Color Forecasting: Orange & Gray

Color Therapy

At last, it's January, which means that everything old is new again; and that it's time to look ahead to what trend-spotters are calling the ones-to-beat this year in color forecasting. Perhaps we'll forecast a few of our own.Longtime readers of this column will remember that I mostly take this with a grain of salt; I try to parse what's being sold to us and to look either for ideas that I can steal outright or thumb my nose at.

I have a pile of press releases in front of me, and these things usually run along these lines: color of the year; or colors of the year by grouping, such as urban, ethnic and natural. But let's back up a bit and say — if I have my ear properly to the ground — that we're in times of austerity. Colors across the fashion/print/art/iPod spectrum the last year or two seem to represent conservatism (tweedy) or apostasy (neon).

The one thing that stands out in all this information so far is orange. It's not Safety Orange, not 70's orange, I'm not even sure it's the spicy orange I saw all over Paris trade shows three years ago. As per Pantone's color of the year 2012, it's both a jolt of inspirational energy, with a balancing hint of new-world synergy. Think dried orange peel or batik paprika you can use in your home, or lava.

The second thing that stands out is gray. The Naughties were a gray decade (sleek urban tweedy minimalist sophistication by way of Antwerp, not service elevator) and that seems to continue in these sharkskin colors that won't require a reboot in six months time. Add to this a couple of corals, traditional slate blues and a hold-out comfy brown, and you get the 2012 picture. I must say, I love the Sherwin Williams 2012 color wheel, though it seems more like a new restricted palette than a yearly forecast.

I see already that I may sign up for a Color Trends 2013 workshop, which makes me look askance — the whole world could be changed by the beating of a butterfly's wings before then. But this is mostly to the trade — those designers of iPhones need a long lead-time in producing technology for the next generation.

As for my simple self, I'm not a trend follower or setter, but I do have my antenna set to vibrate on this, lately: underwater blue or turquoise so dark it almost runs to black.

What about you?

Paint colors from this color forecast:

Pantone
Tangerine Tango 17-1463 TCX

Benjamin Moore
Wythe Blue HC-143, plus:
Montpelier AF-555, Amethyst Shadow, Stardust 2108-40, Nimbus Gray 2131-50, Sharkskin 2139-30, Storm Cloud Gray 2140-30, Revere Pewter HC-172, Ballet White OC-9, White Dove OC-17, Battenberg AF-70, Refined AF-75, Pashmina AF-100, Gypsy Love 2085-30 or Persimmon 2088-40, French Press AF-170, Masada AF-220, Farm Fresh AF-360, Dunmore Cream HC-29, and Fresh Olive 2149-30.

Sherwin-Williams:
Argyle (SW 6747), plus:
Red Bay (SW 6321)
Honorable Blue (SW 6811)
Bosc Pear (SW 6390)

Olympic Paints:
Root Beer C25-5
Indiana Clay A24-5
Colonial White C10-3
Wet Coral A28-5
Caruso A58-4

Farrow&Ball
Pigeon, Brassica, Railings and Babouche

(Images: 1: Mark Chamberlain, 2: Pantone, 3: Sherwin Williams, 4-8, Benjamin Moore, 9-10: Olympic Paints, 11-12, Farrow&Ball, 13: Mark Chamberlain)

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