Shades of relationships in the color trends of 2017

Pink. Did you notice the cover? We wrapped the Contract & Hospitality Book – reading here – in a pink cover. And not just any shade, but Rose Quartz. It’s not a case that ColorForward 2016 had three pink colors in its forecasting. Let me explain.

We are talking about trends and specifically trends linked to the world of color: an extremely important aspect in the product design process. The importance of the right shade – and we will shortly discover what is defined as “right” – affects your perception of a product, the message that it is trying to communicate and the positive effects that it can produce. But the coronation of one or more colors by the trendsetter only comes after a long process of investigation and analysis that takes place much earlier – at least two years – drawing from the search engine of the world in its totality of innovations and attitudes.

Thus, the colors that will trend in 2017 have already been identified. And we know which ones they are. They will be revealed to us by a world expert in the field: Judith Van Vliet, Designer at ColorWorks Europe/IMEA (BU of Plastics & Coatings of Clariant) and Vice President of Communication & PR at Color Marketing Group. However, before they are shared with you, it is necessary to take a step back to understand how this palette of colors is determined. Yes, colors plural, because twenty colors have been identified by ColorWorks, which are brought to life by four different stories.

The driving forces behind these “stories” are the representatives of the five ColorWorks centers worldwide – Sao Paulo for Latin America, West-Chicago for North America, Merate for Europe and IMEA, Taiwan and Singapore for Asia Pacific – who meet every year for a five-day workshop that results in the ColorForward, their color forecasting guide. Four Stories, each identified and translated into 5 colors, define the content; Stories that are the focal point of research that encompasses every angle of lifestyle and innovation, and above all emerging global social movements. «We met last September in Chicago to discuss 2017 trends, but work began months earlier, participating in conferences about innovation and new technologies, following trendhunters in highly varied fields and visiting the great cities to experience not so much commercial areas, but developing spaces; we observe a lot of the young people, because they are the future and above all because they were born at a time of technology growth that allows them to adapt to changes in a way that we could never do», Judith tells us.

It is a very democratic process: among all the reports brought to the attention of the various ColorWorks centers, only four become a Story and thus a trend, but all the Regions – some more than others – must identify with it. This leads us to a fantastically creative moment – the choice of colors. «Depending on the trend that emerges, we attribute it five colors that give the trend its highest expression. It is certainly an emotive and emotional task, but it is ensured by our professionalism – we all have 11 years or more experience in the industry». And the statistics attest to their expertise: on average, their forecasts are 75% accurate and in the last two years this figure has even reached 85%.



first story. Delonelination

The name immediately identifies what it denotes: the increasingly widespread feeling of loneliness that pervades the world without geographical boundaries. Technology can be – paradoxically – one of the causes, creating distance, isolation and problems with interaction. Increasingly, people are working longer and living alone. Marketers in Asia, Europe and the US are starting to come up with the first answers to these signals. The colors, all combined with a symbolic name, convey this sense of loneliness and fragility: «The beige The side up, the color of porcelain, expresses the fragility of people who feel alone; the matt pink The Last taboo represents the anxiety of talking about loneliness, and instead the Chicago Blues conveys a sense of security – explains Judith – But there are also warm colors like brown and orange, which we called Einsamkeit isn’t right and

Hug the Duck, that represent the possible solutions to the problem, the desire for warmth and coziness, which can make us feel at ease. These colors in combination with soft materials such as suede, which is now making a great come-back, or velvet, convey the right sense of comfort».



second story. nebulove

An explosion of colors. It stems from the analysis of a trend that is still in its early stages, but is certainly important, especially in areas such as Latin America and Europe. The sphere is that of relationships, which are particularly varied in this day and age: relationships can be open, monogamous, serially monogamous, polyamorous, cohabiting; but you can also talk about “just friends” or even “happily single”. Importance lies in the fact that people seek deeper experiences and feelings than those that are traditional and conventional. Take polyamory, the most consensual love between adults, which today accounts for 4-5% of relationships, in other words, 10-12 million people. Or “singletude”, which today is celebrated with a day universally dedicated to it – Singles Day; a phenomenon developed to the point of already finding correspondence with the neologism “masterdating”, which means treating yourself well and taking care of your own needs. «There’s a restaurant in Japan – Moomin Café – where if you dine alone, you are provided with a stuffed animal for company». Unbelievable. So in terms of colors? «They range from Perky Star (close to magenta) to the more intense Serial emulsions; purple that we called Potpourri reloaded: like a mix of dried flowers, in polyamory there is a mix of people and characters. Honeymoons is interesting – plural because it plays on the meaning of various honeymoons. It is an amber, cognac color, another comfortable shade that alludes to the warmth of the house and the family, but at the same time a very serious color just like polyamory, which involves strong support and faithfulness between partners. Finally, a slightly more delicate color, May we have your number, which also plays on plurality: it is a very light pistachio color, which represents the beginning of the journey towards happiness». You have had a glimpse of the trends for 2017. You will have to wait for the Fall/Winter edition of the Book to find out about the missing colors and the two stories attached to them. But we leave you with a word of advice from the expert. «Interior design colors linked to Delonlination are certainly the most suitable for next year. The Nebulove palette of colors will be useful as accents to match with the previous, more subdued colors for those who want to be more daring».