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Pantone color forecasting
May 21, 2012 6:08 PM   Subscribe

Sneaking Into Pantone HQ: "While the Pantone meetings are traditionally secret, I was invited to the Summer 2013 meeting on the condition that I not reveal the colorists’ identities." (An older, brief interview on Pantone forecasts.) For Summer 2013: forecast overview - palette descriptions - palette colors. (via good.is: ...the Ethics of Color Forecasting)
posted by flex (40 comments total) 32 users marked this as a favorite

 
Fascinating stuff. Read about this a few years ago in a New Yorker piece, which unfortunately isn't fully available online. Here's the abstract.
posted by Miko at 6:11 PM on May 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


I used to suffer PMS until I got out of the print industry
posted by hal9k at 6:25 PM on May 21, 2012 [3 favorites]


I got those Hexachrome blues.
- - - They're beautiful.
posted by isopraxis at 6:31 PM on May 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


Grenache - Full-bodied and sophisticated, a fine wine at midnight.
Mystic Quartz - A purple whisper adds mystery to silver; mature, technical and genderless.
Good Earth - Freshly tilled, an enriched new brown with Victorian roots, Mission influences, and Lodge appeal.


Making Light takes a look at the Color Marketing Group’s otherworldly palette planning. Is it more valuable for the dreamlike descriptions, or as advance warning against the return of ‘avocado’?
posted by naturetron at 6:34 PM on May 21, 2012


In the ethics of color forecasting, there are many shades of gray.
posted by o0o0o at 6:48 PM on May 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


I sepia what you did there.
posted by maryr at 7:05 PM on May 21, 2012 [3 favorites]


Browns are "growing in importance" and are "great alternative base tones," Pressman said.
I work in a pretty abstract field. As in, I literally spend all of my time thinking about why little specks in the sky are arranged the way they are, and my field spends millions of dollars to find out exactly how bright those specks are. It's a little weird, but not too hard to handle.

But I really just can't fathom a "color forecast", and I have no idea at all what it means for browns to be growing in importance. I don't know how to interpret a "Top 10 List" of colors. It's just beyond my comprehension. I'm kind of dumbfounded at hearing that this all exists.
posted by kiltedtaco at 7:09 PM on May 21, 2012 [4 favorites]


So what about having the customer pick the color? Damn cares who a meeting says about what's hot or not.
posted by elpapacito at 7:20 PM on May 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Pepsi PANTONE 3015c.
posted by mazola at 7:27 PM on May 21, 2012 [3 favorites]


This strikes me as eaves dropping on a conversation on the B Arc about whether people wish to have fire fitted nasely.
posted by petrilli at 7:32 PM on May 21, 2012 [3 favorites]


So what about having the customer pick the color?

Manufacturing chains can't work with quite that wide a window just now, nor is that really what they're designed to do. It's frustrating, but we don't have total freedom of choice just now, because we buy pre-made slops and choose from what's offered. However, to some degree you're getting closer:
Where color used to begin with the fiber producers and the color spinners, and trickled through a whole chain of trade shows and production processes, this arrangement was first upset by the rising power of retailers—who, as Shah describes it, “went right to the beginning of the chain”—and then by fast-fashion chains like Zara, who shrank the lead times that had long made forecasters useful. Not to mention the Internet, with its bevy of style sites and trend bloggers. “Colors and trends on the runway are now seen simultaneously by consumers and the trade,” says Kevin Carrigan, global creative director at Calvin Klein. “As a result, they are adopted much faster on all levels.”
But I'd say that this isn't as simple as people picking a color based on some purely authentic attraction arising from their own idiosyncratic taste. it's possible to trend forecast because people are responding to color already at a level below consciousness. So forecasters are noticing and eliciting tastes from people before they become widespread, and blowing them up into a pop culture aesthetic that will be widely embraced. Even if we think we're "picking," are we really? Or are we being influenced outside the realm of our awareness to be predisposed to certain families of color (flavor, language, etc)?
posted by Miko at 7:58 PM on May 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


But I really just can't fathom a "color forecast", and I have no idea at all what it means for browns to be growing in importance. I don't know how to interpret a "Top 10 List" of colors. It's just beyond my comprehension. I'm kind of dumbfounded at hearing that this all exists.

Well, you can take your normal scientific methods and causality and throw them out the window.

