“Each year the Benjamin Moore Color & Design team goes out to the world in search of future color trends,” said Hannah Yeo, Benjamin Moore color & design expert. “From design across all industries to cultural influences, the team looks at macro trends to understand how we live with color and which colors will be most impactful in the coming year. Through thousands of photos and months of discussion, the team selects colors that have a strong presence. These colors are then considered through the lens of paint to assure that the colors are relevant for years to come.”
“For a color to catch on and truly become a trend, it has to resonate with other décor and design trends, and it also has to reflect the current state and mood of society globally,” added Dee Schlotter, senior color marketing manager, PPG paint brand. “PPG recognizes that we influence trends as much as trends influence us, and our thoughtful approach to color forecasting represents and connects to consumer feelings and preferences.”
PPG’s paint colors are sold in more than 70 countries, so “developing color trends is a global, cross-cultural effort,” Schlotter noted.
“Collaboration between PPG’s more than 20 color experts generates a fact-based approach to color trends and consumer preferences, resulting in a unified voice on color direction,” she continued. “The company’s color stylists around the world specialize in industries that include consumer electronics, architectural, automotive and aerospace. PPG experts study consumer mindsets, building material trends, wellness preferences and more to select a curated color forecast that resonates and is reflective of current consumer attitudes and spans cultures, regions and markets.
For AkzoNobel, colors being their journey at the company’s design teams – who have been responsible for trend analysis, color & material research, color design and art direction for more than 25 years – according to Heleen van Gent, AkzoNobel’s head of Global Aesthetic Center.
“Each year, leading design professionals from all over the world are invited to come together to capture the mood of the moment, which is then translated into the annual color palettes,” van Gent said. “Trend research is a vital part of identifying the Color of the Year and the four trend palettes that bring it to life, and it plays a big role in helping AkzoNobel to meet the needs of its customers around the world. While trends are of major significance for the decorative paints market, the insight that is gathered is also highly relevant to the company’s coatings portfolio. For example, the Specialty Coatings business translates the annual trend research for customers in the consumer electronics and automotive markets. Meanwhile, color stylists at Wood Coatings use the information to offer on-trend color selections for product developers and designers in major markets such as furniture, cabinetry, flooring and building products.”
“I extensively research a range of subjects including science and technology trends, demographic shifts and trends, health and wellness trends, luxury trends, cultural shifts and lifestyle trends, food trends, marketing and brand trends and fashion,” added Sarah McLean, stylist and color expert for Dunn-Edwards.
How long does the process take?
“The whole process takes about a year to complete, but the team is constantly on the lookout for new color ideas,” Yeo said.
“The PPG Global Color Team converges at the beginning of each year to determine which color best represents current consumer mindsets,” Schlotter said.
“It’s a continual process but I dedicate a year for each trends launch,” McLean added.
In choosing a trend for this year, “We were struck by the stone facades of historical buildings in Europe with their subtle details and a presence of strength conveyed through time-worn materials and softness expressed through color,” Yeo said. “There was something strong, yet simple about these materials that influenced our color thinking, paired with an array of other design influences noted in our travels.
“In the architectural paint market, PPG’s global forecast not only resonates with the current consumer mindsets, but it also coordinates with trending materials such as textiles, wood, tile, cabinets, window frames and more,” said Schlotter. “The colors are brought to life through four color stories in 2019: With It, With Class, With Out and With Spirit.”
“We [also] observed a shift where quietude and a retreat from noise and chaos seemed to pervade the mood,” Benjamin Moore’s color & design expert continued. “There’s a need to pause and enjoy not only moments of quiet and tranquility, but also the small details that we may otherwise overlook when we are immersed in the hustle and bustle of the day. Our research signaled a balance between strength and softness, presented in a subtle yet powerful manner. While gray has been popular in the recent years, we focused on the undertone and nuanced quality of this color and its ability to reinvent gray to continue its relevance in the home for years to come.”
“For us, it’s all about translating the trends into the colors and finishes of everything that surrounds us – homes, furniture, consumer electronics, cars and buildings,” van Gent said. “People want their objects and spaces to connect from a color point of view, creating certain moods. Our beautiful, practical and harmonious palettes help make color choice for consumers and customers easy.
“Our latest trend research shows that people around the world are experiencing a renewed sense of energy, optimism and purpose,” she added. “We want to reach out, engage with others and make things better. Last year, many of us were left unsettled by global events, so we closed our doors to retreat and regroup. Now we feel ready to open our windows and let the light in.”
2020 and beyond
What will the next year – or decade, for that matter – bring in terms of trends?
The start of a new decade brings “a fresh start, time to recharge and renew goals and dreams for the new decade,” McLean said.
“A sense of identity is changing triggered by recent rebellions and generational changes brought on by Millennials and Gen Z with new understandings of personal identity, inclusivity and cultural ties,” she continued. “Science and tech advancements [will] enter a new level” and while a “lack of food and water plus climate change [will] create new problems,” it will allow for the “possibilities for unique, new solutions.”
“We’re seeing colors shift to be a bit brighter from where we’ve been over the past few years, but the hues are still generally very muted,” Schlotter said. “Blush colors with undertones of pink will continue to be an influence in 2020, as well as rich, earthy colors such as saffron and turmeric. We also see various shades of blue – from cobalt to deep, inky blues – making a big impact across various industries for the upcoming year.”
AkzoNobel will reveal its 2020 Color of the Year in September.
“We monitor consumer and customer lifestyles 24/7 at our Global Aesthetic Center near Amsterdam, and we are now finishing our 2020 trend work, so, the story continues,” van Gent said. “We know color and design can help give people the sense of protection, openness and exploration that they’re looking for. Our palettes inspire designers, but also help consumers make confident, on-trend color choices in creating just the right environment and mood, at just the right time.”
As for Benjamin-Moore, “We’re deep in our research for what’s next,” Yeo said. “Stay tuned…”