Color Palettes: The Process

When I was a menswear designer many moons ago, I think one of my favorite parts of the process was creating the color palette.  Three times a year I would spend about 2 weeks looking at trade magazines and trend books.  I would gaze and dream at color chips 6 to 8 hours a day.  Mixing and matching color combinations.  What was complementary. what was subtle, what would sell.  The bottom line of course, what would sell.   For a core palette, these are the colors that the solid shirts and bottoms would come in, were usually "safe".  Navy, olive, tan, khaki, black, maybe a deep red.  However I also designed yarndyes (plaids and stripes that are dyed not printed), this was the good stuff.  I was able to create a plaid with the colors below!  A grey and white plaid with single yarns of pinks and oranges!  It would get me excited! I loved it! I miss it!
Even now when starting a new season I find it always helpful and most importantly inspirational to create color palettes.  It's a good exercise.  It assists the transition whether it be winter to spring or summer to fall.

Sometimes I use my photos, sometimes magazine tear sheets sometimes it may be a print or a stack of fabrics or a yarn selection.  Whatever you see, take a photo and pull your colors from it.  There is a website called Stylyze that I used for some of the below palettes.  It's a very good way to wet your creative toes.   Whether you use pantone chips, paint chips or snippets of yarn or fabric put them on a piece of paper and hang it on the wall!

tear sheet from Better Homes and Gardens

palette created on Stylyze, spools of thread from my collection

palette created on Stylyze, a piece of grapefruit chess pie from Four and Twenty Blackbirds in Brooklyn

palette created on Stylyze, a picture of a house in Sconset Nantucket Mass.

palette created on Stylyze, a photo of a page from Vogue magazine

palette created on Stylyze, a photo from a trip to Brookline, MA in February 2014

a stack of bolts of fabric I put together at work one day. Very gelato-esque don't ya think?

color chips created in Adobe Illustrator

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