The fashion and design world where this kind of thing is important is a wild melange of people in power and people without power making decisions that aren't set in stone, decisions which can be changed on the whim of both the masses (popular culture) and the cranky person who signs their checks (style gatekeepers) all squabbling over who gets to be "right" yet "fresh and innovative" first.

It can literally hinge on some style gatekeeper having a bad morning with a hangover not liking that particular color of brown at that moment and nixing it from their luxury product line to affect industries downstream for months or years to come.

And you just try telling the emperor that he/she wears no clothes while they're having a bad morning.

Every so often someone does come along and offers up a new color or kind of color or combination of colors - but these innovations are very often predicated by new industrial materials processing and manufacturing technologies that suddenly makes it possible to actually economically produce a pair of blue jeans that are actually an eye-searingly bright shade of lime green, right down to the nylon zipper and buttons.

But mainly when you're talking about color forecasting you're talking about soft consumable goods like clothes, home furnishings, packaging design and other short-term markets.

Which is a reason why you don't see Avocado-or-whatever colored fridges any more - hard goods manufacturers (and consumers!) figured out a long time ago that that Avocado-colored fridge or washer and dryer was only attractive as long as the palette for the rest of the house stayed compatible - and even in the late 70s and early that period lasted only a few years.

Or in the 50s and 60s, pastel colored appliances with space/atomic age chrome trim everywhere.

Or today and the last 5-10 years with blue LEDs in everything, but you're starting to see less of that because people don't really want their home entertainment system to look like a Christmas tree decorated in all blue lights lighting up the whole house and keeping them awake at night. The novelty for blue LEDs is finally starting to wear off and designers are using them where appropriate instead of simply as must-have design accents.

Which is why for the past 10-20 years you don't really see large appliances done up in trendy, short-lived colors. Hard good manufacturers have realized that they can't keep up with the increased pace of consumer fashion whims, so they're opting for neutral colors like steel, white, black or sometimes even gray, so these large appliances don't intrude when the softgoods background changes.

When those trends change, they're left with expensive unsold inventory.

"But why? Why color trending and forecasting at all?" you may logically ask.

Because it sells things. If a high end designer can come up with a desirable color combination that's fresh and interesting, or an interesting new use and application for color, or a new way to apply it - people who have plenty of money or disposable income will happily buy an entire household full of these new colors just to differentiate themselves from the peons and paupers of the world, namely us. The filthy unwashed masses.

To assuage their insecurities, people have the need to differentiate - but be the same. Of the right, monied classes, to prove that they're hip and with it. (This isn't just about color, obviously.)

Resorts and hotels follow with their interior designs. Luxury car manufacturers may offer matching accents on interiors, especially frivolous vehicles like high end sports cars or supercars. A luxury yacht manufacturer may offer mockups of these trendy new colors for use in interior decoration. Later, you may find the same colors on expensive middle class toys like ATVs or personal watercraft. Much later they're on inflatable pool toys.

And more confusingly - it's not an entirely top-down process. A new color scheme may debut at a trendy chain clothing or kitchen supply store and bleed horizontally into markets like Target. Designers will borrow inspiration from anywhere because being truly creative on demand is hard work, and it's easier (and less expensive) to follow trends than it is to start them.

But all in all the entire process is designed to do one thing, and one thing only - sell you more shit that you don't really need just because your old shit is the "wrong" color.

It's a form of planned obsolescence by design.

Yeah, those lime green, aqua blue and brown curtains you got 8-10 years ago at Ikea? They were designed not to be timeless or stylish - they were designed to be obsolete. They were designed to match the bath mat with the same lime green and aqua blue you could buy at the same time - so it, too, would also go obsolete, and so it wouldn't harmoniously match a damn thing you can buy today at the same damn store.

Same bath mat and curtains, same material - new colors. Which means you simply must buy all new stuff, else it looks hideous and doesn't match and shows you have no "taste" since your house looks like a picked over rummage sale.

Like there's something mortally wrong with being frugal and practical. Like there's something wrong with living within your means and making due with what you already have. But, no... the Joneses. The Joneses just got new drapes and carpets. The Joneses just got new clothes for their kids! Look how happy the Joneses are in public together! (at a fine 20% rate on their new home-store credit card, of course, but they won't tell you that, nor about the fights about not being able to save up for Timmy's college fund like they planned.)

See where this madness is going?

