IFDA seminar: COLOR PULSE 2011

As presented by Doty Horn, director of color and design, from Benjamin Moore

The four major themes are:


Balance is all about a return to the earth and the farm. Milk (we see this later when whites become milky whites), cows, hay, farm tools, hopsack and burlap textural fabrics, the use of yarn and rope, patchwork and gingham. Cows, you ask? Yes, haven’t you seen the black and white cow “hides” in fabrics covering furniture? Of course.

Rodeo Cowskins

Tools? Yes, take a look at some of the farm tool implements used as hooks in the home.

Tool Paris forks


Burlap: this has been seen on many a fashion runway. Yarn and rope: remember those potholders you knit as a child? Well, they have been taken to the next level as HUGE, large scale knits in rugs. I couldn’t find any pictures of these…they are just TOO new…but they were wonderful: enormous scale knit stitches as area rugs; very cool indeed!

So, what are the colors associated with these themes?

Vegetable brights! Think deep eggplant/aubergine and browns from the earth. Try a brown and vibrant citrine for great effect.. That milk white from above: pure white softened. Butter yellow: mixed with a tomato red or eco green.

Farm Colors

please note: these color palettes are my own, based on what I heard, and not on the actual color swatches, as yet not available, from Benjamin Moore.


Order is, yes, ordered. Stacking boxes, whether in building cubes or stacking shelves. On the runway it is a Mondrian type of outlining. Think stripes: in chairs, fashion, carpet, walls, fabric. Circles used in all kinds of lighting. Color blocking which also becomes a sort of pixel show: there are pixels, clean or blurred on sofas and walls and carpet.



The black and white story here is strong, especially combined with red. Look at some of the new Marimekko prints. We also see primaries which really lend themselves to an ordered and clean effect.


Order Colors


Let’s escape to “Alice in Wonderland”! This movie, yet to be released, is already having quite an influence on the runway and in the home. Lots of translucence; pales, frosted and veiled surfaces, a sheer watercolor effect, ombres. The feminine undertone is present in the pearlized deep rose colors.

For a new color combination try a cosmetic carbon with feminine pink, or black with a feminine lavender, or peach or pink translucence. The effect is ethereal and other worldly, like Alice…

Escape colors


Tribe is where the ME meets WE. The human body becomes an art form to be used in furniture shapes and groupings. We see modular shelter, the communal table for restaurants, the city map used as a design element on a tote bag, all kinds of lettering used on the walls, in paper products, on handbags.



The colors here are urban/ethnic: cinnamon browns mixed with deep reds; khaki becomes camel; an important trending of fuschia; a teal accent used with browns and naturals; those vegetable dyes again.

Tribe colors

If you want to learn more Benjamin Moore is offering FREE webinars for “Color Pulse 20011”: the next one is February 24th.