Our tastes in color are the summation of our experiences with them, which results in our favor for or prejudice against particular hues. Why is color such an emotional issue? Consider these facts:
• We are influenced by colors we knew as children and how we felt then. We never, ever forget our color associations, although some negative experiences in which certain colors were present may be submerged without our remembering why we despise those colors.
• Our daily judgements also are based on the traditionally associated colors of seasons, holidays, religious experiences, patriotic holidays and events, and what we see in theaters, on television and in print.
• Our preferences are based on how we respond to individual colors because of the psychology of color—how the colors make people feel, for example calm or excited, secure or imaginative.
Taking all these factors into account, our customers respond to color in interior fashion with varied reactions. Some colors they love, some they feel neutral toward, and other hues customers decidedly don't like. Our responsibility, and our delight, is to expose the customer to the latest in stylish colors and color trends, then help them make choices that will be most comfortable and beneficial to them.
ESTABLISHING COLOR TRENDS
Color trends are established by groups of dedicated and experienced professionals. The non-profit organizations include the well-known Color Marketing Group (CMG), the Color Association of the United States (CAUS) and the International Colour Authority in London, England. Skilled and accomplished color designers meet in committees and their consensus, reached after presentation and deliberation, become color forecasts. (For a firsthand review of CMG's forecasting process, see D&WC, June 1998.)
This unification of a color trend palette is critical in marketing all sorts of goods in our free-enterprise system. Cross merchandising via color coordination enhances the salability and perceived quality of a product. Coordinated color directions are used in residential products, architectural and building products, commercial and non-residential products for retail, hospitality and entertainment, health care and office interiors. Also directed by color trends are the graphics and communication, fashion apparel and recreation or action industries.
To many people, being "in fashion" means to purchase items that are colored and textured with accepted trends in mind. Having the latest in style fashions is a major driving force for consumer selection. Here we will focus on the Color Marketing Group's color trends for the contract/commercial and consumer markets.
According to CMG, colors for the contract and commercial market for the remainder of this year will transcend skin-deep beauty and strive to reach spiritual purity. CMG says color will lend form, function and spirituality to design and forecasts four major directions:
• Neutrals—The most important color direction is neutrals infused with color. They are familiar and easy to use, but color has pushed through the glass ceiling of possibilities to present a bolder, broader spectrum of neutrals.
Classic, aged and introspective colors are influenced by Asia and other ancient cultures. Neutrals are more saturated and complex, moving away from pastels or the chalky hues of previous years.
• Colors with Soul—The overwhelming consensus is that hard-edged techno-bright colors need to be toned down, softened and refined. This year, clients need more sophisticated, useable multi-purpose colors. They desire healing colors with more soul.
The color story is one of balance: color must be simple and realistic, yet complex and flexible. Optimism is tempered by cautious practicality. "It's balancing these paradoxical needs that makes this forecast interesting and exciting. We need dichotomy: rich opulent values of crisp colors as well as veiled, mystical tones," states Kay Gosline, Solutia, Atlanta, GA, co-chairperson of contract color directions for CMG.
• Color Movements—As water exerts a strong influence on this palette, there is the emergence of an important blue story. Several blues are forecast because there is more than one very clear direction in this color family. Spa blues cool the palette and give it spirituality.
Most other colors were considered fringe colors—that is, important colors that add life and vitality, but tend to be used as accents or accessories. Brown and blue have influenced reds, oranges and even purple. Golden, clear yellow ages like a fine California chardonnay.
• Textures/Special Effects—As the softening of technology continues, textures are at least as important as color. The sophisticated consumer wants colors that engage all of the senses and create an experience. Glassy translucence and pearlescence will be seen, as well as holographic colors. Finishes provide the surprise that delivers a message of faceted color.
Metallics play a significant role, but each with a particular look: copper that's not new-penny bright; stainless steel; ancient bronze or patinaed gold. Warmer metallics like pewter are more useable. Many colors considered for this palette were on the verge of being metallic without being shiny.
One important concept we see in these forecasts is that residential colors influence contract colors, and contract colors influence residential colors.
Looking ahead to 2001, CMG expects the following trends to influence consumer color choices:
• Special Effects—A growing importance is being placed on the ways texture, patterns and effects influence color.
• Texture and Layering—Translucent, icy, misty textures are effects that will be increasingly seen. There will be an increasing difficulty in separating color from texture.
• Color in Motion—Both soft and bright colors will be seen on the color palette. A movement toward bright colors is seen in accessories and fashion items. Moving pictures (movies/videos) continue to influence colors as their flash of popularity influences color trends.
• Internet Shopping—Retailers online will become more creative in product introductions in order to compete in cyberspace.
Other trends expected to become evident next year include globalization with its inevitable color roots being traced to Asia and Africa. CMG also states that three key color groups will affect the 2001 consumer palette:
• Techno Colors—These are hues from and for technology, which include gray and taupe, black and pure white, and the colors that will develop as technological advancements and enhancements become available.
• Serenity Colors—Lighter, softer more reassuring colors offer balance and harmony, enhancing personal healing and health. Based on diffused colors of nature, these hues will provide simple serenity for the soul by allowing for individual expression in our anxiety-ridden techno world.
• Accents of Chromatic Adrenaline—Driven by the action/recreation, communication and graphics industries, bright, bold colors will rev up our lives and bring equilibrium to the techno and serenity colors.
Karla J. Nielson, Allied ASID, WCAA, is assistant professor of design at Brigham Young University. She is a practicing interior designer and has authored several books including Window Treatments and Understanding Fabrics. Nielson is a regular correspondent for Draperies & Window Coverings addressing the areas of fashion, education and merchandising.
CMG's commercial/contract color forecast for 2000
Bay Fog A complex neutral that evokes impressions of gray, blue and purple.
Chakra Purple A veiled, mystical lavender. It is red-based and midtone. Excellent as a foil for other colors in the palette.
Fiesta A new direction for orange, it is more refined and sophisticated for upscale markets as blue influences it away from the harsh and brash oranges of the past.
Frosted Jade This beautiful, dreamy gray-green reminiscent of Chinese porcelain is a new direction for a neutral.
Hematite Neither warm nor cool, this deep, dark, grayed purple is a replacement for black. It is softer and more malleable.
Meritage Just like several wines combine to make a fine vintage, this is a complex brown-influenced purple.
Salsa Lito Originating from Asian lacquer, this bronzed red is strong and opulent.
Silkworm A creamy, light tan neutral; warm and comfortable. Works and plays well with other colors.
Silver Streak A warm, mercurial silver with a soft sheen. Silver Streak was created for this palette using a full pearlescent pigment base without any metallic content.
Spa Water-influenced blue moves away from greens and teal. It is pure color that is healing and healthful.
Squid Ink A dark gray-influenced blue. Calm, serene and like a starless sky at midnight.
Thai Gold A rich, yellow-gold re-emerges from the ancient Far East.
Tip Taupe A mixer color that sneaks up on you from several directions. A beautiful neutral that quietly adds a new dimension to taupe with a crisper, less muted appearance.