Color trends are all around us. They affect the clothes we wear, the furniture we buy, and the way we decorate our homes. Some colors may be popular year after year, but they eventually move on. You've probably seen a bathroom with some pink and black tile that was popular in the 1950s, and you hoped it was ironic.
After reviewing remodeling trends for 5+ years, I thought it would be fun to review color trends after discovering Pantone's 2018 Color of the Year, Ultra Violet. Pantone defines the colors used by printers (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Key (black)).
Who Determines Color Trends?
Who decided that Ultra Violet gets to be 2018's “Color of the Year?” Who's allowed to have that much power? Apparently, it's not just one person, company, or group that determines color trends. Color is an integral part of pretty much every industry. The color industry is led by the Color Marketing Group (CMG) – I had no idea, did you? CMG holds meetings around the world to address regional and local color differences. In other words, color trends on the east coast are probably going to be different from those on the west coast.
Color trends are also determined by technology (now more than ever). Computers and smart phones are able to adapt and deliver color faster than anything else – faster than printed material, clothing, or furnishings. Retailers like Crate & Barrel or Pottery Barn influence color choices through their ads, store displays, and the products we buy for our homes. Magazines and catalogs continue to influence us through ads. (Although what I found interesting was no mention of TV advertising…)
Where Do Color Trends Start?
Color trends start with fashion. From there, the colors trickle down to other things, like interior design. Commercial design trends lag behind residential design when it comes to color. Big companies need to work for larger groups of people rather than a single person.
I was also somewhat surprised to see that color trends start in fashion. I see pictures of high end fashion shows and just imagine these people blending into ridiculous homes that match their ridiculous outfits. On the less drastic side, I see somebody in their home with a shirt that matches the throw pillows on their couch.
Can Color Trends Influence Our Lives?
The color around you plays a bigger role in your life than you might imagine. While the list below is not complete, it paints a picture of the ways in which color can impact our lives:
- Color carries and connects our history and values of past generations.
- Color guides us towards the future.
- Color is being influenced by environmentally responsible and sustainable design, emphasizing the natural color.
- Color theory is becoming more important, with trends focusing on how and why different color hues are used versus single colors.
- There are significant differences in color choices between individuals, there are also general color trends across different cultures.
- An individual's experience with objects will influence how they feel about the colors of the objects.
The (outdated) tradition of pink for girls and blue for boys started in the 1950s. There are lots of theories as to why this is – before this, boys wore pink and girls wore blue. This shows that color trends are subject to external influences, whatever they may be. What's more interesting is that men and women respond not just to the color, but to the name of the color. If you think that's cool, you'll find this article, His And Hers Colors: Men, Women, And Two Thousand Color Names, fascinating!
Can Color Trends Influence Our Emotions?
It is a pretty well-known fact that the reason so many restaurants are painted red is because the color red can make you hungry. Many people paint their bedrooms blue because blue can have a calming effect. The psychology behind color is intriguing. If you want to know more, either one of these articles is great: Color Psychology: the Emotional Effects of Colors or Color or Color: the Psychology of Color.