COLOURS OF THE FUTURE
With 2008 coming to a close, brand owners must look ahead to the colour palettes that will make the biggest splash with consumers.
October 1, 2008 by Umair Abdul, Assistant Editor
Last year, colorant suppliers predicted that earthy palettes would dominate 2008, and brand owners would synchronize their colour choices with the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.
For 2009, however, colour forecasters are painting a very different picture. “Ecofriendly” colour choices and Asian influences are still strong, but colorant suppliers are predicting that these trends will be interpreted in a very different way.
THE NEW FACE OF ECO
Environmentally friendly or “green” products are still all the rage with consumers, but earthy palettes aren’t as strong for 2009.
“I believe that there is always an opposing trend,” explained Cristina Carrara, ColorWorks Designer for Clariant Masterbatches. “As soon as you think you are seeing too much in the organic palettes, you start to see something that is very different. People need that contrast, they seek a balance in things.”
Linda Carroll, colour insight manager for Tarrytown, N. Y.-based Ampacet, noted that the company’s 2009 Eco-Centric palette provides a very different take on eco-minded colours. Last year, the palette included colours like Organic Green, a natural green colour with yellow and earthy brown undertones.
“For the first time, we saw an expression of colour that wasn’t just the organic values of earth, but one of peaceful tranquility,” she explained.
For 2009, the company’s Eco-Centric palette includes Boundless Brown, Motile Mint, Pragmatic Pewter and Gaia Green, all of which are slightly brighter and bolder than previous palettes.
Additionally, Clariant’s Carrara predicts that there will be a big trend toward beige and wood-like colours, particularly because of the growing popularity of matte finishes.
Across the board, colorant suppliers are recommending colour choices that are slightly bolder, brighter and more saturated. Carroll notes that consumer markets are slowly transitioning out of a period of great uncertainty and change, which significantly influences current colour trends.
“You see a timid expression of colour when change is occurring, followed by a bolder expression of colour,” she explained. “People are always looking to zig when the market is zagging, and one way to do that is a minimal level of shock value, something that awakens the senses.”
Duality and Mosaic, two of the four societal trends that are a part of Clariant’s ColorForward 2009, feature vibrant and saturated choices.
Mosaic, for instance, features strong saturated hues including All Night Long dark blue, Pumpking orange, and Leaping Leprechaun green. The Duality family includes brilliant, vibrant colours and contrasting light and neutral shades, including a very light blue/green called Isis and a glossy fuchsia called Lolita. Other colours in the group include Insomnia, a mysterious blue/purple, and Bosporus Dusk, a neutral light blue/lilac.
“We see very vivid and positive colours, becoming popular but also some tinted tones and also blue hues that expresses comfort and wellness,” noted Carrara.
Similarly, Ampacet forecasts that several bright, vibrant shades will come to the forefront. The company’s Societal Complexion palette includes the Restless Raspberry purple, a bright Tumultuous Tourmaline blue, the saturated Pivotal Pink, and Orange-Aid.
ALL EYES ON ASIA
The Olympics may have come and gone, but the North American fascination with Asian culture will continue to play a role in colour choices for 2009. Global Repositioning, one of the societal trends from this year’s ColorForward, acknowledges the growing influence of Asian traditions and cultures.
“Moving forward for 2009, we will still have all eyes on China because of its rapid growth and sustainability issues,” noted Carrara. “It’s a very strong theme that will increase in popularity as more and more people become conscious about the impact and responsibilities that come with economic expansion.”
But the Asian influences aren’t limited to China. Carrara also believes that enhanced cross-cultural connections made possible by the Internet and modern communications media have opened the door to the dynamism of other Asian cultures.
“There is a lot of energy in Asia, especially in China and also in India,” she said. “As their markets are growing and their cultures gain visibility, the cross cultural impact will spread.”
LOOKING BEYOND 2009
Brand owners who are keeping their eye on colour trends beyond 2009 should keep their eyes on turquoise and watery blues, as well as brown colours. Carrara notes that blue colours are the most widely popular in the world. Blues generally have positive overtones but these watery expressions fit well in a new natural palette.
Also, Carrara predicts that coral colours will gain favour in consumer markets.
“Dusty antique rose colours and coral colours are warm, naturual colours,” she noted. “And, because coral itself is considered a semi precious stone that is becoming more and more rare because of pollution, we believe it provides an alternative to green for customers who want to follow an ecology theme.”
Ampacet Canada Co. (Kitchener, Ont.); www.ampacet.com;800-265-6711
Clariant Masterbatches Division (Toronto); www.clariant.masterbatches.com;800-265-3773