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Taupe paint colour in bedroom
US paint company Sherwin-Williams chose taupe as 2017 colour of the year

Colour trends and forecasting: the colour of 2017

Several institutions publish forecasts about colour trends for the coming seasons, to be used by industry designers when creating their product ranges, from interiors, to clothes fashion, cars and websites.

These institutes consult international colour specialists and come up with colour selections and palettes, predicting what will be fashionable and on-trend up to two years ahead of the retail selling season. As part of the process they often also announce a colour of the year – this is the most newsworthy aspect of their work, and usually gets plenty of media coverage.

The main colour predictors are the Pantone Colour Institute, and the Akzo Nobel Global Aesthetic Centre (Dulux). There are also four or five large independent style agencies, and several paint companies also choose their colours of the year.

Dulux Denim Drift palette

Dulux have chosen Denim Drift (above) as the colour for 2017, which they have developed into a palette of blues which they say represents the times we life in.

Pantone Greenery

Pantone have gone for a soft mid-green Greenery for 2017. They emphasize that this is not the colour of envy, but about connecting with nature and community.

After being criticised last year for promoting Alabaster, an ivory white, as colour of the year 2016 (in other words not a proper ‘colour’ at all), US paint manufacturer Sherwin-Williams have announced Poised Taupe for 2017 - a cosy colour bringing a sense of sanctuary and hygge, the currently fashionable Danish term for comfort and cosiness (see picture at the top of this article).

Shadow paint colour

Benjamin Moore were also mocked last year for Simply White, their colour for 2016. This year they have gone to the opposite extreme, with Shadow, a rich blue-purple (above).

Interiors blog Apartment Therapy has written a comprehensive round up of 2017 Colours of the Year according to the paint companies.

Colour predictions are not restricted to interiors: back in 2016 Pantone also published the colour palettes for clothes fashion that will appear shortly on the Spring 2017 catwalk.

It is obviously helpful for the many companies that make the goods that go to make up our lifestyles to have some pointers in order to remain fashionable and in demand, and they may need a two to three year timespan to adjust their production facilities. The style agencies don’t just produce colour palettes, but also trend and inspiration books, catching the motifs, fabrics, moods and keywords for each palette of colours. Pantone says their colour experts:

…comb the world looking for new colour influences from the entertainment industry and films in production, traveling art collections and new artists, popular travel destinations, as well as new lifestyles, playstyles and socio-economic conditions and more.

The resulting trend books are expensive and the general public can’t access them on the internet until they become only a description of the immediate future and current seasons.

Over to you

In earlier steps Sue Timney and Joa Studholme have both discussed how the economy and political environment inspire optimism and pessimism, in turn leading to colour trends that are cautious, or make us feel better, or celebrate good times.

  • Given what you’ve learned about colour forecasting this week, how would you approach a forecast for 2018? What factors would you take into consideration?

  • What colour would you choose for 2018?

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This article is from the free online course:

The Power of Colour

KLC School of Design