This is exactly what fashion mavens mean when they're talking about things that are "timeless". They literally mean they're future-proofed against new color schemes or fashion trends, which is why everything that matches this "timeless" criteria are neutral shades. Blacks. Whites. Grays. Navy. Pure reds, yellows or blues. Primary or secondary colors that play well with other colors. The little black dress. A black leather sofa. Gauzy white curtains. Basic prints that age well.

The best thing you can do is become color agnostic, or if you can afford to do so - buy timeless, long-lived things where they matter. Try not to give a shit about what color your broom or mop is, but feel free to care about your basic black or blue jeans. Don't buy trendy disposable shit from Ikea or Target or The Gap.

So, yeah, it is basically a huge con game. A lot of hype. No matter what some stupid self-stuffed tastemaker tries to tell you about the psychology of color, about trends, about external influences - the main influence is making money and selling more soft goods.

It's not about art or style or creativity, it's about making what perfectly good things you currently have unfashionable and out of date.

Think about it. If you had a new co worker that was wearing a 10 or 20 year out of date suit or work clothes, but who was otherwise perfectly skilled and modernized - you'd think less of them or be unnerved, yeah? Why? Why does it even matter?

Because we allow it to matter. Because we're told it matters by the people with the most vested (heh) interest in selling us the new products that we don't actually need - and we believe them willingly.

TL;DR: Watch/listen to the Emerald City "Green, Red and Gold" scene from The Wiz. Same shit, different millennium.
posted by loquacious at 8:03 PM on May 21, 2012 [48 favorites]


But I really just can't fathom a "color forecast", and I have no idea at all what it means for browns to be growing in importance. I don't know how to interpret a "Top 10 List" of colors. It's just beyond my comprehension. I'm kind of dumbfounded at hearing that this all exists.

I don't know if this is the best analogy, exactly, but I think of it a bit like a dictionary. Every year, a bunch of lexicographers get together and talk about the state of the English language (or whatever language you want to use for the analogy). They discuss the traditional usages of words, and how they've changed; they discuss newly invented words and phrases, and whether they deserve to be in the dictionary or not; they discuss whether one word is truly an anachronism, or whether this other word transplanted from German can now be integrated into the English language. They don't exactly discuss the Oxford comma, but they're probably talking about what compound words they can officially remove the hyphen from now.

The point is that dictionaries aren't so much prescriptive as descriptive; they attempt to depict the current state of the English language. The Pantone forecasts seem to work similarly: figure out how colour is being used now, and project that into the future. Obviously it's very different from dictionary work because we're talking about fleeting trends, but it's still fundamentally about how people use and respond to words or colours. Everything from "are people finally tired of buying silver cars?" to "it's been long enough since people last saw this shade of purple that splashing it everywhere will seem new and inspired" to "we're pretty sure Scarlett Johansson's Oscar dress this year will be this shade of yellow." Okay, maybe not that last one. But kind of. Because if she DOES wear a certain shade of yellow on Oscar night, that might inspire a couple hundred thousand people to work that colour into their life somehow—a new blouse for the wardrobe, or maybe their next car will be that colour, or maybe the yellow inspires a certain designer who then works it into the logo of the next big startup. Who knows?

But people don't just pick colours they like out of nowhere. Often it's in step with (or purposely out of step with) some sort of cultural zeitgeist. Pantone's just mapping the terrain for the thousands of companies across all sorts of industries for which the right colours could be worth a fortune.
posted by chrominance at 8:07 PM on May 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


The Munsel System of Color is fun. It was the first formal system of color done up a hundred years ago, but people still use it.

Colors are characterized by their
Hue (Is it red, or blue, or yellow, or ...)
Lightness (Value) (Does this greyish red have the same value as this light grey block I'm looking at, or is it more like this dark grey block)
Chroma (Is this more grey or more red, etc.)

Another write-up.

Painters and Illustrators often use it to learn to read values, along with colors, and to mix paint.

There's a workbook with sets of color chips: The Munsell Student Color Set, for folk who want to learn color theory. Buy a new copy rather than a used copy that's had the
color chips pasted into place in the exercises, and use the handprint website and conceptart.org websites as supplemental textbooks.
posted by sebastienbailard at 8:08 PM on May 21, 2012 [5 favorites]


See? No cabal.
posted by cmyk at 10:04 PM on May 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


your house looks like a picked over rummage sale

I keep my webcams off most of the time -- stop hacking them and spying on me.

I call the look "dorm room chic", for those who care.

