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Our Thinking

Colour of the Year (2013)

Have you ever walked into a mall and it seemed every store had the same colour blouse scarf, cushion or chair? Why do all of a sudden you seem to see the same colour everywhere? In reality, world event, shape the colours we connect with. A popular sporting event, a new cuisine, people’s status, new films, new exhibits all influence what the next hot colour will be.

For example in the ’80s the colour of the decade was black. Black has always been associated with elegance, expensive, strength and power. Think of black limos, black tie affairs etc. People were living well and were willing to pay for more expensive things. That’s when MAC cosmetics came to be. They revolutionized the makeup industry with their all-black packaging. Being a trend doesn’t mean that it will date though. MAC’s makeup packaging still looks just a good today as it did in the 80s

In early 2000 I was at a seminar with Leatrice Eiseman, the Executive Director of the Pantone Institute. She proclaimed the next hot colour would be brown, but don’t just call it brown, oh no, it’s chocolate brown. Why chocolate brown? Coffee houses were becoming so popular that it was influencing the appeal of the colour. Soon after, everything seemed to be a deep shade of brown – like chocolate. Brown suits, pillow cushions, and dark wood floors became the norm. In the baby industry, pairing brown with pinks, baby blues and mint green gave the warmth and sophistication of the item.

Later in the decade, the environment was on top of everyone’s mind so the obvious colour of the moment was green, the classic environmental colour. Lime green paired with cyan blues gave it even more of an environmental feel.

Now as technology has sped up our daily lives, colour seems to come and go much faster. In 2010, the colour of the moment was turquoise. In 2011, it was honeysuckle, a red-pink shade. In 2012 it was tangerine tango, a reddish-orange shade. It seemed this colour was be found everywhere last summer. The reason for the Pantone Institute declaring Tangerine Tango the colour of the moment was that people needed encouragement and positivity and were therefore drawn to much more vibrant shades.

For 2013, Pantone has selected Emerald green as it’s colour of the year. They combed the world to see what colours were predominating. The clues are in furnishings, interiors, textiles, tiles, ceramics, glassware, store windows, graffiti and the runway. They found top designers incorporating the hue into their collection. It is now showing up in high-end jewellery, eye shadow, nail polish. Emerald promotes brilliance and harmony, it’s the colour of growth, new life and provides a sense of clarity and rejuvenation. Now that you think of it, haven’t you been seeing this colour everywhere lately?

The good thing about colour is that it’s much more timeless than a fashion trend such as bellbottom jeans. With the exception of fluorescent shades, if you are caught wearing last year’s shade of yellow, you won’t look out of place. Colours are much more forgiving than other types of trends.

If you look at your brand (personal or corporate), what colours are used and what do they say about you?