colour & design surgery…do world events influence color trends?

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This is part of the colour & design surgery series, answering questions from clients and readers.

Question: “Do world events influence color trends?”
– reader, Ke Robinson.

Answer: Great question. World events absolutely influence colour trends. It is one of the many factors trend forecasters take into consideration when deciding on a colour palette.

Global colour trend forecasters and colour professionals from a variety of industry sectors collaborate to create biannual global colour trend palettes. This is normally twice a year spring/summer and autumn/winter.

When they’re creating the trend colour palette they look at a number of influencing factors such as economics, social, political, technology and environmental.

The process can mean a trends colour palette could take around three years from conception to entering the mainstream market, so the colour trends we see today are usually a reaction to these factors identified two to three years prior.

regional trend colours
A global trends colour palette will also contain country/regional specific accent colours, which take into account local influencing factors, including colours that hold  cultural significance.

There is nothing to stop a designer introducing a colour in reaction to an event that is happening right now, which could easily start a fad, micro or macro trend.

If you enjoyed reading this article, you may also like to read other articles in the colour & design surgery series.

Image from Global Color Research

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8 Responses to colour & design surgery…do world events influence color trends?

  1. Laura says:

    The mention of micro trend reminded me of the Tipping Point.
    Have you noticed any instances of where a micro colour trend started and then all of a sudden spread like wild fire?

    • admin says:

      Hi Laura,

      The colour that immediately springs to mind is lime green. There was only a hint of it in fashion, it proven popular and then we saw it creeping into interior accessories. Each season I see it more widely available…. if the popularity continues it could become a staple colour like we’ve seen with turquoise.

  2. Keren Lerner says:

    I wonder if the economic downturn had anything to do with the colour blocking trend – ie people needed cheering up! Fascinating!

    • admin says:

      Hi Keren,
      you’re spot on. One of the trends to come out of the economic downturn are the bright colours – as colour is an easy way to inject the feelings of happiness, optimism. Another one is upcycling, recycling. Another is personalisation – improve not move. All trends from the same event i.e. economic downturn but coming from different perspectives.

  3. This explains why some colours are so hot on the catwalks at certain times. I never did understand why all the designers would be using the same colour at the same time!

    • admin says:

      Trends forecasting is big business. There are a number of companies who are dedicated to this very specific aspect of colour.

  4. David Sneen says:

    Hi Karen,

    I was tickled to read your guest post on Alicia’s blog, about the color blue being used by the leaders. I have never thought of myself as an expert in decorating, but a deep blue background seemed right for my blog.

    Thanks for the vote of confidence!

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