Honestly, I opted out of the whole game ages ago, and seek out utility and frugality instead of fashion. Need a bookshelf? Screw together some boards. Need a cubby-hole organizer? Turn a 12-pack beer box on its side and add duct tape until sturdy enough to hold whatever you want to put in it.

Perhaps it comes from living with a man who spent several years in Africa with the Peace Corps in the 1970s. Perhaps it comes from really not giving a fuck with other people think of what I own and caring more about what they think about who I am. Perhaps it comes from growing up in a house which was kept like a museum exhibit (complete with rooms we "don't use" and furniture we "dont sit on" unless truly special occasions are happening).

In any case, I just don't play the game. If it functions, it's good enough. If it's threadbare but still functional, it still gets used. I'm not out to impress anyone with where I live. Hell, if you're actually IN the place where I live, then you've already gotten past plenty of hurdles about getting to know me and have enough understanding of me to take delight in the oddball appearance of where I live and the chaotic entertaining clutter.

And if you find it appalling, well, either you won't come back, or you won't be invited back. Either way, I win. If I don't measure up because of how my house is, then you don't measure up because you're an asshole.

All that aside, I find all this color forecasting stuff kind of fascinating.
posted by hippybear at 10:33 PM on May 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


"The Color Revolution, notes, Margaret Hayden Rorke, an American actress, suffragist, and the country’s first color forecaster (heading the Textile Color Card Association for four decades), traveled to the Paris shows each summer to soak up the latest tints, like the brownish-green Vert Amande— ven employing an American foreign correspondent, Bettina Bedwell, to act as a “spy.” (Intel from Bedwell, in 1936: “Many Frenchwomen are getting away from black.”)"
Oh man, this just writes itself! It reads like an Ayn Rand porno spy novel about the underworld of color swatches. I could enjoy a whole collection of that. Especially if they had names like: 18-4252, the summer of Blue Aster® (the thrilling next part of the Pantone Series of YA novels for Adults).

Also, from earlier on in the article...when did 'rurban' become a word? No less the most difficult to pronounce word in the aesthetic world? Needs another 'r', I think.

It is rumored that in many dialects, this word doesn't even exist...it's just a whiff of a plosive and then...poof, it's gone...
posted by iamkimiam at 11:53 PM on May 21, 2012


But I really just can't fathom a "color forecast", and I have no idea at all what it means for browns to be growing in importance. I don't know how to interpret a "Top 10 List" of colors. It's just beyond my comprehension. I'm kind of dumbfounded at hearing that this all exists.

And I, conversely, have no idea how you can't understand this.

Umm, okay so... in the 1970s, browns were big. My parents had a dark brown fabric couch. It became very, very dated as trends moved on. Brown was seriously unfashionable for 20 years; we didn't use it for furniture, for suiting, or for accessories. It was ignored and unloved. In the past 15 years, green has become hip and you need a colour to pair it with; it's harsh with black, so brown has had a resurgence - they are growing in importance. 40 years after my parents bought one, I now own a brown couch (although not as nice as theirs was.) Brown - although a different range of browns - is a fashionable colour for clothing, home interiors and goods.

If you are a clothing or furniture manufacturer, you are ordering fabric now for goods made a year from now. Fabric designers are therefore designing fabrics two or more years ahead. You need to be able to guess today what people will be wanting to own four seasons from now, or else you are going to have a lot of unsold goods.

I get that not everyone cares, and I don't care much either, but that doesn't change the reality that these trends influence billions of dollars worth of goods every quarter.
posted by DarlingBri at 12:55 AM on May 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


You need to be able to guess today what people will be wanting to own four seasons from now, or else you are going to have a lot of unsold goods.

Which is impossible, unless:

1) an authority of what is the color of next year exists
2) the authority just keeps changing colors from year to year, lest people think what they presently have is still fashionable
3) the authority slightly changes the color, so that 2009 Yellow isn't 2011 Yellow,lest as above
4) everyone marches in lockstep with the order: it's orange, it's orange !

but of course one needs to know one year before the sale, so you pay for this privilege!

Wow, what a racket!
posted by elpapacito at 3:56 AM on May 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


If everything in my house were a nice neutral beige-gray that went with everything, I would get really bored really quickly.

