ARE COLOUR TRENDS CHILDS PLAY?
June 2017 | ROZ MORGAN
There are a fair number of people that will tell you that colour trend forecasting is about as realistic as this little guy’s dream of being a pilot. Many will tell you it is a lot of hocus pocus. Well actually it isn’t.
Every year I host a Colour Trend Forecasting Workshop in Toronto. This is part of the North American Chromazone series for Color Marketing Group. (CMG). CMG is a 55 year old color organization supported by colour professionals who choose colour for product, including cars, appliances, sports equipment, fabric, paint, print and anything else you can think of that involves colour. Throughout the year Chromazones happen in different parts of Canada and the United States. In September all the results of these Chromazones are brought together at the head office in Washington. A representative from each Chromazone becomes part of a steering committee. They choose from the over 160 colours the 16 colours that will become the North American Pallete two years in the future. This also happens in Europe, Asia and South America.
You can see in the picture above that there are strong simularities in the colours. The differences can be quite subtle but it is not unusual for different Chromazones to pick many colours that are similar and those of us on the steering committee are often amazed at how close our stories and colours are.
So what happens at a colour trend workshop?
Each person is expected to bring three stories that they see as strong trends. Last year our conversations revolved around technology and our need to find balance and changing social structures. Each person brings colour chips and explains how these stories will affect colour. We talk about colours we are seeing now and how those colours will shift or transition. People are not going to throw out all their brown couches because we say brown is out and gray is in.
Someone takes Post it notes on the points that are discussed and they are posted to a board. Presentations are limited to 10 minutes or else we would never get out of the room. Once everyone has told there stories and explained their colour choices, their colour chips are placed on a table with everyone elses.
Then we sort all the points into three main trend stories and we build our stories. Colours do not mean anything without the stories to support them. Colours just don’t happen without the WHY! Once we are satisifed with the stories then we pick the colours that speak to the stories. All the colours are put in their colour families and 16 are chosen to go to Washington for the North American Pallete steering committee.
All the colours must be named and there must be a written description of each colour and its significance to the trend storey. The colours are also given We must also include a photograph that shows the colour and gives meaning to the stories. It is a long day and a lot of hard work.
At the International conference we are given these fandecks. These were the palletes for 2016 for Europe, North America, Asia and South America.
So I imagine you are wondering how I get my information and why I think this is important.
As a designer I feel it is my responsibility to give my clients the most up to date information on products and colours for the home and office. Technology is changing all aspects of the home and by attending design shows all over the world and sharing information on trend forecasting I feel that my knowledge can help them make the best decisions. There is too much to learn in a vacume and so being part of Color Marketing Group, I get to rub shoulders with people who are making major decision on what colours you will be buying in the next few years.
We would like to think that we are independant of trends and that ultimately we choose what we like but, the reality is that we are influenced by what we see and what is available in the market place when we go out to purchase. I don’t want my clients to buy a trendy couch because, it will not last more than a few years …. but I do want the cushions and accessories to keep that couch on trend so that it looks fresh and new.
I will talk more about trends in the next little while.
If you would like to spec the right colour for your products, call me or email me. email@example.com or 416-577-4944