I’m a visual person, so the very first thing I do when I have an idea is to search for imagery that will fan the flame of inspiration. Pinterest is every designer’s best friend. I start by saving everything and anything that brings joy. The image could be completely irrelevant but may have a colour or a texture that is useful.
I then narrow down the selection to the very best and start pulling colours straight from the images. The eye dropper in Photoshop is my go to but the Adobe Capture app is a free alternative. The first mock ups tend to have way too many colour variations and look a bit messy but it sets the mood for the entire collection. I usually have a colour palette in mind before I start pulling colours, simply from similarities in the images I choose.
As this is an autumn/winter collection, I knew I wanted to go a bit more raw, earthy, and natural with the colours. My first collection was lighter and brighter, but this will be darker and much more print oriented. Yes, you heard it, prints! Something I felt was really lacking from the first collection. But it’s also something that is much harder to source, so I will be creating my own. That will come a bit later in the design process though.
As you can see, I have created two very separate and different colour palettes to start from. They each have a similar feel to them but they require editing and fine tuning before I select the final colour choices for the collection. I tend to spend a lot of time on this step as it sets the mood for the entire collection. Granted, I may find a stunning fabric in a colour that differs from the original concept, and that’s okay too. It’s all about keeping the process fluid and organic. When a collection is forced from the beginning, there is no hope for a cohesive finished product.
In my experience, inspiration and colour selection tend to go hand in hand. As soon as I have an inspiration in mind, the colours seem to be an obvious choice, depending on the muse. These beginning stages are solely based on intuition and emotion. The research and technical stages are just as vital, but they come after the imagination bit has been exhausted.
Every collection tends to have a group of core colours that are used most often. I am usually drawn to muted earthy neutrals or soft pastels. As you can see from my current colour palettes, the selection is rich in moody neutrals but is lacking a bit of interest. I find that it’s important to choose at least one colour that is unexpected to create a contrast. As of now, the palette doesn’t have any feminine accents. I’m not too keen on the traditional “boy colours” and “girl colours” but I do think it’s important to have a balance of feminine and masculine tones to create a cohesive mood.
At this point in the process, I usually reflect on what is missing. In this case I think I need a bit of dusky pink. While it’s not outwardly present in my mood photos, there is just a hint of pink tones hiding behind the nudes. I think it’s just the lovely accent colour that I’m missing.
So without further ado, the colour palette:
The core colours for the Highland collection include earthy greens, navy blues, cloudy greys, and rusty terracotta. The accent colours include hints of ochre, dusky pink, and pewter blue. The final colours will be determined by the fabrics that I am able to source but now that I have a narrowed selection, I know what to look for.
I hope you are just as excited as I am to see this collection take shape and I'm looking forward to sharing my fabric selection with you next. I get a wee sparkle in my eye when I get to feel the swatches for the first time.