Posts filed under Inspiration

All About Pantone’s Fall Colors--And Why They Matter

By Claire Ehlinger

We are all affected by design, and color is a powerful tool that can mean starkly different things based on the context of design. Think about the color red: it can conjure feelings of love and celebration during the holidays, but change the tint of your color and the context within its use, and it can communicate anger, aggression, and violence. To the people who deal in product development and design this is a subconscious dialog that is of never-ending importance.

One of the tools in the tool box for the design community is the Pantone color system. The Pantone color system has been keeping the red targets of Target the same exact shade of red and the orange of Home Depot so uniformly orange for years. It's important to be consistent with every bit of a brand as big and popular as Target or Home Depot. You’re building confidence with your consumer through branding, so every detail matters. I’ll let Miranda Priestly drive the point home with this memorable quote from The Devil Wears Prada:

You think [fashion] has nothing to do with you. You go to your closet and you select... I don't know... that lumpy blue sweater, for instance because you're trying to tell the world that you take yourself too seriously to care about what you put on your back. But what you don't know is that that sweater is not just blue, it's not turquoise. It's not lapis. It's actually cerulean. And you're also blithely unaware of the fact that in 2002, Oscar de la Renta did a collection of cerulean gowns... And then cerulean quickly showed up in the collections of eight different designers. And then it, uh, filtered down through the department stores and then trickled on down into some tragic Casual Corner where you, no doubt, fished it out of some clearance bin. However, that blue represents millions of dollars and countless jobs and it's sort of comical how you think that you've made a choice that exempts you from the fashion industry when, in fact, you're wearing the sweater that was selected for you by the people in this room from a pile of stuff.

That’s harsh Miranda, but not without merit. I don’t consciously look to the Pantone fall colors as an influencer in my day to day life. But it informs me as a consumer and a designer. These colors aren’t ground breaking and we’ve seen them all before but by the time we see these colors integrated into our favorite coffee thermoses they are a step up from the usual.

The Pantone fall colors are the way I decorate my headspace and I believe they are a visual coffee that wakes you up, sharpens your sensory experience, brings you into the “now,” and reduces cancer (ok maybe not but I seriously suggest you look up the health benefits of drinking coffee). That’s what makes a life: being in the moment, recognizing changing seasons and our changing lives; when I get on board with a trend or “new” Pantone color it's just another way to celebrate life’s beauty and the moment that we are in.

This year’s fall Pantone colors evoke small forgotten memories of the season’s delights. Here’s what they mean to me in my everyday life:

Dried herb and desert sage: Those leaves that fall that haven’t turned colors; they are just a dry crunchy green. Also the color of witches, zombies, and Frankenstein's monster.

Oak buff: The color of corn and soybeans drying out in the fields that are absolutely everywhere in Iowa (where I’m from). (EXTRA things that are that color: the color of the busted open seeds on the ground if you happen to be in Georgia or the color of a purse I had in highschool to start the year when they banned backpacks in classrooms. A purse isn’t a backpack, Mr. Thornton. Get off my case.)

Cashmere rose: My favorite gel pen that I could write on black with and also the color of my very stylish earbuds.

Cadmium orange: A color that’s everywhere during October, the best month of the year (we have lots of Libras a Green Gate)!

Reflecting Pond: The color of the night sky in your favorite childhood books of mostly pictures.

Stormy Weather: My favorite color growing up, a mixture of grey and blue.

Amethyst Orchid: A color very similar to the 2014 Pantone color of the year, Radiant Orchid. A gorgeous color that inspires calm introspection and obviously has staying power.

Marsala: Finally the 2015 Color of the Year. What a color; I love it. It’s a tough but beautiful color, the color of brick and ponderosa pine bark. It reminds me of my dad’s old sketchbooks from the 60’s, my childhood summer camp, and beautifully old rusted cars. Marsala isn’t really a pretty color it’s just a color with a lot of character which is actually better if you ask me.

Instead of comparing this years Pantone color to last years I’m going to compare it to all the past Pantone colors going all the way back to 2000 when they started this tradition. The colors of past years seem to just blend together into a pastel beach ball. They all sort of seem the same, all of them good on their own but seeming to clash with each other very easily. I think we needed Marsala to be our 2015 Pantone color to bring some diversity and toughness back into our lives, to remind us to be complementary people and to not get too wrapped up in ourselves.

I’m aware you can assign significance to anything so maybe this yearly Pantone color will always give me a chance to reflect. Either way I’m excited to get a new Pantone color in a few months to make fun of why they chose it and then let it grow on me once again.




Posted on November 13, 2015 and filed under Inspiration, Design.



March 8 is International Women’s Day, a global day of recognition (and in many countries, an official holiday) that seeks to draw attention to and celebrate the strides that women have made. Events are held around the world to acknowledge the strength and integrity of women in society as a whole, in the family, and in the workplace. The day recognizes both the advances women have made as a gender, but also the accomplishments of individuals who have dedicated their lives to working towards causes they believe in. 

In honor of this day and of Women’s History Month, here are three women who have inspired us over the years, and who continue to inspire us through their outstanding work, be it global activism or action that works towards the betterment of a very specific community. 


Principal, Mott Hall Bridges Academy

Vidal, student at Mott Hall Bridges Academy in Brownsville, Brooklyn, NY.

Vidal, student at Mott Hall Bridges Academy in Brownsville, Brooklyn, NY.

