Interview with Leatrice Eiseman

Leatrice Eiseman
Leatrice Eiseman
Executive Director
Pantone Color Institute
Pantone Color Institute

This year, may be for the first time ever that we have two colours. Do you see more than two colours as the colours of a year?

There might be that possibility, but our determination is made when we view the overall "picture" of colour direction. We do not plan ahead to deliberately create something different, but rather to reflect the mood of the times. If we felt that more than two was a necessity, then we would incorporate that into our thinking processes.

Has mankind created a colour that does not exist in nature? Is it conceivable?

All colours exist in nature in some form. The example is in the changing colourations of rock formations, of minerals or peacock feathers and mallard ducks, moths and butterflies where there are infinite varieties and nuances of colour. Technology could eventually render some aberration that is not currently seen in nature, but we are not there yet.

India as a country is a riot of colours from each state to state. How do you hope to see this diversity meld into a single hue?

In many areas of the world where there are member-states, a specific symbolic colour is used for each state that has special significance to that state. For example, here in the United States, every state has a state colour, or a flower of a certain colour that has special meaning to them, but the term United States implies that there is one set of colours (red, white and blue) that represents a special meaning for the entire country. I believe it is up to the inhabitants of a particular area, such as India, to come to that decision as they best understand the culture and needs of the populace.

When you see colour, what is the thought thatstrikes you?

I think first of the psychological impact of the colour-what emotion does it arouse or satisfy. Of course, aesthetic value is very important to me, but I do not enter into colour decisions with any dogma attached to it. Everything about colour is context-how, when and where it is used and with what other colours it is to be used with. That is the biggest challenge and the part I personally enjoy the most.

How can apparel/textile brands best communicate with colour?

There is no one "magic bullet" about colour usage. Again, it is about context. What is appropriate for one company, product or environment might not be appropriate to the needs or the messaging of another. This is why it is suggested to have professional help in colour consulting services so that the proper choice is evaluated and decided upon.

Personally, what is your favourite colour and what is the appeal in this colour?

At this point in time, it is the purple family that holds personal interest as I appreciate the complexity of the colour and all of the possibilities for combinations. However, I am now drawn to the combination of Pantone's "Rose Quartz" when combined with "Serenity" (blue) for obvious reasons.

How different or similar are people who have red, black and white as their favourite colours?

This is too specific a question to answer. I would need to know a lot more about the individuals in order to make that evaluation.

How does colour affect the psychology of a brand? What will be your five key tips for people stepping into the business of branding on how best to use colour?

My responses are to both the questions. As cited in my book 'Colour Messages and Meanings-a Pantone Colour Resource': "When a colour and design "signature" is established, it becomes a brand identifier that reinforces the image in the marketplace across many levels of communication." The following steps should be taken: (i) Know your target audience; (ii) Explore market research regarding the ultimate consumers' perception of colour preferences and product; (iii) Be mindful of your biggest competitors and do not repeat similar colours. You will appear to be a follower rather than leader; (iv) Always keep the psychology of colour a major priority when choosing appropriate brand colours; and (v) Be certain that all colour information is current, credible and reliable.
Published on: 27/04/2016

DISCLAIMER: All views and opinions expressed in this column are solely of the interviewee, and they do not reflect in any way the opinion of

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