Eiseman: Find Color Inspiration In Nature

Colors that appear most frequently in nature are unique enough to catch the consumer’s eye but still feel somewhat familiar and widely appealing, said Lee Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, in an International Housewares Association webinar titled Discovering Nature’s Crossover Colors.

In what was originally scheduled as her second keynote at The Inspired Home Show, cancelled for this year due to the COVID-19 outbreak in the United States, Eiseman identified 18 such Pantone colors and shared suggestions for how to use them in unique combination with other crossover and trending hues, which, overall, included: Sky Blue, Faded Denim, Navy Blue, Teal, Pineneedle, Seagrass, Pale Khaki, Bleached Sand, Light Taupe, Sunlight, True Red, Beaujolais, Eggplant, Dark Earth, Cappuccino, Neutral Gray, Charcoal Gray, Jet Black, Bright White, Pearled Ivory, Rose Cloud and Blush.

Greenery, for example, has a proven physiological effect, she maintained, as going outside among plants and trees helps people breathe deeper. And sky blue, anywhere in the world, prompts a positive emotional reaction.

“Nature’s crossover colors are those colors that are obvious or ubiquitous in nature, the ones that most humans have a natural positive reaction to,” according to Eiseman. “They’re what I call ‘chestnuts’…the colors that are somewhat universal in their appeal and are not so trendy that we’re going to want to change them in a few years.”

Because human eyes have become accustomed to them, colors that appear often in nature are versatile in a wide range of color combinations, even those that might not intuitively seem to blend, Eiseman stated, referencing a happy combination of teal, aubergine or eggplant, sunshine yellow and peach.

“It might seem strange when you say it out loud, but it makes sense when you see the image,” Eiseman indicated.

She maintained that crossover colors emergent in the natural world can extend out and embrace tones that have been trending lately, for example, the blush range of colors. Pale khaki, which many people tend to think of as more utilitarian, can stand as a “nuanced neutral,” as she characterized it, and can work in applications across various product segments from camping gear to living room seating. In fact, Eisemen pointed out that khaki can have a place in the bedroom, bathroom and kitchen, as well.

Eiseman noted that, while it may shift many consumer shopping habits, the Covid-19 pandemic is unlikely to cause overarching changes in color preferences. Still, she added white may be an exception, with many people being more conscious of sterilization and cleanliness, and viewing the tone as refreshing.