Interview with Colour Expert Leatrice Eiseman
Becoming a world renowned Colour Expert is no easy feat. But Leatrice Eiseman has made her name as an ‘international colour guru’, as a prime consultant to Pantone. From helping a wide variety of companies make the best choices on colour for product development to logos and brand identity, she is a lady who knows the impact colour can have on everything in our lives. We talk exclusively to Leatrice about her career and she shares her top tips on how to introduce more colour into your home…
How did you get started in your career as a colour expert?
I have always had an affinity for colour—even as a child I knew it was something I wanted to pursue, career-wise. My educational path has been through a combination of design, psychology and business administration.
Can you talk us through what a typical working day is like for you?
There is no “typical” day as I never quite know when an enquiry is going to come for my colour consulting services and that could be from any industry utilizing colour. I also write books about colour (working on my tenth), do colour forecasting, deliver seminars world-wide and teach colour usage for career development so my schedule is very diversified.
What has been your career highlight to date?
I think my long association with Pantone is the highlight of my career.
How would you describe your interior style and what is your favourite room in your home and why?
I would say my style is eclectic as I have some family treasures I would not want to give up, yet I love contemporary pieces as well. My favourite room is the bedroom. The colour on the walls is periwinkle blue—it is both relaxing and happy at the same time. It also lends itself so well to interesting colour combinations and that is one of my favourite challenges—making it all work and in a unique way.
What is your favourite colour to wear and what is your favourite colour to use in your home, and why?
I enjoy wearing earth tones and reddish purples—especially together. There is something very complex and out of the ordinary about the combination. As I live in an area that lacks sun in the winter, (Bainbridge Island, WA—near Seattle) I like to create the illusion of sunshine by using warm tones—especially subtle golden yellows. It lifts the spirits and tricks you into believing the sun is shining!
What advice would you give to someone who was looking to incorporate more colour into their everyday life?
If you are naturally gifted with colour and enjoy the process, pay attention to your own good instincts and use colours that fulfil your comfort level. If you lack confidence, read as much as you can about colour on the interiors, select images from magazines that please you and experiment. It will get your creative juices going. If you lack the confidence, have a professional colourist or interior designer who is good with colour and listens to what you have to say about your feelings about colour—that is very important.
What is your favourite way to spend a Sunday?
I have to admit that I sometimes spend time in the office playing “catch-up” but I love what I do and it makes me feel I have a head start on the following week. In the fall, spring and summer, I am communing with the flowers and foliage in the garden.
How far in advance do the Colour Forecasting team start work on Pantone’s Colour of the Year – can you tell us about the process?
We start about four months into the year prior to the launch. We look for all of the clues and indicators—what is ascending? We all travel extensively, so our outlook is very broad and it gives us greater perspective. We look to fashion, the world of art and entertainment, upcoming world-wide sport events and the host cities, pop culture, favoured travel destinations, and most importantly what are consumers seeking and what colour can speak to that need.
What are your top three tips for introducing more colour into the home?
Choose colour that you really like—not someone else’s taste level, likes and dislikes, but your own feelings must come into play (as well as your family—should you need to take others into account.)
Use trends to refresh and update so that the interior doesn’t start to look redundant or boring.
Be willing to use some creativity and experiment with something that appeals to you.