Sunday, April 01, 2007

Event Solutions Magazine - Color Trends

From ‘Strawberry Ice’ to Tarragon, New Season Means New Colorsby Lindsey Aspinall Published in February 2007

Every season Pantone Inc. surveys designers at New York’s Fashion Week to compose the Pantone Fashion Color Report, which lists the upcoming season’s hottest color trends. For spring 2007, the New York runway was awash with neutrals, brought to life with vibrant splashes of coral, yellow and purple. Utilizing the latest colors in your next event will not only put you on the cutting edge of spring ’07 trends, but will also provide a bright and appealing background.

The Colors of the Season

This season, bright spring hues like strawberry ice (a variation of pink) and sky blue are paired with standard neutrals like opal gray and café crème. Another spring 2007 color is tarragon (a light green), which provides the “stem” to blossoming shades like golden apricot or the violet-infused hollyhock. These neutrals supply the background, letting the bright new spring hues shine. When paired together, the new colors evoke a sense of “spring in bloom.”
“Most often colors are not completely reinvented each season,” says Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute. “Instead they evolve from one season to the next. The apple cinnamon of fall, for example, becomes the café crème of the spring.”
Colors may evolve gradually with the season, but the color patterns and pairings change more dramatically, says Eiseman. “While navy, black and white are still a presence for spring ’07, designers are choosing a greater variety of neutrals as the canvas for this season’s captivating hues,” she says.
Implementing Runway Trends

Using just the right pairings of colors can add a special touch to your event. “Color is extremely important when designing an event,” says Christina Gargano Lupo, owner of Events by CGL Design in Philadelphia. “Through color you can really convey the theme of an event. This can be done in many ways — from invitations, to lighting, to table décor.”
Stephanie Kornblum, president and founder of Gampel Affairs in New York, says she has already used the latest color trend of pairing brights against a neutral background.

“It’s important to play with many colors against a neutral setting,” she says. “It creates a warm feeling. For instance, having bright flowers on a white table is a striking look that captures people and can help make them feel a part of the event.”

She offers the following example of how colors can play a key role at events: “I planned an event in a loft in midtown. Being that the venue was stark white, I had to add lots of bright colors to change the vibe of the room. Since the theme was ‘winter wonderland,’ I wanted the room to be warm even though the idea of the event was the opposite. I added lots of bright blues, golds, silvers, and pastels through draperies, bright lights, flowers and props to create the winter feeling, while enhancing the guests’ time at the event.”

Feeling Blue?

In addition, color can set the scene by actually playing on the emotions of attendees.
“Color can change moods, add excitement, be tranquil, give ambience to a dinner, or intensify a dance,” says Howard Eckhart, a certified special events professional and chairman of The Party & Event Designers Inc. in Dallas. His designers are already using some of the latest color trends reported by Pantone, he adds.

Color has long been associated with emotion — blue for sadness, red for passion, etc. — but color can actually have a discernible effect on mood. In fact, there is an entire school of thought behind “color psychology” — the study of the effect of color on human behavior and feeling.
According to Color Matters (, color can even have a physiological effect on our bodies. For instance, blue is an appetite suppressant, according to Color Matters. Some weight-loss plans have even suggested eating food off a blue plate. So at an event, where guests are meant to enjoy and indulge in their meals, you might want to think twice about using the color blue!

Lupo has witnessed color affecting mood at many of her events. “Colors can illicit different emotions in your guests,” she says. “For example, a soft pink may communicate a more romantic feel, while a deep purple can radiate a more regal sense.”
“At an all-white event, such as a wedding, I’ve noticed guests behave more conservatively,” says Kornblum. “When events are brightly colored, guests lend themselves to being more outgoing.”

Be sure to select the right color for the mood you’re looking to achieve. “Color often creates energy in a room,” says Beth Lipin, owner of BA Lipin Event Design in New York. “Deep jewel tones elicit comments such as ‘sophistication,’ ‘sultry’ and ‘warmth.’ Sleek browns and pinks, on the other hand, can be more whimsical and playful.”

Colorful Techniques

And don’t assume you have to stick with the same colors the whole night. Eckhart says he has used a variety of changing colors for a single event. “One example was a seated dinner for a wedding where the bridesmaids wore cherry red dresses,” he says. “The dinner was designed in ecru, white and silver with no color pink and chocolate color for lighting during dinner. Then, the room changed to red, purple and fuchsia following the cutting of the cakes.” These changes were achieved with LED Par 38 lamps and Mac 250 instruments controlled by the lighting technician.
Of course, some events are purposely planned around all one color. Lipin says she once did an entire event in red for a vibrant client who loved the color. “We draped the walls and uplit them with red for a wow factor,” she says. “The meal was designed around the color red and special red cocktails were created to complement the evening.”

In addition, color can greatly add to a themed event, says Christy Bareijsza, a certified meeting professional and certified meeting manager, of The Red Carpet Events in Pompton Lakes, N.J. She used color to help create a “starry night” event theme.

“With the pairing of unique floral centerpieces and glowing candles, both shaded in blue hues, the room looked magical,” she says. “Colored lighting also played a major effect on the room and mood, which we accomplished by using patterned gobos in different blue-family gels to create a feeling of movement, weight and excitement. Adding touches of various blue shades really transformed a blank canvas into a ‘starry night’-themed reality — all due to experimenting with color.”

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