Colour of the year – Pantone or Dulux?

Last month Pantone announced their Colour(s) of the year 2016 with Rose Quartz and Serenity. At London Design Festival 2015, Dulux announced Cherished Gold as their Colour of the year 2016. But what does this really mean for brands and should they take notice? Lets have a look at both organisations and their colour predictions.

 

Marsala was Pantone’s Colour of the year 2015 and it was a bit of a Marmite colour; you either loved it or hated it. Opinion was split on this “naturally robust and earthy wine red” in all sectors from fashion to design. That said the months of December 2014 and January 2015 saw enough blogs, opinion pieces, features and articles to fill many pages of links on Google (I got as far as page 29 and I know there are many more). Photographers quickly jumped to create shoots based on the colour, beauty brands released Marsala eye shadows, bloggers created posts on the colour and editorial teams chased PR contacts for images of Marsala coloured products. The pick up in homes and lifestyle was lower and the same could be said for Pantone’s previous Colour of the year Radiant Orchid; neither the 2014 or 2015 colours were developed and adopted into the ranges of our home interest clients. In contrast, the Pantone 2016 colours of Rose Quartz (a “Warmer embracing rose tone”) and Serenity (a “Cooler tranquil blue”) are being well received by our clients, with both colours serendipitously in the planning for 2016 for some.

 

Back in September 2014, Dulux launched Copper Blush as their Colour of the year 2015 and there is no denying that copper was everywhere across interior design in 2015. Whether Dulux was the forecaster responsible for the huge pick-up and development of copper coloured products is questionable as it surfaced at some fashion, lifestyle and home interest brands back in 2014. At one point in late 2014 it seemed as if every metal fastening on every jacket, bag or shoe was copper coloured. Cherished Gold is Dulux’s Colour of the year 2016, as shown at their ColourFutures exhibit at Tent London during LDF in Sep 2015. The golden yellow “almost ochre colour” is very easy to live with and ties in with Dulux’s trend of looking forward and backwards in time, heritage and future in one go.

 

Despite the infamous scene in ‘Devil wears Prada’ where Meryl Steep’s character dresses down the protagonist (played by Anne Hathaway) for her dismissal of the influence of leading fashion designers in selecting a particular colour (in this case Cerulean blue), it is hard to attribute a colour’s success to one forecaster, organisation or influencer. Consumers will have a colour group in mind when they arrive at a brand, for example a colour that they will have decided upon because it is a colour they like, they have been inspired by something they have seen in print/online/in person or it links existing pieces they own together.

 

In terms of home interest, lets be honest, the more disposable the item, the more experimental consumers are going to be with colour (such as wallpaper, a lampshade, paint, cushion or a throw) but when it comes to buying larger less disposable items such as a kitchen, a fridge or an armchair, selecting a colour is more of a commitment. No wonder grey and cream are the biggest selling colours for kitchens and neutral colours for sofas and armchairs.

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