A First Look at the Captivating Color Trends Set to Steal the Scene in 2017
As designers, innovators, and creators, color is our passion. Color is our muse. We’re always watching, waiting, anticipating what’s new, what’s next. Where do we look for the latest trends? The answer is everywhere.
We seek out the influencers, the change makers, the leaders in art, fashion, and design. From established industry voices to up-and-coming influencers, we observe shifts, changes, movements in not only design but also nature, the economy, science, travel, technology, culture, and beyond. We live our lives in a color-filled world—every color has a story, a past, and a future.
Looking ahead to 2017, the emerging color trends focus on more than the hues themselves to spin stories of intricate detail, texture, gloss, softness, and sheen. These mesmerizing stories feed our passion. Stories like these drive our love of color and captivate our souls.
With so much positive thinking in the world, we ask ourselves, Are we missing out on the benefits of healthy pessimism? Enigma explores the positive outcomes and creative solutions that emerge from embracing darkness, working through problems, even accepting melancholy. We embrace this bittersweet beauty, where darkness and death are no longer taboo, where blurred boundaries between night and day, light and dark, give us a wildly different perspective.
”Unsettling romanticism prevails here for this poetic and mysterious style direction, with a dreamlike quality underpinned by a sharp, dramatic edge,” explained Carolyn Ames Noble, ASID, Pratt & Lambert® Paints color forecaster. “Textural and visual depth becomes key, with color, surface, and pattern merging together through layered styling, sculpted dimensional fabrics, ghosted prints, and encapsulated textures. Decoration takes a more divine path with tumbled semiprecious stones and heady midnight florals, providing an intoxicating blend of glamour and deep, mysterious color.“
The focus with this trend is on deep tones of lapis blue, oxblood red, viridian green, and pewter gray that provide a directional palette, which, when paired with glints of precious lilac, citrine yellow, tourmaline pink, and wine red, creates an unmistakable sense of bittersweet beauty. Crystal and glass; luxe velvets, silks, and viscose; and warm metals, like bronze and copper, provide ideal complex complements.
How will designers respond to an era in which we expect design to not just be good but also do good? As values are redefined and we seek perspectives beyond ourselves, the role of good design is evolving. Design’s contribution to positive change is increasingly recognized and expected. Purpose and point of view matter now more than ever before.
“As the world grows denser and resources more scarce, industrial production comes under the lens,” Noble explained. “Its offcuts become the ground for new material developments as waste is mulched, rebounded, and blended into softly colored, new tactile items. Mass customization will evolve into design on demand. Products will be commissioned and specified by the consumer so that they come into being at the precise moment that they’re required.”
Playing off these new standards and expectations of sustainability and waste-less purpose, this trending colorway brings together traditional hues of saddle brown and dark celadon as sophisticated, directional tones. Pale pastels of chalky pink and dusty blue are enlivened by saturated turquoise and grounded by off-black. Accents of natural wood; steel, aluminum, and oxidized copper; wool and felt; and unfinished concretes, glazed terra cottas, and clays provide a measured relevance.
How is technology shaping us, and how are we shaping technology? Convergence explores the interplay between the real and the virtual, the restrained and the opulent, the past and the modern, creating an updated style perfect for a digital world. The interplay between technology, humans, and the environments we inhabit is a key idea.
“Within this trend, there is also a strong influence from the cosmetic world, as interiors mimic the warm tactility, the sensory focus, and the softness of beauty-and-wellness spaces,” Noble said. “Retro references also remain important, especially those from the late 1970s, driving tactile pairings, glamorous accents, and color-and-material blocking.”
In this palette, new classics originate for the digital age with essentials of warm greige and teal blue, polished by rose dust and glimmers of gold. Sultry shades of red, both scarlet and coral; saturated billiard green; and a smoky blue complete this telling tale. Depth and dimension are added with finishes of interest, including varnished and high gloss, as well as brushed, powder-coated, and metallic foiling.
With our lives increasingly lived through screens, is our longing to commune with nature becoming more ingrained? This perspective is driven by a need to experience nature head-on, to behold the world around us through the eyes of animals, to tap into something wilder. Our perspective of the planet will oscillate between microscopic and macroscopic views, and color will take on new significance, with a tangible, physical quality that will ground us.
“The way we see nature and relate to it is changing, partly influenced by new perspectives on our planet,” Noble said. “This new empathy is manifesting itself in a number of interesting ways. The call of the outdoors grows stronger, as people reevaluate their connection with nature. Wild adventures and excursions become important for social and solo experiences, whether it’s an afternoon hike or a more extreme immersion into the wild.“
With this trend, natural materials, ingredients, and textures will shape product design and lifestyle choices as consumers more often than not expect items to be as real and earthy as the experiences they take part in.
Texture, touch, and tactility form the bedrock of this lifestyle.
Wood, leather, and textiles, like clay, give a warm richness to interiors. Here, woody browns and forest greens pair easily with dusk blue, clay red, saffron yellow, and spiced pumpkin, which work together as complementary contrasts to berry purple and deep evergreen.
What’s next in the world of color? Stay tuned for next month’s big Color of the Year unveiling by Pratt & Lambert. Subscribe to our Design in Color exclusive emails and never miss a thing.