No matter where you live, October is a colorful month. If the leaves on your trees become red and gold, you may be enjoying autumn north of the proverbial Mason-Dixon line; if you are in the south, Halloween and Thanksgiving decorations fill the stores just like they do everywhere, tempting us all to do a little fall decorating. It is a visually rich time of year, and a time when our thoughts turn to vivid color—those full of zest and punch.
As fall comes upon all of us, we begin to wonder what colors are on the horizon, what excitement we might be able to stimulate in our customers for new looks and a color change that hopefully results in a decorating change. But first, let’s back up just a bit.
According to Color Marketing Group (CMG), certain hot looks were introduced in 2008, and keep in mind that colors once introduced inevitably linger. It takes time for a color collection to work its way from introduction to customer saturation. So it is safe to feel secure that colors introduced this year have relative staying power.
So far this year we have seen crisp contrasts: white and white with big, bold 1960s and ’70s graphics and 1930s-yet-contemporary over-the-top printed designs in black. Accents are a clear, bright sunny yellow with cheery environmental lime green punches and a sprinkling of berry pink, the cool raspberry color of summery Italian ices.
Intense colors also have been labeled Hot Ethnic Accents and include bright yellows, turquoises and magentas (think India, China, Indonesia, South America). Look also for the ever-present environmental green to gravitate to browner, earthier tones for fall and winter this year.
Now, let’s look ahead.
What are the colors on the horizon? This fall and in 2009, what colors will catch our decorating fancy? Look for a basic palette of muted tones, very eco-friendly, echoing the earthy colors of the past. These colors are browned and muted. By themselves, they would be deathly boring, but when we add fashion-statement, power-punch colors as accents, the eco-echo colors will be unbelievably rich—stimulating and satisfying.
Looking to the source of these accents is where we will find our power punch for tomorrow’s clients. According to CMG, we will see globalism as a trend that continues to inspire our love for ethnic accent colors. They’re coming to us from India, China and Latin America. To Moroccan reds and glowing oranges add rosy pinks; sunny, golden yellows; and lots of turquoise. Already taking hold in fashion and home design, these ethnic accents will show up as punch colors in hotels, restaurants and retail environments, too—often paired with rich browns as neutrals.
(Note: Color Marketing Group forecasts color trends up to three years into the future for its members, many of whom must plan ahead for product, space and materials introductions. For more information visit www.colormarketing.org.)
Philosophy, then Color
Colors that are marketed as fresh and innovative do not exist in a vacuum. They result from careful evaluation of emerging and established philosophy that unites consumers. Colors selected in advance by CMG experts consider identifiable social trends in the American culture that we all experience. Based on this evidence, Pittsburgh Paints, in its latest edition of The Voice of Color, explains the theory behind its 2008-09 EcoEcho Color Trends.
The three major influencing ideas include the following:
1. Beauty and its meaning—Not only an aesthetic concept, but also an expression of moral value. Sensory wellbeing and a moral responsibility for sustainability and ethical design practices.
2. Recycling, remixing and reviewing the past—Items cherished and recycled not only limit waste, they represent a visual and cultural history that connects us to others with similar experiences and conjures up emotions of times and places out of our collective past.
3. Creativity is key to a greener future—Optimism for the future coupled with the capacity of the human mind to create solutions will open doors to a greener life through change and innovations that are also key to enjoying our accelerated pace of living.
Given these three philosophical directions, four palettes of color will emerge for 2008-09. These are, according to Pittsburgh Paints:
2. Fair Trade
Vintage—This trend is inspired by sensibility and authenticity, mixing personal memories, time-softened palette and a love for lovely things from the past. Light and mid-tone colors are low-contrast, creating soft nuances with only small accents of darker values. White, taupe-beige, brown and pale blue dominate this palette.
Fair Trade—This trend is a throwback to the earthiness and naturalness of the 1970s. It is deeply attached to a respect for nature and fundamental human values, emphasizing social responsible actions in sustainability and design. It is anti-modern (though mid-century materials are embraced), flea market, native urban and conscience of an uncomplicated lifestyle. Colors are naturally warm, natural and organic, emphasizing red browns, soft sage, deep browned reds and clear light blue.
EcoTechno—Mid-century modern reigns in this optimistic style. Innovation and simplicity concepts happily co-exist. Interiors are efficient, well balanced and measured. Colors include light beige, clean gray, deep green, rich deep warm red, and white and beige accents.
EcoLoco—Yet another mid-century inspired trend, this one back to the 1960s but with much cleaner sophistication and charm. EcoLoco speaks of freedom and new possibilities. It is humorous, exuberant and even audacious, combining eccentricity and glamour, throwing together modern classics in unexpected, irreverent juxtaposition. Colors include a warm brownish green, clean white, brilliant red, deep hot pink and grayed green.
Color and Individuals
The trends for 2009 will strike a happy chord with many mature customers whose nostalgia for their youths will make them feel young again as they are granted permission to pursue and relive great looks from their past, with more handsome style and sophistication than the first time around. These colors trends also will resonate with the younger techie crowd who learned computer skills in junior high and are now fully savvy in e-business and communications. All trends emphasize a cleaner, simpler look and great style.
Karla J. Nielson, Allied ASID, WCAA, is assistant professor of design at Brigham Young University. She has authored several books including Window Treatments, Understanding Fabrics and Interiors: An Introduction, 3rd Ed. Nielson is a regular correspondent for Draperies & Window Coverings addressing the areas of fashion, education and merchandising.