If those queries to editors and pitches to agents seem to be in a stall right now, we could blame the holiday season, when our collective time, energy and attention focuses on that approaching holiday – you know – the one that starts with capital C. Or we could rationalize that we’ve all been in a slump waiting to be told the “Color of the Year” for 2015.
Did you know that each year US design and manufacturing industries wait for word from the color-science specialists at a company named Pantone, before they set in motion production of new products? Color science – who knew? Makes the Ten Commandments coming down the mountain chiseled on tablets seem like an afterthought.
The December announcement of the color that will rule US décor, fashion, and graphic design sectors for 2015 is Marsala. Close your eyes and envision a somewhat dark, red-brown wine pouring into a stemmed Riedel glass, swirling it, and then plunging your nose in for a whiff followed by a sip swished and swallowed. So that’s what you’ll be wearing, painting, make-up-ing in the coming year. And it will dominate labels on printed packaging, clothing, shoes, handbags, automobile components, and plastics. Various enthusiasts call this color organic, vintage, and even folkloric.
To give other color experts their due, Sherwin-Williams selected Coral Reef, Benjamin Moore prefers Guilford Green, while the more roguish Brits of Farrow & Ball like Dead Salmon (pink) or Mole’s Breath (gray – they would spell it grey), and Clunch (a chalk white plaster tone.)
All this naming started in the 1980’s when Pantone realized they had some 30,000 unique, although closely related, shades identified with uninspiring numerical codes. The next version morphed into boring descriptors such as Blue-Green or Deep Red Brown. Remember Olive Drab? Attaching an emotion-inducing description made it easier to mentally picture just which color ballpark a number was in and, voila – a new occupation – that of color specialist, was born. That Blue-Green became Beach Glass; Deep Red Brown changed to Rum Raisin. And who could resist the new name for Olive Drab: Cumin.
Now I understand why my interior designer told me to buy Cinnamon (rather than plain old red) towels to coordinate with my remodeled bathroom and Sage (rather than boring green) to match the fresh wallpaper on my laundry room walls. So I would recommend during this holiday writing lull, all you out-of-ideas writers start looking at your four walls and thinking up some new, emotional, descriptors you can pitch to all those fashion magazines readying for the coming new year. Happy thinking.