Hi friends. There's an amazing resource out there for artisans, Etsy sellers, and crafters, and you might not even know about it. It's called Pantone. If you don't know, Pantone is the company that forecasts global color trends and advises companies on how to integrate those trends into their designs.
Think of Pantone as your crafting bestie who expertly helps you pick and choose the right color combinations for your projects. One of the beautiful things about Pantone is that they forecast the color trends far enough ahead of time, so that there is plenty of time to come up with a new collection or idea for the upcoming year.
WHY IS PANTONE IMPORTANT TO ARTISANS AND CRAFTERS?
When Pantone releases its color trend predictions, millions of designers and producers pay attention. Then, those designers and producers (and many others) search the internet and stores to find the perfect items for their projects. And let me tell you readers, some of those projects are huge. If you pay attention to Pantone's announcements, you can land a contract or an order that can have you working for months and even longer. That means money, friends.
HOW CAN I USE THIS INFORMATION FOR MY ARTISAN BUSINESS OR ETSY SHOP?
Say you are an artist, for example. Well, Pantone releases the Color Of The Year for the following year every December. (We will announce it on our Insta don't worry! Be sure to follow us!). That will give you plenty of time to start planning. Start by gathering ideas for a collection featuring the forecasted colors and trends. Follow designers on Instagram, and see if you would be a good fit. Study the projects that they are working on, then contact your favorites and introduce yourself. Let them know you would love to work with them and that you have a new collection based on the current color-matching trends and the Color Of The Year. And give them a link to your Etsy shop or website. Don't be shy! It could be a match made in heaven!
Perhaps you make pottery or home decor items. Interior designers are looking for accessories to match Pantone's trending ideas, and so are boutique shops and even TV show producers! Oh my goodness you guys, the number of people that use Pantone is just endless. Do you sew? Interior designers, photographers, and model agencies are searching for trending color designs. Do you create custom wedding accessories? The top wedding planners pay attention to color trends, and so should you! Do you make bath bombs or handmade soap? Roll out a brand new limited edition collection with the color of the year theme, and start contacting your favorite magazines and grab a feature!
I'm the Creative Director here at DIY Craft Club and I pay attention to what's happening out there. Especially when I'm designing our Printable Papers. I check the Pantone website often and use their color tools almost every single day. We work with people in the design industry, packaging industry, textile, digital and more. Some of our paper designs can be found in Target, Bed Bath & Beyond and used for countless projects.
Rarely do I ever start a project without my color tools nearby for reference. My favorite must-have tool is the Pantone Reference Library. Any design studio should have this in their tool bag to take to meetings and for making important color decisions. This library has everything you need to design with and match over 10,000 colors.
I don't expect small businesses and crafters to jump right into the Reference Library because it is very expensive. (I just wanted to show you what's out there), so I also looked up some more cost-effective choices for you that will help you make better decisions when it comes to color-matching and marketing.
Here's what I would use to get started.
This is a set of 100 postcards with many different color values. I like this set because it's very affordable and you can run around and start color matching right away. You can also use them for card-making and different marketing ideas. I like that you can play around with different color combinations right from your own studio or craft room and not have to run out and stand in the paint chip aisle for hours. These save a lot of time! Oh, and I almost forgot, these are perfect for creating mood boards.
Keep in mind that this is more like a practice set and the colors are not the certified colors like in the professional kits. These are just postcards so there could be minor printing errors but for a starter set, they are totally fine. Play around with this set for a while and see if color matching is right for you before committing to one of the professional system kits.
If you have a creative person in your life, nothing says I support you more than a set of these! Check Price On Amazon
Now, Pantone does have a ton of different formula guides in an array of price points. It just depends on what you need for your own business. The formula guides come with different amounts of colors as well as ink formulations. So if you like to create collections in bold, solid colors, you might want to purchase a formula set that specifically has those, or perhaps you like to work with pastels or pinks. There are many sets to choose from. See all sets here on Amazon.
But as I mentioned above, for a starting off point, I would highly recommend just grabbing the postcard set to see if working this way of color matching will work for your business before investing in a more professional set.
I know that this can be overwhelming so start with the basics. Begin by working out how you can use color trends for new collections. Just start writing things down, keeping in mind that Pantone releases the Color Of The Year every December.
This is what I do.
1. Visit Pantone often to keep yourself updated on the latest tools that can be used for your business. Pantone has many tools for creatives, but you don't need to start with the most expensive ones. They have a ton of information on their main website.
2. Brainstorm different ways how you can use Pantone's color trends for your products. Say you create hand-painted jewelry designs or home decor paintings, you can start planning a brand new collection based on your research. Keep watch for the Color Of The Year (can't stress this enough) so that you can have your new collection ready for Valentine's Day or Mother's Day etc. Write it all down and have a planner dedicated to your new ideas so that everything is in one place. I keep my planner with me at all times so that when I get an idea, I can write it down right away. I also keep magazine clippings and whatever else gives me inspiration in there. I just glue or tape everything in and then I use my color matching sets to help curate a collection.
This flower image was a photo that I took from our gardens. I ran it through some Photoshop filters and then color matched Sand and Meerkat.
3. Start working on your collections and bring them to life! I think that 25-30 new pieces would be a good start but even more would be better. Customers love purchasing from sellers and collections that have lots to choose from. When your collections are ready for their beauty shots, it's time to market them like crazy.
4. Curate a list of people in your target market and follow their Instagram. If you sew pillowcase designs, look for interior decorators. If you make handmade soap, you can make a special line of packaging to reflect a new edition and then pitch to trendy boutiques, stores, and magazines. Artists can start following interior designers. Stay on top of what's happening out there.
5. Put it out there. If you have an Etsy store, use the shop updates regularly to show your followers what you are working on. Post to your Instagram every day. Be sure to show lots of works in progress because people love that. Show your products alongside your color swatching ideas so that people can see your creative process. And don't forget to blog about your new collections. We have curated a helpful post on 1 month of blog post ideas that you can use. If you don't have a blog or website yet, you can get a free trial on Shopify (It's what we use here).
Now go out there and use this information and tools to help grow your business! This may be the missing link that you have wondered about this whole time. All of your amazing ideas are waiting to come to life as something wonderful. And I can't stress enough how important it is to share your behind the scenes and works in progress along with your new collection announcements with all of your customers and followers. Share to your shop updates and blogs on how you use the Pantone matching systems for your business. Everyone will talk about how smart and creative you are! Here are some hashtags to help you out. #pantone #colormatching #coloroftheyear #trending colors #pantonecoloroftheyear
We are all different but no matter what we create, we all have one thing in common and that's color. When you create with purpose, you start to look at everything you do for your business a bit differently. And that's what will make you stand out from the rest.
Here's a behind the scenes look at the Pantone color factory.
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