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8 8 • r e s t a u r a n t d e v e l o p m e n t + d e s i g n • M A R C H / A P R I L 2 0 1 7 Talk Shop A Fresh Take on Color BY DANA TANYERI, Senior Contributing Editor LEATRICE EISEMAN Principal, Eiseman Center for Color Information Executive Director, Pantone Color Institute www.colorexpert.com P icking a color for your restau- rant or branding materials? The one thing that should not drive your decision is your own opinion, be it your love for lavender or your partner's longtime loathing for orange — so says color expert Leatrice Eiseman, author of nine books on color and consultant to a diverse array of designers and corporations on apply- ing science and psychology to color selection. As executive director of the world-renowned Pantone Color Institute, Eiseman also helps lead the team that selects the Pantone Color of the Year, which for 2017 is Greenery 15-0343, a "refreshing and revitalizing shade that is symbolic of new beginnings." If personal likes and dislikes shouldn't drive color choices, what should? LE: It starts with careful analysis of what you want your brand to be. What is your theme, your specialty, and who is your target audience? Those are the biggest things. But then there are the practical elements to consider, such as how much light will be coming into the space, how the space and design will look differ- ent going from day to night, what the mood created by the lighting will be, etc. People always want hard and fast an- swers or formulas for picking colors, but there really are none. The process is very brand- and concept-specific. You have to think of it in the context of many ele- ments combined and of each particular circumstance. I also recommend doing some customer research. Are there common color mistakes you see being made in restaurants? LE: That's hard to say because it is so brand-dependent. In general, it seems that more restaurants today really do understand that color is so important for creating mood and impacting appetite and comfort. The bigger mistakes I see are made in other areas, such as sound. But, of course, there are those who go with certain colors just because the owner or his or her spouse likes them. As color trends change, how can restau- rants keep their designs relevant? LE: Most restaurants can't afford to make wholesale color changes very often — and shouldn't, in order to maintain brand consistency. But even if your brand colors are still working for you, you can look at color trends and think in terms of what we call tweaking colors here and there. Let's say you have a hunter green or bottle green in a tradi- tional restaurant that's beginning to feel dated. It's relatively easy to freshen the look without making a drastic change by using a newer shade of green that's get- ting attention as a trend color. Even just bringing in a more current shade of a color as an accent — on china, napkins, table covers, flowers — helps to refresh the atmosphere and improve relevancy. What goes into selecting the Pantone Color of the Year? LE: A lot of homework. We typically start out with a general zeitgeist or mood of what we hear being talked about, what we read, what we research, what it is that we feel people are searching for on an emotional level. So the symbology of the color is important. We also look at what's happening with color that's get- ting noticed in the worlds of art, fashion and cosmetics, and film. For more with Leatrice, please see rddmag.com/march2017. Pantone Color of the Year, Greenery 15-0343