No Fickle Colors

Submitted By:  Annette M. Callari, Allied ASID, CMG

no_fickle_colors_smI have just returned from an action-packed meeting of Color Marketing Group International.  233 Color Professionals from across the country came together to identify color trends, and just as importantly, meaningful marketing trends sweeping the country.  Do we now have the colors emerging for 2011 and 2012?  Yes we do.  Can I share some of that with you today?  No, I can’t—not just yet.  But I can tell you where colors are headed and why.  Then, later this year, watch Designer’s Corner segment, and the future colors will then be revealed.

But for the time being, let’s focus on what’s coming up for 2010.  Speaking of Designer’s Corner, the 2010 colors are posted (see “What’s Cooking in Kitchen and Bath Trends—PLUS COLOR!” )  These are the colors you need to know about right now, and many of these will carry over into 2011.  Look at 2010 and 2011 as years of color evolution rather than revolution.  And there is a good reason for that.  One of the major marketing trends identified at our conference in New Orleans focused on timeless, authentic designs, built on classic colors.  To accomplish that, steer clear of fickle colors—those that are here today and gone tomorrow. 

Given the current economy, nobody wants, or should have to, redecorate every two to three years.  It’s neither efficient nor economical.  So designers will be “cooking with interesting neutrals, and spicing with color.”  That approach is beyond smart, and here’s why:  spice colors can be changed more frequently, without major cost or upsetting the foundation of an entire design.  You can change spice colors via accessories, toss pillows, slip covers, lighting fixtures, and even selective re-painting (a single wall or perhaps only one room).  But the more costly basics of the design– window coverings, furniture, flooring and carpet–remain the same.  What an excellent way to create a fresh design without starting from square one!  Timeless colors can be described as interesting neutrals (complex neutrals created from a mix of several colors) that have chameleon qualities.  That means that these colors irresistibly change with the light of day.  Add to that clever new paint products that add opalescent, iridescent and pearlescent qualities to paint, and you’ve added radiance to your color of choice.  Now you have the makings of a design that is exceptional AND enduring.

Enter one more directional marketing trend that was identified:  our gravitation towards comfort colors.  These are the familiar colors that have been best sellers for over five years.  Professional designers know these colors well, and you can either consult a designer or do a little research on your own.  Most nationally recognized paint manufacturers have a list of their “best sellers”, and without a doubt, those colors fall under the “comfort” umbrella.  Soft greens, interesting neutrals, warm browns and “grayed” reds are a few of those hallmark colors.

One last prediction that goes hand-in-hand with the comfort trend:  look for colors over the next few years to be more “shaded”—not necessarily muddier colors (definitely NOT), but softly shaded by adding a touch of black or gray to a color.  This softens and tones down the intensity of the color.  It’s a sign of the times that we, as consumers, are now becoming cautiously optimistic—and that mindset translates to the colors we will use.

So there you have the latest news from the world of color for interiors.  It’s all good news in that it revolves around practicality, efficiency, and authenticity, with a bit of romance added in for good measure.  Here’s wishing all of you a Happier New Year…

Color Marketing Group Predits Hot Color Trends For 2009

Choices Driven by Concern for Economy and Optimism for the Future

What colors are in store for us in 2009? According to Color Marketing Group, the top choices have been influenced by both our concern for the economy and our optimism about the future.

Color Marketing Group, the leading international non-profit association of color design professionals, has been accurately predicting color trends for more than 45 years. CMG predicts more evolution than revolution in color trends for the coming new season.

“We’re finding comfort in colors that are familiar, and yet, at the same time, we’re embracing colors that make us happy — especially as accents,” said executive director, Jaime Stephens. “Everyone’s concerned about the economy, yet the spirit of the country coming together after the election is powerfully reflected in these choices.  Also, the demand for colors and products that reflect an environmentally ‘greener’ world goes way beyond a trend. It’s now ‘a given.’ “

According to CMG, look for these color trends in 2009:

Purple, Purple, Purple! – Emerging as a hot fashion color last fall, purple is not just a fad — it’s an entrenched trend, strongly influenced by the election. (After all, red plus blue equals purple.)  Look for a greyed-out violet that works equally well as an accent or a neutral, as well as redder, plummier purples and bluer-influenced fuchsias in a huge range of products.  Purple is 2009’s “must have” color.

Blue is the New Green – Various greens have symbolized “green living” over the last few years, but in 2009 the “green” environmental message is delivered by the color blue. There are watery blues, sky blues and a whole range of blues that now represent our commitment to living on a greener planet.

Cooled-down, Greyed-out Browns and Greys – Complex neutrals satisfy our urge toward classic colors in an economically challenged time. They also bridge the area between black, which seems harsh, and brown, which doesn’t seem strong enough.

Yellow for Energy – The neutrals may have greyed, but look for lots and lots of bright vivid yellow to give us energy as we re-build the economy.  It’s the stand-out accent color for 2009.

Bright Accents from India, China, and Turkey – The exotic has become the familiar. Oranges, turquoises and teals, reds, and yellows will abound in hues from far-away countries that now seem very near. They are the optimistic touches we crave.

White is now a Business Color – Technology has produced amazing new (and very practical) finishes, which helps explain why white is showing up everywhere, even in corporate board rooms. The contrasts are all in the finishes: matte versus gloss; shine and shimmer on reflective surfaces; textured whites versus smooth — all washable and cleanable. White also represents purity of thought, motive and result – exactly what we want from businesses now.

The Return of the “M” Word – It’s mauve. Remember mauve?  An old color that looks new again, in dusty violet shades, mauve works as an accent but also serves now as a neutral, punched up by those bright Asian accents (orange, turquoise, teal, red, and yellow.)

About Color Marketing Group

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: