Shutterstock.com e-mailed me a link to their first blog post about colour trends. I’ve been interested in colour ever since my early days of working in the home décor industry, as Product Marketing Manager for a well-known wallcoverings company.
I’m familiar with the gorgeous colour prediction guides you can purchase (at significant cost) to help designers navigate the mysteries of future colour trends in the worlds of home interiors and fashion. The idea is to find out what’s going to be happening several seasons ahead: early enough to do something about it – no mean feat, given the long lead times of some projects.
I’ve always wondered how far the very existence of colour trend forecasting creates a kind of self-fulfilment for their prophecies or whether it can be true that creatives all naturally tune into some kind of collective, pervasive inspiration.
I’ve wondered about Pantone’s colour of the year too – especially as my sweetheart religiously paints it on a large, round wooden deck in his garden soon after it’s announced (I’m not joking). This year it’s radiant orchid.
So I found the Shutterstock analysis interesting, particularly as it relates to what’s actually happening now, rather than the uncertainties of the future. I didn’t find the colour trends they highlighted surprising in themselves – greens and blues, with a touch of lilac, orange and red. Colours you could imagine working well with the flat design that’s so popular at the moment.
What struck me most was how strange it was that the colour families popular in their four top countries, America, Germany, Brazil and the UK, looked so broadly similar. All my experience of international product marketing screamed that this just doesn’t usually happen. Colour trends don’t seem to work like that. It would be so much easier if they did.
My training and experience all lead me to question facts that I’m presented with. I can’t help wondering if the information is somehow being skewed.
Or are we saying the internet and the popularity of flat design has somehow made the graphic design industry global, not regional? If so, is there any real significance in publishing national trends?
Shutterstock have taken it a step further by saying that in all four countries the identical red hex colour is trending. I have great respect for the company, and feel sure that this is something they can show evidence for, but something feels wrong.
I’m sorry, but asking me to believe in the sneaky, world domination of #c04040 is a step too far for me.
If you’d like to learn a lot more about the science of hex colour, here’s a useful link.
If you’ve got any thoughts on what I might be missing, please let me know.