Lenzig Forecasts for Autumn 2014/Winter 2015

Lenzig produces color products and has free trend forecasts. People in various industries often pay to subscribe to trend forecasts to help predict trends in style and color when developing products for upcoming seasons. You’ve all gone shopping and seen echoes of the same color palette in a variety of products and stores – they all picked up on trends. Here are Lenzig forecasts for Fall/Winter 2014/2015 – they DO plan that far in advance – thanks to my sister, Robin Wagner, a clothing designer and educator in Los Angeles. While I can’t say I follow color trends overtly, I LOVE to read the color stories they write that reflect an emotional tone and explain the color choices. Often, they’re a bit overblown, but fun, and it helps me to think about color cause and effect in my work. Often trends reflect social and cultural patterns. E.g. after the financial melt-down, people wanted to feel calm and secure, and maybe rich with things they already had. Emphasis was on nesting, rather than going outward because people spending more time at home. Color stories for that time reflected those moods, and made them an asset.

Check out the blurb about the zeitgeist and the colors:


One of Lenzig’s palettes for the upcoming seasons.

Color Stories

Designers often look at color forecasts, and make up palettes and color stories, built around concepts for the season. The 2013 Pantone Color of the Year, Emerald, is described as  “…the color of growth, renewal, and prosperity—no other color conveys
regeneration more than green.” Well, that’s an optimistic choice for the new year.

Pittsburgh Paints has a color sense game online to help you find your color palette matched to your personality choices:  http://www.voiceofcolor.com/digital-color/color-sense-game

Sherwin Williams has videos for color stories with names like Midnight Mystery (“The colors are moody, the vibe is masculine and the aesthetic is both Victorian and futuristic.”) Watch the video to see how they match the colors with the words and ideas.

If you want to surround yourself with a color you find inspiring, Sherwin Williams offers an app for you phone to color match whatever you photograph with a paint.

From The Ultrabright:
SS2013: Color forecast confirmation + Global color overview
analysis |Nov, 2012

In December of 2011 we predicted that for the spring/summer 2013 season the consumer would continue to drift between the real and unreal – their fantasies and reality. We also predicted that for the upcoming season the color focus will be on nature-inspired shades, 90s bleached hues and hyper-real brights. Here we offer you a confirmation of the colors we predicted for spring/summer 2013, Future Color Forecast: spring/summer 2013, as well as a global overview of the most important colors for the upcoming summer season, as seen during the four major fashion weeks: New York, London, Milan and Paris. …read more

Lenzing is a company that makes color. PDF with some lively color stores and palettes to give you insight for future trends:


Pantone has developed home and interior decoration color stories for 2013. Here’s what they estimate people are  thinking about:
The nine palettes for 2013 are: Connoisseur, Glamour, New Old School, Rugged  Individuals, Extracts, Footprints, Sojourn, Surface Treatments and Out of the  Ordinary.

The palette called Connoisseur takes a fresh approach to  celebrating the finer things in life while displaying a sense of history and  elegance. Whether it is the perfect plate or the smooth finish of a simple table  linen, these fine sensibilities are often reflected in a choice of colors that  are both sophisticated and refined, yet not without a touch of understated  drama. The colors are a compilation of monochromatic violets and orchids, liquid  pink, deep mahogany, alyssum white and beechnut green, all reflected against  champagne beige and silver.

Read more: Pantone View Home + Interiors 2013 Trend Forecast http://www.dexigner.com/news/24716#ixzz2G7UHQR7J

I’m not suggesting that I do or you should follow seasonal color trends, but I find it interesting to see how other artists pair content with color choices, and how this reflects the mood/s of the times. The color forecasting people do an interesting job with this. The ideas that color and value choices (and thereby focus) are about more than being “pretty” or appealing – that color and value carry emotion and meaning – help to shape the works that bring your values to the table. We need, in both real and metaphoric terms, more people bringing personal values to that table.

