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The world is abuzz with Pantone’s Color of the Year. However, not only Pantone makes such a pronouncement. Benjamin Moore, the paint company, is deeply involved in color research and keeps current with color trends. Moore’s color team fans out across the world, attending art fairs and major industry shows, and observing interior design, architecture, fashion, textiles, and home furnishings, and trends they see inform their paint color offerings. This year, fine art leads their inspiration, “highlighting the correlation between an artist’s use of color and light to create mood.
In 2017, the Color of the Year is Shadow 2117-30 – a deep dark violet gray. In the cover image, Shadow alters in the shadows as the light of day changes, moving from charcoal to violet. Ellen O’Neill, Creative Director: “It ebbs and flows with its surroundings, and light brings it to life. Rich, royal amethyst can fade into the soft lilac-grey of distant mountains or morph into lustrous coal. Indulge your mysterious side. Let Shadow set the mood.”
Shadow’s violet qualities are especially apparent against reds. Due to the laws of simultaneous contrast, reds highlight the blues in Shadow, optically moving it away from achromatic gray. In these two images, the contrast of the black moldings lightens the walls, and keeps them from looking like gray.
Shadow is one of a special group of 23 different hues of muted intensities, with values ranging from toned whites to saturated deeps. The choices are based on color relationships, and Ben Moore says they “celebrate how shadow and light travel throughout a space during the course of a day.”
What happens with these colors? In a room, shadows generally give a bluish tinge to areas like the corners. This optically produced addition of blue changes some colors unfavorably, but these 23 colors are chosen to look especially beautiful with it. Their composition already has blue in it, so their essential character is enhanced in the corners.
For example, Iceberg is a white with a blue cast, which intensifies when shadows are cast on the walls by angles and light conditions.
Salamander verges on the border of blue and green, resolving into blue in the shadows.
The Porcelain wall runs the gamut from blue to red!
Guacamole’s low saturation/low value lets higher values glow, like the pears.
Sandlot Gray accepts the blue shadows as part of the family.
Color theory involves simultaneous contrast, the type of light and its effect on adjacent colors, and other optically produced effects like reflections. This is all present whether we understand it or not; we will always feel it when we walk into a room. How fascinating to have a paint company utilize the science of color theory in their color choices.