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Exploring Trends and Colours

floral education trends Jun 20, 2022

Leatrice Eiseman - The International Colour Guru 

Read full interview in our latest EDGE Fanzine, inside the EMC Circle Community

Leatrice Eiseman is an American colour specialist, who assists companies in their colour choice in a range of areas, including packaging, logos, and interior design.

She is the executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, a division of Pantone, Inc., and the author of six books on colour, one of which won an award from the Independent Publisher's Association.

From the perspective of florists and floral designers, colour and trends have a huge influence on us, therefore a conversation with Leatrice Eisman regarding these subjects gives an interesting and valuable insight into how we should use and approach our design work. The full interview can be read in the latest edition of our EDGE Fanzine, which you can view freely on the EMC Circle Community

As opposed to any other design industry, we florists do not really make colours, we get them as they are created by Nature. A graphic designer or painter can choose and create a very specific tone of colour. In floristry, you are given the colour with which to work. How you would advise florists to use the concept of the Colour of the Year?

Well, you know, when we started Colour of the Year back in 1999, people were starting to ask Pantone about it. I am a consultant for Pantone and also Executive Director of Pantone itself. I started the Pantone Institute for them and our mission to begin with was to get people talking about colour, starting a conversation, and it was picked up by the media, making the conversation grow. It became a great talking point more and more people go on to the website to find out what the colour of the year is going to be. So, mission accomplished. We are getting people to talk and, when you get people to talk colour, we can review things, finding out what they like, what they don’t like and what colours mean to them. It is often a very personal thing. Aside from the obvious commercial applications of it for a company wanting to sell a million products at one time and what to use for the packaging, it is important for them when choosing the colour of the packaging and I know they must decide upon that, but the real incentive is to get conversation going. 

Whether it is for a business or for the consumer, it is the people who buy the products and therefore the colour has to be influential to them as well, and that is why we need a greater understanding of what colour is about and how we can start conversations. I was in a supermarket recently and a customer was talking to the checkout-girl and they were discussing the Colour of the Year. This was just a woman that I know, a nurse in a local doctor’s office talking to the girl on the checkout and they were discussing the Colour of the Year, not from an industry point of view but from the consumers. I went home and told my husband and he had been at the barber’s where it had also been discussed. My point is that we need to keep people talking about colour. We understand that there is a far deeper fascination for colour than we possibly ever realised. 

Even those people who say they don’t know very much about colour and have someone who picks all their colours for them. When you talk to them about colour, you often find it is much deeper than that and that can affect the trends. People look out for it every year and it becomes an ongoing trend in what we do in the modern world. 

Trends are saying this is the colour palette and this is what you need to use for whatever you are designing. Trends are bringing a newness and freshness, allowing you to exercise more creativity. Getting back to the 2021 Pantone colour of the year, the yellow and grey – this is a perfect example. We know that there are lots of yellow flowers. However, the grey is more of a challenge. Taking it as a challenge, you can ask yourself what else can I do as a floral designer? Where can I bring in a semblance of grey? What is the perfect grey – for example, I could mix grey with silver, which is the shiny sister of grey, or some other variation of grey, so that it doesn’t look the same old idea and look. (...)

What about the emotional aspect of colours? How do you take that into account? Colour is very personal for everybody, so blue means something happy for some people and something very sad for others. I come back to you saying that there are no real rules but how do you balance that when you consider trends colour wise? 

It is more universal than what you may imagine. I have done Colour Word Association studies for a number of years, and we have seen changes in how people respond to a time in history and what else is happening around them. We know that if things have happened to you in the past, in your childhood they affect you. Imagine that you are a child wanting a bike, and you know that you are getting one for Christmas and that it is going to be a shiny apple red one and you have to wait to ride it until you get it, and you love that colour, but when you get on it, you fall off it and break your ankle. You cannot go outside; you cannot play with your friends, and you know that it was because of that bike. You loved that bike, but it deserted you. It wasn’t your fault, it was the bike’s fault, so that is implanted in your mind that it hurt you and you don’t like that colour anymore, although you may not remember why. It is stored in your memory bank. 

However, if you really think about it for long enough, the answer will eventually come to you as to why you don’t like that colour. I use that in all my colour association work as it is very important that everyone understands that. If I take you through that and you remember, I have to ask - is it still relevant? When you are looking at colours and your reaction to them, don’t agonise over them. (,,,)

What would you say to the florists that do not want to know about trends? They do not like trends, and they do not follow the trends. When you look at their work, you realise that they are influenced by them but do not realise it. What would you say to them?

(...) I think it is still important to know what is happening out there, so to some extent you can utilise it. For example, If someone came to you in the floral industry and wanted a wedding but were not completely certain of the main theme, and did not realise that the flowers would need to connect with it. It might be that you think about your wedding party and the other elements that go into it, not just the flowers but what else is happening at the wedding. You say to them that it should be really unique; you can see that they have a really happy personality and a sunny disposition, and now we are turning it into a sales talk! (...)

You can take what is being disseminated out there in the world around them and then personalise it, or you could opt to do your own thing. Having some knowledge of trends, you can suggest different combinations of colours, and be able to suggest something personal. 

At EMC we strongly believe that learning is an on-going process that never stops and the more you dive into knowing and enter a growth mindset, the more you will enjoy the journey. We have created the Conscious Creative Community having all floral designers who wish to grow and constantly learn more in mind. 

The EMC Community is all about you and your experience. This community is for the conscious creative who never stops yearning to learn and better themselves. We have floral designers from all over the world in this community, and there is so much we can learn from each other. This platform will be a space for you to communicate with your fellow designers, learn from each other, get guidance where you need it, transform your work, share the nuance of our industry and be a space to transform and challenge yourself with everything our community has to offer. 

Your success is the communities success, we are here to root you on and be a space where everyone can thrive. Whether you’re participating in one of our conscious creative challenges or are taking one of our courses, this community is for the creative that wants to elevate and grow. Among other resources, this community is the place where you can view our latest edition of EDGE Fanzine. 

We want you to get the most out of this experience! Join us now.


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