 Below, a bowl that features a yellow-green next to a cool teal, accented with purple fruit. Chartreuse can be a color that denotes envy, to me. “Green with envy” doesn’t seem emerald-colored, but more sulphurous green. It’s easy to mix by volume for majolica decoration with a bright praseodymium yellow stain and copper – mixed 1/2 bentonite: 1 copper: 3-4 yellow stain: 3 frit 3124 or similar. Add a couple drops CMC gum or glycerin if you choose. Too much gum makes it slippery and hard to put down evenly. I do love that color, in general. It’s also the color of new leaves in many plants, and the color of sunlight through new leaves – I see it most often as a growing, optimistic color. In this bowl, I imagined the fruit as the fruits of one’s labors, and being a bit envious of the ripeness of that fruit. The purple-toward-red is a complement to the green-toward-yellow, making both colors richer. The teal is a darker value, and makes the bottom of the bowl recede. The white rim (and lighter value of the leaf colors) helps the form expand visually toward the top, with a re-statement of green and blue-green to link to the rest of the bowl.

Arbuckle 2010 Bowl-Fruits of Our Labors in a Time of Envy

Arbuckle 2010 Bowl-Fruits of Our Labors in a Time of Envy

Arbuckle 2010 Bowl-Fruits of Our Labors in a Time of Envy 399-2

Color of the Year 2013: Emerald

My sister, Robin Wagner, is a clothing designer specializing in knitwear. She’s alerted me to color forecasting, an important concept in her field, and the industry of color forecasting. Designers may pay to subscribe to a service that determines what the trendy colors for future seasons will be. If you’re of a certain age, you’ll remember the flood of Harvest Gold and Avocado appliances that parents handed down (by then well OVER these colors) for your college apartment? Remember the summer season in fashion when so much was safety orange or chartreuse? Looked great it you had a dark tan, but otherwise questionable. These are the effects of color forecasting in industry. The forecasts come out well in advance so that designers can work on palettes – color stories – for their lines.

Pantone, the color people who set standards for color-matching in industry has declared the Color of the Year 2013 is Emerald. See the link for examples and more info. This looks like a good year for modified chrome greens in ceramics. Pantone says:

“Lively. Radiant. Lush… A color of elegance and beauty                                                                        that enhances our sense of well-being, balance and harmony.”
PANTONE 17-5641 Emerald, a lively, radiant, lush green, is the Color of the Year for 2013.

Design Problem-solving

At the recent workshop at Peters Valley Craft Center, there were comments from some participants that they hadn’t often thought about design when it came to putting surface on pots. One of my favorite books for looking and thinking about design changes is architect Brent Brolin’s small book The Designer’s Eye: Problem-Solving in Architectural Design. Mr. Brolin has also written the excellent Flight of Fancy: the Banishment and Return of Ornament, which was re-published under a title I felt less useful: Architectural Ornament: Banishment and Return. It’s a great book about ornament, not just buildings.

As a fun fact, Mr. Brolin’s mother-in-law was Eva Zeisel, the remarkable designer.

Excerpt from The Designer's Eye by Brent Brolin

Excerpt from The Designer’s Eye by Brent Brolin showing the effect of off-centering the doorway.

The Designer’s Eye would not have been possible before digital image manipulation. A building detail is shown in 2 different versions, and a brief comment below remarks on how the change influences the way the building is seen. This is from a section on openings, and he conveniently shows another example of a teapot with an asymmetric opening. Basically, it’s a picture book with comments. The comments are often observational, rather than judgemental: not THIS IS THE RIGHT WAY, but that A gives a different visual effect than B, and you can see what works best for your own design goals. A way to practice visual sensitivity; good for your own works and for looking at other’s works for critique. Brilliant. Someone should do design make-overs with pottery. Click the image below to go to Amazon and pick up a copy if this interests you. Inexpensive used copies available when I looked. I think it’s a great look book.

