ARTS THREAD speaks to Ann-Kristin Trost, Head of Color & Trend Advisory at Color Code System Coloro, sister company to trend authority WGSN. Learn how to showcase your color skills in your portfolio and what opportunities are open for employment within color.
ARTS THREAD: Please can you tell us a little about your background before Coloro?
Ann-Kristin Trost: I am a color and trend enthusiast, with ten years in fashion industry. After my studies in Fashion Design and Management, I undertook several positions in Berlin, New York and Hamburg, where I honed my skills as a color and concept manager for several global fashion companies (from Anna Sui to TrendONE, Tchibo and Landor).
In my new role as Head of Color & Trend Advisory for Coloro, I can highlight the reasons why the new product Coloro will make everyone’s working day even easier (and brighter) when it comes to translating fashion and retail concepts into color specifications. I always loved how you can get inspirations for new color themes by travelling, checking on street styles, visiting museums and exhibitions, meeting lovely artists etc. Ten years later I am more than thrilled to still be working with colors and trends and bolster companies up to use new colors and new concepts.
ARTS THREAD: Please tell us why color is so important in design? why do companies spend so much time on color?
Ann-Kristin Trost: Color is the biggest visual differentiator in design. 70% of all purchase decisions are influenced by color. Therefore, more than ever, color is the most important design element and should be chosen and decided upon very strategically and measurably. While many companies have people picking colors for their collections intuitively, the best way to do it is using tools to analyze the market, the target group and the brand and decide purposely on the right trend and color for your customer. Especially as color is the biggest revenue driver, it needs to be decided on with caution. Therefore, brands are spending lots of time deciding on the right tones for their color palette.
ARTS THREAD: When starting a collection – why does it always start with colour?
Ann-Kristin Trost: As color is the biggest money maker for a product, a proper color analysis on the market, sales numbers and trends before starting a new collection is unalterable. When knowing what is the best color story and concept and you have checked all aspects I mentioned before, you are able to move on with the best colors according to the trend and your customer.
ARTS THREAD: How are the colours decided up by trend companies such as WGSN? How do they pinpoint the most important colours of the years ahead?
Color trends can be identified up to two years in advance. Sports companies, especially, need the timeframe to work on the right colors as they are already further than fashion companies with production. Automotive looks at up to five years in the future to decide on the right colors.
Other than the imagination, where colors will be predicted with a crystal ball, it has a lot to do with proper analysis and observation. The color team from WGSN always start the new season with a color week where they sit together and discuss the art scene, politics, consumer behavior, social developments, trends in technology and digital and all other things they recognise will make the world different in two years. Those ideas will be clustered and merged into moodboards and counterchecked with the color evolution they also provide for several tones to then define new color worlds. The three trend themes which will be born afterwards and reference different trend and consumer dynamics. The last step is defining the accurate tones by using the Coloro colors to create the palette.
ARTS THREAD: As a student or emerging creative – how should I best show my color skills?
Ann-Kristin Trost: The best way to show color skills is by working with precise, accurate and realiable color systems like Coloro to avoid mistakes and weak spots in the palette. As color combinations are the most interesting part where creatives can stand out and show their potential, the right balance is key to show your skills. Unseen, inspiring and fresh color hues and combinations are the best way to get people’s attention.
ARTS THREAD: What opportunities are open for employment within color?
Ann-Kristin Trost: Many companies are working with internal color experts. Color Managers are there to define the color language for a company to be aligned with the corporate identity of the brand, the trends and the consumer needs. It is super important to have color people to oversee the collections especially when you have different categories under one roof.
Color engineers are also super important in quality and buying to communicate the color to the suppliers and achieve the 100% color on the product. Color and trend forecasting is a very interesting field to work in to define the future for vonsumer products.
ARTS THREAD: What job roles in colour do you see opening up in the next few years?
Ann-Kristin Trost: The need for the right colors to win against competitors, as this is the biggest differentiator, is key for the industry. Therefore, more color professionals and experts will be needed. I also see a big rise in concept creation and trend translation. Finding the right trend to focus on and translating the colors in the right balance for the customer is such a specific field, that the industry needs real experts for it.
Try to improve your talent in analysis and observation and use proper tools to make every decision valid. Managers in the future need more and more proof to not back the wrong horse. For this they need trust and numbers. Therefore, Coloro defined a system to help creatives to improve their own work and decision making.
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