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Pantone's 2014 Color of the Year- Radiant Orchid

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As it always does, the announcement of the Patone's latest color of the year has created a huge stir in the design world. The fact is, we Interior designers are always going to have something to say about this. Nothing fuels our debates like anyone's proposed “color of the year.”

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While Interior Designers always appreciate cutting edge new innovations in design and color combinations, we deal with colors so often and so specifically in nearly every material option known to man, we've earned the right to our opinions.

There is really no other design profession that bridges the gap between the other design professions as interior design. Our target market and our designing focus is all influenced by fashion, art and technology in a way that no other is. We are the melting pot of all things design and while not all of us know how to own it, there are many of us who do.

One of our favorite fellow designers to get into the “color of the year's” discussion is the bold beauty, Meredith Heron from Canada.

While many designers lean very close to the side of being politically correct -- not to ruffle more feathers than this profession already ruffles...Meredith has no problem calling it like it is on everything in and around the job. We are honestly in pure admiration of her, and her ability to do so. Take a moment and check out what she has to say about this new color announcement.

Not only has she been precise in her explanation, she leaves us with probably the most perfect color combination to actually make this Radiant Orchid color work in your home and not just in your little girls room or mother-in-law apartment.

It is unfortunate that she must state the obvious so often, yet we appreciate how candid she is as she says “Pantone though, is not beholden to the interior design industry. It includes graphics, packaging and the like and mostly should NEVER EVER EVER be considered as a wall colour choice.”

Did you hear that? Do not paint your walls the color of the year! Unless you live in a commercial space or want to live in a cartoon....just don’t. You can be inspired by it and modify your tones and tints...last years Emerald was much more doable as a wall color but even then for most environments it is far too saturated. There are so many factors to be considered when it comes to color. Which brings us to our own take on this new proposed trendy color.

Here you can see what Leatrice Eiseman, Pantone Color Institute, Exec Director has to say about this year's color choice. Color symbolism is a huge driver in their yearly color choices. We personally love using symbolism in our design practice so we embrace the concept.

What is somewhat interesting to note is that according to some popular astrologists we are entering into a more spiritual time with a heightened level of universal consciousness.

In Hindu traditions, each area of the body has a spiritual center or as they call it a chakra. The body is made up of seven chakras each represented by a color with the top of the head (the crown) being the seventh chakra represented by the color violet or purple. This energy center of the body represents cosmic consciousness, understanding and enlightenment.

When it comes to Feng Shui purple is considered a very high vibrational color and is to be used with caution and in subtle tones such as amethyst. It is a regal color that represents wealth, magic and mystery. It is recommended mainly for the prosperity area of the bauga.

It is believed to be a spiritual color and is often used to increase the imagination, to boost creativity and we suspect this was all considered in the symbolism of this color choice.

The purple, amethyst family has been gaining a great deal of momentum especially over this past year. For the first time since the 80’s you can even find mauve and lavender, bedding, rugs and towels for your home if you are so inclined.

This color family is a group of very complex family members and personalities -- from bold to subtle. Some of these tones are easy to get along in they play well with other colors. While some have a more challenging temperament and in their push to rule the roost they don't get along so well with the majority.

Our theory is this is because of what we call the red rule. Red, by nature, is bold and daring in both its pros and cons. It is a love hate color that creates a lot of emotion in people at both ends of the spectrum.

It seems whenever red is added to any other color the more intense the impression. There only needs to be a little present in the genetic makeup (an undertone) of a color to influence us.

The 2014 Pantone Color Radiant Orchid is a perfect example of just that. It radiates because of its intense red undertone. It is much more passionate than a blue based purple...the bluer they are the calmer they are... and this Orchid leans into the fuchsia pink family a bit. While we don’t dislike the color on a personal level we are concerned that it is a dividing color in the market and that when it comes to consumers there will be fewer gravitating towards products in this palette range than others.

That is the risk you take when you are trying to be ahead of the game in the product market. But this is a decidedly feminine color -- and here in Utah we know a lot of client's husbands who would not enjoy having it around or may even forbid their wives from using it in their home.

Radiant Orchid being a decidedly feminine color -- we've observed when it comes to consumers the people who lean towards the violet family are typically single woman and young girls. So the concerned is this color will be a somewhat limiting move especially here in the Western states.

We had the same concern with Tangerine Tango, Pantone's 2012 color of the year. Red still has that either you love it or you hate it influence even when it is hiding in another sometimes it invokes an even stronger emotion. We saw a much bigger product consumption in the Emerald Green toned products in 2013 and we think the green may still be catching on.

That being said, just like the divinely talented Meredith Heron we are up to the challenge to try to find appropriate ways to integrate this new “IT” color.

We love all colors and understand that what makes them work or not work is based on their relationship with the other colors they are paired with. We will not shy away from this one necessary but we will proceed with caution recognizing that colors like this are much better in small doses.

Furthermore if you are so inclined as to use this color we recommend you get some professional help...meaning please hire a designer who knows how to work with color.

We have also started a Pinterest Board for your viewing pleasure where you can see what this color is all about and if it is one you want to try on for size.



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