“Colors are becoming more complex and sophisticated and are incorporating a variety of special effects including pearlescence and metallics along with the dimension of transparency and translucency,” adds Sibour, a marketing consultant in Kenvil, NJ.
Color is on the move in all categories and products.
Some 700 CMG members gather twice a year to share ideas and ultimately
concur on what direction color will take one to three years out. At a
conference in Orlando, FL. in April 2001, the group’s workshops focused
on color tracking and identifying color movement from previous palettes.
The result is CMG’s 2002 Consumer Colors Current Palette—a look
at new and established colors that will be found in consumer products
over the next year.
ON THE MOVE
“One of the most difficult parts of our color workshops is always limiting the number of colors in the palette,” says Consumer Colors Current Committee Co-Chairman Ricki Gardner, CMG, Artistree/Michaels, Coppell, TX. “The need for more colors was a consensus across all industries. A few of our colors are moving very quickly—some within a year—from our ‘Directions’ or forecast palette onto the ‘Colors Current’ or established Palette.”
Color is on the move in all categories and products. CMG says many of the colors in 2002 will go redder, the exception being the blue family. Blue is trending toward green, with a strong movement to bring the blues and greens closer together (i.e., greener blues and bluer greens). Many blues and greens are chameleon colors that fit into either family and can be used in combination with each other or with yellows and browns.
Red is moving bluer with reds trending towards red/pink and red/orange combinations. Purples and brown are still the biggest story with bi-polar purples moving both bluer and redder.
Yellows are used most often as an accent or background color; generally soft in value. Browns are drinkable (e.g., coffee), and copper is a big story morphing brown into orange and giving way to a brown/orange/yellow evolution. Oranges are becoming more sophisticated, a little more red and tropical, mostly on accents but coming on strong.
Neutrals require special effects; they are still very strong in all industries, but seem to be fading. Metal or metal-looking finishes are prevalent, inspired by the earth’s minerals or metals, while neutrals are moving into color families (see Design Perspectives, page 26). Gray has no cast—it’s a perfect neutral—and silver is only a treatment.
MAJOR INFLUENCES AND TRENDS
Color is on fast-forward and all over the board, according to CMG. “More industries, more technology and more products will mean more color in 2002,” commented fellow committee co-chairman, Dee Andrews, CMG, Norcom, Inc., Norcross, GA. “As more lower-end manufacturers and marketers introduce colors that have moved rapidly from high-end to established palettes, the colors are being accepted by mass markets faster than ever before.”
• Special effects are the next interpretation of color being used to attract consumers and make products more visually interesting.
• Metallics, namely copper, are the newest trend in metal. Automotive is on the cutting edge with big metallic chips in paint for more muted/matte looks.
• Nature is still a strong influence from the exotic (tropical, flora and animal prints) to military and camouflage styles brought about by remote location reality shows and extreme sports.
• Color blending or morphing is creating lots of blending and crossover into another color families (e.g., green/blue, brown/orange).
• Texture—considered to be a special effect—is a necessity. Wood finishes and faux woods are another hot topic for 2002: wood itself, real wood and faux finishes, colors, grains and wood trends in general.
• Global and regional cultural influences as well as population growth remain strong direction indicators including Asian, Hispanic (Latin), Korean, Thai, Indian and Japanese—all blending with Western taste.
• Economic influences don’t appear to have a major effect so far. As the Consumer Colors Current forecast looks 12 to 18 months into the future, it may be too early to tell if a downtrend in the economy will make any major impact on the color palette, especially since technology has made color pigments and special effects affordable to even lower end markets.
Color Marketing Group (CMG), founded in 1962 and based in Alexandria, VA, is an international, not-for-profit association of 1,700 color designers, professionals who enhance the function, salability and/or quality of a product through their knowledge and appropriate application of color. CMG members forecast Color Directions one to three years in advance for all industries, manufactured products and services.
Langostino Bridging of orange, pink and red that supports the continuing influence of red; truly an international crossover hue; a copper, orangey, metallic hue deemed a very usable orange for all markets.
Snappy Orange Color with a bite; vibrant, retro-techno color. Calls attention to itself in contrast to other ethnic, spicy oranges. Bright, clear, clean and fresh, an accent that can stand alone. May signal the return of more retro colors because new technology keeps them from fading by retaining their original luster.
Lemoncello Originally a hybridization of nature and technology this sophisticated yellow with a calming green influence is another crossover color that can morph into either the yellow or green family.
Eureka A yellow targeted at a youthful audience, but can also be used as an accent to attract older consumers. It’s a warm yellow drawing its influence from Morocco and Vietnam; used primarily to play off brown and blue, it is calming and natural and goes well with other colors.
Soleil Spring-like, upbeat and clean yellow moving toward a more neutral stance. It is best used in combination with many other colors such as spring greens.
Ginko Botanical green reminiscent of dry grasslands, it bridges the excitement of fresh spring greens and the relaxing greens of forest mosses; a perfect complement to flowers because it is like the yellow-greens found in nature.
Capri Blue Soothing, aquatic cross-gender blue-green influenced slightly by yellow; in its lightest value it becomes cool and icy.
Oxygen Blue sky as seen through a glass block, this breath of fresh air is an aquatic blue-green influenced by silver that will appear in many new product introductions.
Blue Bayou A shift away from a classic navy, it becomes an updated, techno version featuring a metallic, watery sheen. This status blue is more expensive in appearance and is always softened by using a special effect treatment such as pearlescence in reflecting the influence and texture of silk.
Moon Shadow Atmospheric blue-gray, it first appeared as a gray among other neutrals; a good example of neutrals moving into a color family. It is being classified as a leading member of the blue family.
Mysteria A blue-based smoky, soft gray or a purple moving grayer, bluer and softer. This bi-polar color moves in two directions at once; works well within all industries and goes well with greens and golds.
Dusk Fathomless purple with a deep richness that changes right before your eyes. It is a muted metallic that gives it a high-end appearance.
Violette Sassy, active violet that appears as a lesser value in a supporting role; can take center state as a higher value. A neutral-inspired purple that will work well combined with both browns and greens.
Hot Chocolate Warm, yummy, calm, comforting; brings earth tones indoors. A dark rich, red-cast brown. A retro ’70s color inspired by the coffee and chocolate craze. More intimate than black, it addresses the need for a sense of heritage, desire for antique appearances.
Orsando Sand-inspired brown, so warm and inviting it makes you want to wiggle your toes in it. Useable in most industries as a further illustration of the many personalities of brown.
Storm Merging of mineral blues and greens. At its darkest value it can serve as an industrial and mechanical alternative to black.
Charcool A menswear-influenced neutral; a green-cast gray playing the role of a dual color that also serves as a new-age charcoal. It’s not quite gray and not quite black.