Color Forecasting for 2013

Color Forecasting for 2013

Mark Chamberlain
Jan 18, 2013

January at last! Time to compare notes on what the experts are saying is the next big thing in color.

But first, let's check last year's predictions. Every autumn I get a barrage of PR predicting color trends for the coming season, and this usually makes me pull a face. In collating this information for 2012 last year, I noticed several predictions: orange (New Age not 70's dishwasher), taupe, and neon.

How did we do? Orange: didn't really notice it at all. Neon: check, and everywhere (bikes, shoes, dresses, shoelaces, windbreakers and dog leashes). Taupe: check, as in taupe with yellow (not my thing). Also, this was the year of the Chevron.

This year I'm reading about several things. Pantone, the index of color that relates universally across all design industries, anointed Emerald (17-5641 TCX) the color for 2013. Sherwin Williams, too, named a green — Aloe (SW 6464), a little cooler and lighter. So far we're feeling green.

Benjamin Moore names Lemon Sorbet 2019-60, a pretty common pale yellow, I think indicating on their part that after our Neon Summer we'll cool off a bit next year. Perhaps, but in my mind there's nothing special or "trendy" about it — not like neon or chevron, and I'm having trouble picturing any significant trickle down effect from this suggestion. Lastly, Farrow&Ball goes in a completely different direction by naming four different colors of the year, two off-whites (French Gray 18, Cornfirth White 228), a slate-like Stone Blue 86, and more significantly Black Blue 95, a sumptuous dark color that looks dramatic compared to other the other forecasts. F&B seems to suggest we're still in a "grey decade," something that I'm not opposed to.

But what do I think? I don't listen to industry press releases as much as I like to keep my ear to the ground regarding the fashion pages. Last fall, I seem to recall the following trends: strong geometry and graphic patterns, pattern on pattern, shape and extreme silhouette, Baroque baubles and lace, futuristic space age, and color blocking.

I'm not sure what that means for colors for interiors, other than I think textures and color combinations will mean more than single stand-out colors of the year. Also, has anyone ever noticed it's never the same colors named two years in a row, like cerulean and then lapis?

Send us your thoughts; any color predictions of your own for 2013?

(Images: 1. Joshua's 'Vintage Primary' Room, 2. Chips from paint companies, as linked.)

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