Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Hello There, Emerald!

color mix chart for emerald

Early last month, Pantone announced their pick for the 2013 Color of the Year: Pantone 17-5641 Emerald. They describe the color as "lively, radiant, lush... a color of elegance that enhances our sense of well being, balance, and harmony."

As many of you know, Pantone is the world's leading authority on color trends. Where they lead, fashion design and interior design will follow. Shortly following behind fashion and interior design is surface design, and then last, but not least, is graphic design. We can ALL expect to start seeing a lot more of this color in the coming months.

I've been looking at the best ways to integrate this color into designs. I've found that the color, at least to me, is much more lovable when surrounded by some other color "friends" that play nice with it. But, let's start by just looking at the basics of this bold and vibrant shade of green.

Green, in general,  falls on the cool side of the color wheel. There are many shades of green, some have more yellow, some have more blue. Emerald leans slightly towards the blue end of the green spectrum, but not as much as teal or turquoise. Emerald even has a bit of red, or magenta-depending on what color space you are working on. There are darker shades and lighter shades, but they will all have about the ratio of yellow to blue. I've chosen a mid-range shade of emerald to use on the color mix chart seen above, and surrounded it by the colors that lie to the left and right of it as a visual of where emerald falls on the color spectrum.

(Note for web designers---I've listed 2 hex mixes. The first is emerald2, and the second is sea green. If you are looking at a list of hex mixes by name, I wouldn't recommend using the one actually named "emerald". It is very far off from Pantone's version of the color emerald.)

I've found through research and experimentation that keeping to these analogous colors of emerald (colors that lie next to each other on the spectrum) works really well with this particular color, and this is how I expect to see emerald used the most this year. Another way to use emerald in a color scheme would be to use it along with its complimentary color, orange. But, I don't see the trend heading that way. I think we might see a teeny bit of orange used here and there as an accent color in an emerald palette, but only in tiny little bits.

Here are a few emerald color palettes that I've created for you. If you want to try using emerald in some of your designs, give these combinations a try! I've kept the palettes mainly on the cool side and mainly analogous.

emerald color palettes

I'm looking forward to following this trend this year, and I'll be keeping my eyes open to see what kinds of emerald designs are popping up in the various design industries!

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