembering that anything that is colored has to end in RED!

I just realized something…I live on RED Oak Crescent – go figure!


Featured Color of the Month

Neutrals are Colors too!
Pat Verdolt

Many people think of neutrals as a non-color; basically, the only non-colors are black, white, and the grays in between that contain no hint of a hue. But as colors move away from neutral, they start to show signs of hues within them. These hue-influenced neutrals can be mixed and coordinated in the same way as other more chromatic colors.


This combination is based on using opposite or complementary colors, which in this case is warm neutrals and cool neutrals. The color names were chosen to give the idea of an elegant and luxurious destination. Whether they are real or imagined, they give the perception of experiencing an exotic place with pampering while enjoying a glass of wine and watching the sun set.



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