Hedvig Astrom: Pantone Smoothies

By day, Hedvig Astrom is an art director at the DDB ad agency in New York. But in her spare time, Hedvig has become fascinated by her personal project which combines two of her passions – smoothies and color.

Last year she started Pantone Smoothies, a series of recipes and images in which she tries to recreate an exact colour from the Pantone range through the medium of a fruit-based drink. Her initial experiments took place in the basement of her office, after she became interested in the aesthetic properties of smoothies almost by accident.

“I would be making a banana peanut butter smoothie and realized that adding a few spinach leaves could completely change the hue. It seemed like I could fully control the color; it was just like mixing paint with my dad as a kid,” she explains.

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These playful childhood memories mingled with her professional design eye, and Pantone Smoothies was born. Hedvig took photographs to document each concoction – an Instagram-friendly set of three for each drink which features the Pantone swatch, the ingredients and the final smoothie.

The starting point for Hedvig was always the color. “I would actually start by going to the local paper store to get backdrops for the Pantone Smoothie photography. Then I’d match a Pantone swatch to the paper, and develop the recipe based on that.”

On the whole her creations feature flavor combinations that you’d expect – banana and cocoa, vanilla and raspberry, blueberry and honey. There’s a couple of curveballs – avocado, cucumber and mango for example – but Hedvig has reigned in some of her more daring instincts.

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“Once I picked a grey Pantone just to see what would come out of it,” she says. “I played around with edible clay but eventually I ended up using licorice root powder instead, which is way more delicious than clay!”

The project has proved to be a particular hit on Instagram, which Hedvig thinks is the “perfect platform” to display her experiments and she is aware that creatives around the world enjoy playing around with the Pantone color system in different ways. “It’s a fun brand that looks good and has a simple purpose,” she explains, which makes it versatile enough to explore and straightforward enough to understand (which in turn makes these kind of projects more shareable).

For now she is enthusiastic about developing the project and pushing herself to create more recipes, but in the future she likes the idea of Pantone Smoothies existing in printed form too. “Eventually I’d love to make a cookbook out of all of them,” she says.

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