It has always been astonishing to me how intertwined the worlds of fashion and graphic design are. As a teen and young adult I was entering the world of modeling and was very interested in advertising and fashion. In the end, I wound up being drawn to advertising design much more than I was attracted to modeling. During my first year of college I made the connection that the fashion and beauty industries are inseparable from the commercial/graphic design industry; because of trends. There are trends in every design field, and they are all guided by each other. Most of these trends make a grand appearance on the runways during “Fashion Week”. But who guides these looks and how do they become “trends” anyway?
Let me introduce you to Pantone and their color matching system (PMS). I want to help you understand how design trends can start and how they connect these industries that seem so vastly different. The Pantone Corporation provides systems for the accurate communication of color. They ensure that when you see the color “Marsala” (Pantone’s 2015 Color of the Year) that if you use their color formulas, the color will be consistent no matter what material you print on or what computer you use to create your design. Every year, usually in the late fall, Pantone announces their color of the year and release a Spring Fashion Color Report . The colors chosen by Pantone will make up the color schemes that fashion designers use for their collections on the runway. In turn, the colors begin appearing in magazines articles and advertisements. Because a graphic designer must design these magazine covers, articles, and advertisements, they will naturally begin using the same color palettes in their layouts. Not only the colors, but the styles of design the graphic designer uses will often reflect the looks that were on the runway. If there were lots of florals, plaids or bold lines on clothing the models wear down the runway, it is very common to see versions of these same prints and elements carried over into the design industry.
It will help us to be ahead of the curve with our design ideas if we can learn how to see the looks on the runway and figure out how we can translate those into the world of graphic design.