Color researchers from Clariant Masterbatches have seen the future and it's soft and understated, while also deeper and more complex.
Those are some of the influences identified in ColorForward 2010, the latest edition of the annual color trend analysis and design tool created by Muttenz, Switzerland-based Clariant, which has North American headquarters in Holden, Mass.
Major changes in the palette from 2009 include:
* Organic colors from 2009 become deeper and more complex, with beiges and browns coming into focus.
* Primary colors disappear.
* Yellow remains bright, but trends toward green.
* Blues become lighter and fresher.
* Reds move more toward pink; others become deeper, with coral red becoming popular.
* Purple trends toward violet and lilac.
Green is still there from 2009, but it's becoming more complex, Clariant ColorWorks designer Cristina Carrara said in a recent phone interview from Clariant's location in Merate, Italy. There are changes on the surface and in how we interact with the color.
For 2010, Clariant also has identified four sociological themes that will affect consumer color choices. Each theme is linked to five Clariant colors. The 2010 themes are:
* Reinventing Happiness, in which consumers respond to the precarious nature of life by creating a peaceful home environment. This includes the color Goldiva, a warm dark-chocolate brown.
* Tech It Easy, where society is more open to technology's ability to meet our needs.
* Embracing Gaia, using shapes, forms, functions, colors and visual effects drawn from Mother Nature.
* Age Shock, as older baby boomers continue to enjoy active lifestyles while young people look for ways to demonstrate their style and sophistication. Includes the color Transition, an energetic fuchsia.
Clariant also can work with processors to make sure colors work properly with various molds and effects, Carrara said.
As part of its ColorForward research, Clariant examines several years' worth of color matches and uses the information to confirm its predictions about what is likely to happen in color a year or more in the future. A color that suddenly appears without a lot of other matches around it on a color grid might be labeled an emerging color.
We are the world's largest producer of color masterbatches, so color is our asset, said Norzihan Aziz, head of Clariant ColorWorks Singapore.
We're plotting every color match we have made over the last several years, which adds up to well over a million, she explained. By looking at it systematically, there are trends that become apparent.
There are broad color trends, and we can also incorporate nuances from cultural and regional trends. Most trends go by feelings, and fashion can go by who shouts the loudest.
Clariant's historical database can be divided by market segment and by geography to give customers a more detailed look at how color is being used.
Work on the 2011 program already has begun, Aziz added.
Clariant produces color masterbatches at more than 50 sites worldwide. The parent firm employs about 20,000 and had 2008 sales of $7 billion.