Gordon Kaye: Thank The Lord For Experts

gordonkayeBy Gordon Kaye, Editor/Publisher, GDUSA. This ‘Letter From The Publisher’ first appeared in the 2016 May/June edition of Graphic Design USA magazine, which features, among other things, the 2016 LogoLounge Logo Trends Report and our Annual Color Forecast.

I am not much of a prognosticator; I foresaw Marco Rubio squaring off against Martin O’Malley in this presidential cycle. Enough said. So it is comforting to know that, when it comes to logo directions, I can turn to a trendspotter and futurist whose judgement I can always trust. That would be Bill Gardner, principal of Gardner Design and creator of LogoLounge.com, a unique website where designers can see, study, search, comment and generally immerse themselves in logos. And what does Mr. Gardner foresee happening in 2016 and beyond? His core observation is that “KISS is making a comeback.”

Not the band, he notes, but the concept of “Keep It Simple Stupid.” As a practical matter, that means logo shapes are increasingly geometric and stripped down, circles are ubiquitous, type is austere and increasingly san serif, and emojis are on the rise as communications symbols. Complementing this big picture thinking is some fascinating small stuff. For example, fish and cats are gaining momentum in the logo animal kingdom while ants continue to be unpopular. More women use emojis than men but not by much. And searches for the terms “fitness” and “green” have notably increased. Enjoy Bill Gardner’s article and prepare to be amazed. And here is an unsolicited warning: I am predicting a Hillary Clinton win in November so those of you inclined to bet might want to put money on the other guy.

While we are talking about the value of experts, it should also be noted that my shaky political instincts are exceeded only by an uncertain sense of color. Thus, I have taken to wearing only black: pants and shirts always match and, as an ancillary benefit, coffee stains are muted. So when it comes to preparing our annual Color Forecast, it is a relief to have access to world class experts – Pantone – who can provide sound advice and guidance on the matter. In this edition of GDUSA, Pantone Color Institute head Leatrice Eiseman explores color directions shaping fashion, interiors, products, graphics and packaging going forward. She also explains a bit about why the company chose a blending of two shades – Rose Quartz and Serenity, a warm rose and a tranquil blue – as the 2016 Color of the Year. Without being much of a spoiler, let’s just say that the Pantone folks see this blend of gentle colors as creating a sense of wellness, peace and order in a threatening world, and also as coinciding with societal movements toward gender equality and fluidity, the consumer’s increased comfort with color as a form of expression, a generation that has less concern about being typecast or judged, and an open exchange of digital information that opens eyes to different approaches to color usage.

And what my does wearing black day-after-day signify? Ms. Eiseman has not gotten back to me on that yet, but I have a feeling it cannot be good.