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PMA hosts Pantone color institute webinar

Color, shape and visual texture might be the holy trinity of floral design, but where do floral designers look to spark their inner muse? One go-to source is Pantone, LLC, which is the world-renowned authority on color.

Later this month, Produce Marketing Association will partner with the Pantone Color Institute to offer a free, one-hour webinar bursting with insights that the mass-market floral community can use to spur their own product development, marketing and design ideas.

Becky Roberts 140227 4477 webBecky Roberts Laurie Pressman, Pantone Color Institute vice president, will present the webinar, scheduled at 2 p.m. Eastern time on Thursday, March 28. This is the fifth consecutive year for the webinar. Visit to register.

The Institute, a business unit of Pantone, focuses on color intelligence, highlighting top seasonal runway colors, forecasting global color trends, and collaborates with companies on color for product and brand visual identity.

Titled “Color Trends for 2019/2020 That Can Grow Your Business,” PMA’s webinar is a sort of crash course on color palettes, the newest color trends, and combinations that tell a color story. Pressman will also provide insights about how our social, political and economic culture impacts these dynamics.

“We take Pantone pretty seriously here,” said Robert DeBellis, AIFD, a lead designer and education specialist at World Class Flowers. “We’ve created full lines based on Pantone colors.”

The webinar will not be recorded. For that reason, DeBellis recommends having a viewing party of sorts to get the most out of the jam-packed hour. In the past, he’s watched with fellow designers and marketing and sales colleagues.

“We watch it together and discuss afterward, what we liked and didn’t like,” said DeBellis. “We pick it apart for what we can get out of it and then apply it to what will work for us”.

“Marketing people and designers will definitely get inspiration out of it and ideas on how to use colors,” added DeBellis. “Plant people use packaging and containers, so they can get something out of it too.”

In his role at World Class Flowers, DeBellis teaches store personnel. This month, he’s doing a seminar on the Pantone Color of the Year for Wakefern that includes a design contest.

Since he also worked in supermarket retail serving shoppers years ago, DeBellis brings the perspective of both store employees and consumers’ needs to his role.

“Supermarket customers were always looking for help to select floral products, and store employees can be short on time”, he said. So, whether doing a demonstration for the general public or for supermarket employees, DeBellis focuses on concepts they can easily replicate.

“The goal is to make something they can take home and put right in a vase,” explained DeBellis, who said his designer schtick is to keep it simple.

DeBellis has a sign in his office that says: “To sell more is to teach more.”

In a world where consumers are exposed to home shows galore on HGTV and endless Pinterest and Instagram feeds, the general public is bombarded with stimuli about color, texture and design aesthetic.

“The more educated the consumer base, the more we have to serve them,” said DeBellis, who is also a volunteer on PMA’s Floral Council. “The educated consumer will buy more.”

Education can include providing simple how-to advice for those who want to make their own cut-flower bouquets, as well as proper care advice for both the do-it-yourself and grab-and-go consumers. Knowing how to pick the right vessel is also important.

“If a lady leaves a show and goes home and creates an epic Pinterest fail trying to make a floral arrangement, she won’t try again. My goal is to show her something she can do and like and be proud of and is comfortable because we’ve educated her,” explained DeBellis.

DeBellis said the story is important in his designs, but it’s not necessarily about color every time. And color and texture should work well together. That’s where hard goods can also come into play.

“Having the right partners is essential if you are creating a color-specific line or one you want to call your own,” he said. “Tags and picks are all part of the product. It’s not all about the flowers sometimes when creating a feeling.”

Pressman will offer more insights in PMA’s March 28 webinar on how color can create a mood, elicit emotion and more.

Register now and visit for additional resources, including research and exclusive content for members.  

PMA is a trade organization representing companies from every segment of the global fresh produce and floral supply chain. PMA Floral Council members are industry volunteers who provide input and guidance to help PMA deliver year-round value to members.

Becky Roberts is PMA's director of floral and new initiatives.