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 will the next big trends come from? The answer is everywhere.
We look to the influencers, the change makers, the leaders in art, fashion, and design. From familiar industry voices to new and noteworthy influencers, we observe shifts, changes, movements in not only design but also nature, the economy, science, travel, technology, culture, and beyond. We live in a time where color runs deep—every color has a story, a past, and a future.
As we turn our attention to 2017, the developing color trends transcend the hues themselves to spin stories of intricate detail, texture, gloss, softness, and sheen. These mesmerizing stories feed our passion. These stories drive our love of color and delight our souls.
With optimism at the forefront, we ask ourselves, Are we missing out on the benefits of healthy pessimism? Enigma delves into the positive outcomes and creative solutions that emerge from embracing darkness, working through problems, even accepting melancholy. This path is one of bittersweet beauty, where darkness and death are no longer taboo, where blurred boundaries between night and day, light and dark, offer a dramatically different viewpoint.
”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.“
With this trend, we embrace 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 refocused and we seek perspectives beyond ourselves, the role of good design is evolving. Design’s contribution as a driver of positive change is increasingly recognized and expected. Purpose and point of view play a bigger role now 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 links traditional hues of saddle brown and dark celadon as sophisticated, directional tones. Pale pastels of chalky pink and dusty blue are intensified 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 create interest and balance.
How is technology shaping us, and how are we shaping technology? Convergence explores the melding of 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 our environments is a central theme.
“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 emerge for the digital age with essentials of warm greige and teal blue, polished by rose dust and flashes of gold. Sultry shades of red, both scarlet and coral; saturated billiard green; and a smoky blue complete this telling tale. Depth and dimension come into play with finishes of interest, including varnished and high gloss, as well as brushed, powder-coated, and metallic foiling.
In a time increasingly lived through screens, is our urge to connect with nature becoming more ingrained? This outlook is driven by a need to experience nature for ourselves, to see the world through the eyes of animals, to tap into something wilder. Our perspective of the planet will shift between microscopic and macroscopic views, and color will be even more meaningful, with a tangible, physical quality that will stabilize 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 and more expect items to be as real and earthy as the experiences they choose.
Texture, touch, and tactility are at the heart of this lifestyle.
Wood, leather, and textiles, like clay, bring rich warmth 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 be in the know.