How do color trends develop? In the inaugural webinar for the ASID Partner Spotlight Series, experts from Pratt & Lambert Paints shared their picks for 2017 and the inside scoop on what influenced their palettes.
“It’s something we’re asked all the time,” explained Carolyn Noble, ASID, color and design manager for Pratt & Lambert Paints. “Where do these color trends come from? And the answer is everywhere.” For their 2017 forecast, Pratt & Lambert consulted with peers and industry icons in the design community as well as with experts in the sciences, mathematics, and augmented reality. They also followed trend sites, trade shows, and social, cultural, and political influencers.
Four stories emerged: Enigma, Purpose, Convergence, and Intrinsic. Each story is a different color palette named for its social and cultural influences.
Noble describes the Enigma collection as a bittersweet beauty. It explores the benefits that arise from accepting life’s lows and working through problems. Like a gothic novel, Enigma embraces the mystery and romance of the night. Solitude and self-reflection are underlying themes in this trend, as Noble noted a rise in solo travel and long excursions—particularly travel to remote destinations in the far north, such as Alaska, and isolated locations, like the Faroe Islands, that have seen little modernization.
“In an increasingly fast-paced, technology-saturated society, we are looking for moments of solitude,” says Noble. The Enigma palette is all about visual depth and creating interiors that are both luxurious and mysterious. It’s fueled by a mindful melancholy that blends frosty tones with moody grays and rich reds to create a dreamy palette with a dramatic edge.
Purpose was inspired by the movement to “do good.” As social responsibility continues to become a priority, consumers expect products to not only be good, but to do good. “The role of products is shifting,” says Noble. “We expect products to contribute to the greater good and to be a force for positive change.” As consumers look to spend with a perspective beyond themselves, values will be redefined.
Noble points to the adaptable spaces and tiny houses trends. As space continues to come at a premium, clients are looking to do more with less and design highly versatile living spaces. It’s not about the amount of square feet, but the experience created in the space. There is a new definition of luxury. Sophisticated yet simple, Purpose blends weightless colors with whites to create spaces that are customizable, mixing in unique blues and greens to create texture and earth tones as a tip of the hat to the artisan movement.
The interplay between humans, technology, and the environments we inhabit is the central theme of this trend. Convergence explores the interchange between the real world and the virtual. Noble cited as an example the debut of the Aura interactive music and light experience by Philips. Aura is an emotionally responsive lighting system that senses motion and adjusts the users’ sound and lighting scheme accordingly. It provides an ever-changing reflection of the operators’ mood. As technology continues to integrate into every aspect our lives, we expect the real world to be as personalized as the virtual.
With the line between real and virtual eroding, so are long-standing social identifiers. Identity is much more fluid. With an increased focuses on health and wellness, our perceptions of body types and beauty are evolving. The Convergence palette is about design adapting to this fluidity. There is a greater focus on form and function with 1970s retro references. Corals, earthy mustards, and ocean blues are paired with contemporary grays and bold reds to create new color classics.
In a counterpoint to the Convergence trend, Intrinsic is all about our need to move away from technology, connect with nature, and see the world firsthand. The ideas of “global citizenship” and travel are part of the Intrinsic theme, with more focus on wild travel and outdoor excursions. As people become more attuned to the importance of connecting with nature, Noble predicts we’ll see a rise in biophilic design for the home as well as an increase in consumer awareness of materials choices and product lifecycles.
“In a world increasingly lived through screens, our urge to connect with nature is becoming more visceral,” says Noble. “Color will have a new importance, with a tangible, physical quality that will ground us.” Wood, leather, and clay bring warmth to interior spaces. This palette is rich with vibrant purple and blue, blended with warm earthy tones and golden yellows.
Watch the full webinar to learn more about color forecasting and 2017 predictions. The next ASID Partner Spotlight Webinar will take place on September 7 at 1 p.m. Hosted by Sherwin-Williams, it will focus on “Specifying Coatings in Your Designs.” Register online for the September webinar.
About the Author
Rebecca Sparenberg is the Senior Web Marketing Associate for the American Society of Interior Designers. She graduated from Georgetown University with a MA in Communications, Culture, and Technology and has over a decade of experience in digital media. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.