Color Trends 2012 – Dream to Discover

Pantone’s 2012 Color of the Year

Tapping the designer within requires the ability to access the two main parts of inspiration – love, and the ability to day dream – and maybe 10,000 hours of practice. From strong attraction, and the willingness to abstract (this involves the opposite of over-thinking) and trial and error (ie, willingness to make mistakes) one can access their inner design muse.

Color trends help allot. They are like a pocket expert – the 10,000 hours or so of practice has been squeezed into color palettes that work. I don’t have a favorite color – I am a color sponge. I am selectively influenced by colors and patterns I see, and the combinations that occur dance like sugar plums in my head almost 24/7…like Pantone 17-1463. Perhaps it’s because I have loved it as an accent for the last few years. It’s like that odd affirmation that something you already knew was great is known by all – like knowing someone reasonably well who becomes famous overnight – suddenly the world is filled with people singing the praises of what you have always known.

organic shapes, materials and images

I have been considering how to use it again in some unlikely combination as an accent, and while working on my company’s up-coming banner I fell over my inspiration. Dropping the center image onto a lavender color range that I had been working with on a prior image resulted in accidental success.  Stopping to consider this lucky strike of lightening, I added detail to my composition to emphasize the amazing shape of a new RSB chandelier premiering soon for Spring. Happy with my progress, I thought I might pop in an inspirational element in Tangerine Tango, and voila! I love the way it came together.

So then I began to wonder, what would my banner look like if it were a room?

A bit of research revealed Meg Braff”s online interview with House Beautiful Magazine. While the red in the images is not Tangerine Tango, the effect is not lost using shades of the same family. This is the beauty of creative design license!

Meg Braff’s Dining Room featured House Beautiful Magazine

Deatil of a Meg Braff interior from House Beautiful Magazine

OK – so this may seem to you like driving backwards from LA to reach Chicago – so what if this was not my job, and my capsule for finding color inspiration that works was confined to weekends?

Then you take the car out of reverse and take a more conventional course to inspiration – there is no wrong way to abstract or be inspired! Here are some images that I might have used on the road more frequently traveled, to reach the same destination:

A sun rise

smelling the flowers – image is the photography of Elizabeth Root Blackmer from her website

red and lavender cupcakes – johnbwright.com

red and lavender peacock feather hair clip – mimi boutique online

You get the idea. Inspiration lives all around you. The doldrums that persist from January 2 through the ides of March are a perfect time to do some research as get inspired, and if you are reading this now, the search bar is just a click away. Take a picture of your big pieces and print them out. Then find inspiration pieces that you love from your favorite e-tailers and create your own concept board – here’s one I did on or coming to my website:

Inspirational finds

Don’t be afraid to day dream, or grab a roller and act on your color muse – after all, the clock on that 10,000 hours starts with a weekend project.