Working with drop molds with Chris Pickett

The web site is the 21st-century’s business card. UF Ceramics MFA alumnus Chris Pickett has a snappy new web site designed by UF Graphic Design student Marisa Falcigno. Marisa worked as a graphic designer before deciding to return to school for MFA study. She’s been a great consultant and designer for many people affiliated with Ceramics, and assisted Masters Art Education alum Jeni Hansen with her K-12 ceramics resource site for teachers, Oh Happy Clay!

Chris’s new site includes a fun process page that shows how Chris handbuilds his work using drop molds made from foam insulation. It’s a variation on forming slabs that uses shallow cut-outs to slump soft slabs into curved forms. I’ve seen people use plywood forms, but the stiff foam insulation sheets are easy to cut and light-weight. It’s a flexible method of adding volume in shapes to slab-building. Ceramics Monthly had a nice article about Chris’s methods in Dec. 2011. Chris is inspired by inflatable toys, mid-20th century modern furniture designers, and the seduction of touch.

Chris Pickett drop-molded tray, cone 6

Online color resources

There are sites online where you can give the URL of an image, and it will deconstruct it into a palette.

This is what it did with my banner image:

Color Palette Generator results

On Color Hunter it’s similar: put a URL or upload an image, and it gives you the palette and the hexidecimal color numbers for web use.

Behr Paint has a website that helps you find your color combinations.

Color Schemer’s website helps you work from digital color to develop a palette of colors, and gives you some colors to go with your choice as well as letting you lighten or darken your palette.

Color research

Color gives emotional tone and interest to our visual world. Color can be indulgent, luscious. Many companies that deal with color do or subscribe to color forecasting and use color stories to shape a concept around a palette. Color services make a business out of selling subscriptions to color forecasting.

Lenzing manufactures fibers, and deals with color. The have free trend forecasts. Their Fall 2013/Winter 2014 forecasts are here.

Lenzing Majestic color forecast for Hands On – Fall 2113/winter 2014

To quote from their Hands On theme for the season:

To make with your hands; craft, handmade, artisan and all derivates … along with creativity going from designer-artisan to digital-craft; the user sensing the affection the maker put in making an object. Does mass customizing develop different identities by proposing 613 types of socks, wanting to match everybody … when is more too much?

To create smart engineered designs; incredibly inventive thinking out- of-the-box is unfolded to find ways out of the huge challenges of the present … and of the future.

To be responsible as producer and supplier is an unavoidable claim from the user.The consumer demands that pleasure links to responsibility, that grandeur and beauty is not the opposite to liability. Everybody takes on ones shoulders to make the sensible choice innumerable times in everyday-life … the consumer-driven community is pace setting.

This is how we conceive all this to be, on the fashion scene, through our themes: ELITIST, MAJESTIC, SYNTHETIC, EDIBLE and STORM.

Go to their web site to see more about how they interpret Elitist, Majestic, Synthetic, Edible, and Storm. I love the rhetoric that goes with the forecast. Some are waaaay over the top and not linked to the visuals, but most are a fun way of making choices and organizing them into a coherent group.

I subscribe to a few big, colorful magazines, like W from Women’s Wear Daily,

Color studies from magazine clips

because they are cheap eye candy and give me a lot of material for what a certain zeitgetist has going on, and great resources for color development. It’s hard to make time to do this in a busy day, but it’s worth “playing” now and then to research. Look at colors that catch your eye, or think of your own color story word and go from there. In magazines, color is surrounded by other color and image and often reads differently in context than as a swatch. It’s an interesting exercise to remove color from image and adjacent color, and see how you perceive the hue. Move the colors around into groups, and think about what’s next to what, and relative amounts – it’s all important in how a color palette works. When you’re happy, glue them down on paper. THEN, cut a small window out of a blank white paper, and use this as a “finder” to vignette your compositions and further refine the proportions that look good to you.