We heard about the incredible work that Lopez does through a post by the Humans of New York Facebook page, in which a student was asked who in his life influenced him the most. This is what he said:

Lopez, principal of a middle school in the neighborhood with the highest crime rate in New York City, recently led a fundraising campaign (with the help of Humans of New York) to fund school trips to Harvard University as well as several years of a summer program for Mott Hall Bridges Academy scholarsHer goal is to take the school’s incoming 6th grade class to Harvard every year to show them that they have limitless potential, and she will begin the summer program so that they can have a safe place to go during the summer where they can continue learning. 

Lopez is an awe-inspiring example of the effect that one person can have on her community. Through the work that she does in addition to her job, she is changing the lives of the children that attend her school and providing them a safe, supportive environment to thrive in. The way we see it, she is, in a very real way, changing the world one student at a time. 

Lopez is an awe-inspiring example of the effect that one person can have on her community. Through the work that she does in addition to her job, she is changing the lives of the children that attend her school and providing them a safe, supportive environment to thrive in. The way we see it, she is, in a very real way, changing the world one student at a time. 

Nadia Lopez, principal at Mott Hall Bridges Academy

Nadia Lopez, principal at Mott Hall Bridges Academy


Executive Director of Let’s Move! 

The White House recently named Deb Eschmeyer executive director of Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! initiative as well as senior adviser for nutrition policy. Prior to stepping into her new role, Eschmeyer co-founded FoodCorps, a nationwide program that places service members into limited-resource schools to increase access to and knowledge of wholesome, healthy food. 

What inspires us about Eschmeyer is her incredible ability to pull people together to work toward a common goal. The work that she does requires immense support from grassroots efforts as well as cooperation from large, bureaucratic systems that can feel impossible to navigate. But she does work with both of these very different groups; she does it well, and she does it with seemingly unflappable motivation that we can’t help but admire. 


Conservationist, primatologist, and UN Messenger of Peace

Sarah, our content strategist, recently had the honor of seeing Jane Goodall speak on two occasions: at a fundraising gala at which the UN Messenger of Peace was honored, and at Zoo Atlanta, where she gave a talk about the conservation and animal welfare work that she has dedicated her life to. What struck Sarah most about Goodall is that even though she had given her life to the causes that she believed in, even though she had defied all odds of her upbringing and the times in which she began her career, even though she had personally been responsible for so much positive change, Goodall showed no sign of being satisfied by the progress she helped bring about. She seemed driven to continue working until there was no more progress to be made. 

Even at age 80, with such an accomplished career, Goodall seemed unsatisfied. That is not to say that she seems unfulfilled, but to say that she is as driven as ever to continue working tirelessly towards creating a world that is safe, supportive, and fair for all living things. And it is that drive, as well as the grace and authenticity with which she presents herself, that inspires us most about her. 

Posted on March 8, 2015 and filed under Inspiration.



Today is Random Acts of Kindness Day and we are reflecting on the little things we can do to make a difference in someone else's day. Are we kind to those outside of our immediate circles? For most of us, yes, but with busy lives and myriad distractions simple acts of kindness tend to fall away. 

Below we've included Hannah Brencher's moving talk about her love letters to strangers, as well as a list from The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation with some great ideas on how to incorporate kindness into our everyday lives.

We hope this serves as inspiration as you move through your day, your week, your year. Here's to happier homes and workplaces,  and to kinder public spaces! 


Source: Ted Talks


Originally Posted on The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation's Blog:  December 22, 2014 by Kelsey Gryniewicz

Here are 15 ideas to get you started:

  1. Year of Kindness Box: Create a New Years tradition. On the first day of the new year, start a Year of Kindness Box. Throughout the year, fill up the box with: compliments you received, thank you notes, moments of kindness you witnessed, acts of kindness you did, inspiring quotes, etc. Then after the year is over, review the contents!

  2. Create a Gratitude Journal: A five-minute a day gratitude journal can increase your long-term well-being by more than 10 percent. That’s the same impact as doubling your income!" From Happier Human

  3. Three Compliments: Compliment the first three people you talk to.

  4. 52 Thank You Notes: Express your gratitude for the people in your life, write one thank you note every week to a different person: Need a quick thank-you note format? Check out The Five Minute Thank You Note.

  5. A Kind Twist on Happy Hour: Invite a group of people you know (friends, family, coworkers) to the happiest of happy hours and spend one hour doing acts of kindness for others.

  6. Positive Sticky Notes: Carry a stack of positive sticky notes with you wherever I go. Post them when you're somewhere that needs a little bit more kindness.

  7. Morning Kindness: Before you get out of bed, focus on kindness. Think of a kind motto for your day or text a positive good morning note to a friend.

  8. Daily Positivity: Every day, think of a random person. Send them a positive message (text, email, social media post, phone call, letter, etc.)

  9. Volunteer: Think of a cause you care about or a group in your community that could use some help. Volunteering has some serious health benefits too.

  10. Beautify Your Surroundings: Spend 10 minutes picking up litter in your neighborhood, park or other commonly visited locations.

  11. Kind Body Image: Place positive body image sticky notes on dressing room mirrors.

  12. Coupon Fairy: Save unused/unwanted coupons and put them next to relevant products next time you're at the grocery store

  13. Be Kind to the Earth: Research ways to be kind to the environment and reduce your carbon footprint. Here are seven ideas to get you started.

  14. Smile: According to an article from Psychology Today, "Each time you smile, you throw a little feel-good party in your brain. The act of smiling activates neural messaging that benefits your health and happiness."

  15. Self-Kindness: Do one kind thing every week for yourself. Enjoy a treat you love, exercise, eat a healthy meal, or do something you love and rarely have time to do.

Posted on February 17, 2015 and filed under Inspiration.