Color is becoming clear, therapeutic and nurturing—and you thought it was just for decoration! In April 2002, members of the Color Marketing Group (www.colormarketing.org), Alexandria, VA, all color designers from various industries, met in New York, NY, to discuss and forecast consumer color trends for several months ahead. These industry experts chose a nurturing and healing 2004 Consumer Color Directions® Palette.
“Colors are becoming clear and pure, and are driven by a need for more
white, lights and translucents,” says Jay de Sibour, CMG, president of
Color Marketing Group (CMG), Material ConneXion, New York, NY.
The Consumer Palette is divided by industry, though there are similarities and
overlap between them. Active consumers will purchase items with unexpected sophistication,
including optimistic and genderless colors. By 2004, consumers are expected to
break away from a period of fear and satisfy a pent-up demand for durable home
products with brighter, sophisticated colors. Home fashion will focus on innocence,
freshness and elegance.
Communications/graphics colors will emphasize confidence. Transportation colors
will be visually soft, and will unify interior and exterior colors. Fashion will
use mid-tone hues to reflect a desire for comfort, security, solidity and spirituality.
“The 2004 Consumer Directions Palette includes rich reds, innocent pinks,
therapeutic blues, soft greens and a jolting neon yellow,” says Color Directions
Committee Co-Chairman Barbara Lazarow, CMG, Blonder Wallcoverings, Cleveland,
“Special-effects-enhanced hues such as Cu, Glassy, Hyper Green, Acier,
Aloeminium and Tusk offer consumers luminous and metallic options,” says
Color Directions Committee Co-Chairman Carol Byrne, Transportex Design & Marketing
Co., Inc., Scottsdale, AZ. “These directional colors, when teamed with
current hues, offer consumers a full palette of color and texture.”
Meeting in Dallas, TX, in October 2001, CMG members found inspiration in multiple
areas, including nostalgia, environment and technology when it came to choosing
a sophisticated and elegant 2004 Contract Color Directions® Palette.
“This journey is from primary- and secondary-based colors into complex
tertiary colors,” says de Sibour. “Many of these complicated chameleon
colors are influenced by purple and blue with a spiritual quality, while other
colors are solar and global in nature.”
The Contract Color Palette is divided into four categories: light-infused colors,
color-influenced neutrals, sophisticated darks, and exotic mid-tones. Light-infused
colors are glowing, luminous and influenced by technology. Color-influenced neutrals
are soft, subtle, livable and natural. Sophisticated darks are formal and serious
without being somber. And lastly, exotic mid-tones are complex and mineral influenced.
“The 2004 Directions Palette is really a statement about light and shadow,” says
Contract Color Directions Co-Chair Kristin Fraidenburgh, American Silk Mills
Corp., New York, NY. “Luminous and somewhat transparent colors that are
influenced by new materials will be popular in interiors.” People are moving
toward luminosity, phosphorescence and colored lights to showcase interior walls
The economy continues to be noted as an important influence. Finishes give added
depth and dimension. Lustrous metals bring value, strength, longevity and integrity.
Fashion launches new ideas of color in the air. This, coupled with the speed
of communication, increasingly blurs the lines between markets.
Colors like Crystalline, Phosphorous, Butter Silk, and Half-and-Half are light-infused
liquid colors that have movement. “These are not stationary colors,” said
Laura Deubler-Mercurio, Deubler Mercurio, St. James, NY. “The interplay
of light and shadow in the palette becomes very interesting when you use the
shadow colors in combination with the light colors.” Shadow colors Depth,
Chic, Myth and Tincture are organic and smoky, and represent the shadow colors
of ocean, forest and sky.
2004 Consumer Color Directions By
Coral Bells: A relaxing stroll through the garden. Can you
smell the coral bells?
Cu: It’s elementary (copper). A precious metal with
healing powers, shiny new or corroded over time.
Glassy: Glass tints this transparent green;
reflective, fresh and innocent.
Hope Blue: Heaven-sent, our hope for the future.
Hyper Green: Technology puts this virtually real green into
Naughty But Nice: Don’t blush if you know Victoria’s
little secret. A traditional twist on innocence and peace.
Bijou Red: Ooh la-la! At the Moulin Rouge rubies
are a girl’s
Giraffe: Stick your neck out and go for this Serengeti brown
inspired by copper, Arts & Crafts and African block prints.
Hortensia: This casual blue dresses up and goes to work.
Nougat: Sticky sweet and so delicious. It’s blush with
undertones of copper.
Phthalo Green: Good luck! This scarab green will protect you.
Vanilla: Create your own sundae with this go-with-everything
Notable color trends from other industries:
Acier: Sounds like French, but this steely gray is really from
Pittsburgh and has universal appeal. It is an expansion of
the cool metals (transportation).
Aloeminium: The healing power of aloe combines with aluminum
Crystal Sky: The energy of a brilliant blue
sky, clean and clear as a summer day (action/recreation).
Good Earth: Freshly tilled, an enriched new brown with Victorian
roots, Mission influences and Lodge appeal (durable home goods).
Hockney Blue: Escape to the tropics with this soothing and
tranquil blue-green (durable home goods).
Jolt: Brace yourself for this neon citrus (communications/graphics).
Moondance: A rhythmic choreography of warm-tinted white as
beige moves whiter, warmer and more comfortable (action/recreation).
Peace: A unifying global blue represents peace on earth (transportation).
Power Punch: Fun and fantasy for all ages (action/recreation).
Soho Green: A fusion of bronze and gold creates this 21st-century
neutral, elemental and enduring (durable home goods).
Touch: Feel the love, baby, with the warmth of skin and body
Tusk: Ivory influences aluminum reflecting the global warming
of silver (transportation).
The 2004 Contract Color
Aristocrat: A deep, rich, and brown-influenced red with a
Butter Silk: Soft, sensuous and complex; a smooth transition
Chic: A quiet color shifting between purple and brown; a flexible
and soothing mineral shade with depth and tonal qualities.
It is compatible with warm and cool colors, and it extends
the limits of the neutral palette.
Crystalline: A light-infused blue. Translucent and watery with
a spiritual connotation. Luminous yet restful.
Depth: A melding of blue and green. A tourmaline color that
satisfies the need for a high-end teal.
Gold Mine: A warm and interactive mid-tone. Inviting and usable,
a departure from the golds in past palettes.
Half-and-Half: White, a strong story going forward. White,
white on white, luminous white. Moving away from casual toward
formal and serious. Influenced by fashion and European trends.
Happy Trails: A yellow-based tan as soft as suede. Luxurious
and tactile in nature.
Hot Sauce: A spicy new red, sophisticated and usable. A bridge
between red lacquer and squash.
Malt: A new direction for neutrals. It’s not quite beige,
not quite gray. A comfortable companion to existing taupes.
Myth: A mysterious color that reflects the importance of the
purple and gray families. It is a livable neutral, neither
harsh nor shocking. Both the lighter tint and darker shades
are very important.
Passamente: A bronzed chartreuse, aged but fresh. An exotic
Phosphorus: A luminous clear color; pale and brilliant.
Texas Sage: A serene neutral green.
Tincture: An herbal neutral green, almost black. Great in high-contrast
Color Marketing Group (CMG), founded in 1962 and based in Alexandria, VA, is
an international, not-for-profit association of 1,500 Color Designers. Color
Designers are 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.