-sent from my iPhone with the bright pink cover
posted by nicebookrack at 4:42 AM on May 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


I was a member of Color Marketing Group for several years. The experience was...interesting. You meet twice a year, traveling to cool locations, attend great parties and dinners, listen to interesting speakers, take exclusive tours...Then you break-up into small-ish working groups and talk color and trends, build big displays showing influences people are seeing emerging over the next few years, etc. Then, there's a big meeting at the end where the consensus color trends, based on members' input, are presented.

The really cool thing is, at the end of the meeting, you leave with a big, thick packet of color swatches of those color trends you and your groups have determined to be the important color trends. Those swatches are printed overnight, following the group meetings. That, alone, was pretty impressive.

In the end, though, we dropped our membership. There's only so much color-forecasting and trending you can do when your color palette always revolves around a large, fat blob of PMS-136.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:53 AM on May 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


iamkimiam: Also, from earlier on in the article...when did 'rurban' become a word?

I've never seen it before, but it's genius in its brevity and clarity, if not ease of pronunciation. I knew instantly what it meant.

I can't get behind the idea of buying "timeless" neutrals and never buying another article of clothing or home good. Excite me with a new pop of color! I like it. It makes me happy.
posted by purpleclover at 6:05 AM on May 22, 2012


Even the word "pop" is a trend.

We were just having this conversation doing some titling at work. "Pops of color" has been around a while, despite one person on a blog I was looking at claiming some HGTV network person coined it, but this year and part of last year you can't watch a half hour of fashion or design TV, or read a magazine, without hearing about a "pop" of orange or "pops" of blue.

I think it's somewhat related to the "pop-up" trend in which everything from restaurants to retail shops to museums to concerts can "pop up." What's certain is that most of us who use the term didn't invent the concept that a color can "pop," despite hearing everyone say it.

Like it or not, we're highly social animals and we can't help but react and interact with trends in our environments. Whether you reject and oppose, try to stand indifferent, or follow every seasonal trend, you live in this context.
posted by Miko at 6:22 AM on May 22, 2012


Even the word "pop" is a trend.

I rue the day sales and marketing droids learned that word. If only I had shot any manager who, while hovering over a not-yet-completed design, suggested I make something "pop", I'd have easily solved the overpopulation problem single-handedly.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:38 AM on May 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


What I like about the color forecasts is the "narrativity" of them. From the Slate article, it sounded like there was very little consensus in the initial meetings. How they go from that to deciding on something like "Aloeminium-The healing power of aloe combines with aluminum" is pretty impressive to me. I've always daydreamed about working on this linguistic/narrative aspect of color, even though it's complete marketing black magic.
posted by Kitty Stardust at 8:34 AM on May 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Even the word "pop" is a trend.

I blame Magnitude.
posted by maryr at 8:38 AM on May 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


So what about having the customer pick the color? Damn cares who a meeting says about what's hot or not.

elpapacito, in addition to the massive delay between manufacturing and store sales mentioned above, it's a bit naive.

Marketing does influence decisions. Statistics show that product X sells better in (package) color Y. Most (all?) decisions that humans make are hardly independent and self-determined; instead, our decisions are heavily influenced by mood, environment (store display), and social pressure (fashion magazines, advertising, etc.).

It's a bit like being at a blackjack table and saying, "Just deal the cards already!", when someone has said, "By the way, this deck is missing all the Jacks and...". That someone's statement (and possibly their decision what cards to leave in the deck) has a real effect on game play.
posted by IAmBroom at 9:30 AM on May 22, 2012


Long ago, I noticed that nail polish colors trend. I began watching teens and collegians, and looking for recurring color choices, since I don't ever read the style mags and watch the TV ad/show placements that presumably presage their decisions. And, sure enough, soon the 20-30s ladies would be wearing those colors, along with a few of the facelift/expensive trainer/Mrs. Robinson older women. And then, as women my age (who weren't trying that hard to look fashionable) followed suit, the teens were on to some new color.

But that's not the interesting part; that's predictable.

The interesting part was when I'd say to a 40ish friend, "Oh, turquoise metallic... That's been trending lately!" INVARIABLY, the friend would vehemently deny her choice was influenced by anything outside her own tastes, which just happened (again) to coincide with the fashion industry marketing goals.

There's something "personal"-feeling about fashion choices; we'll admit we supersized the fries on suggestion, and got the mango-mocha smoothie because of the giant banner in front of the drive-thru line, but there's no way in hell they changed their nail polish colors because Pantone said to.
posted by IAmBroom at 9:38 AM on May 22, 2012 [5 favorites]


BTW, this subject was covered admirably in the "cerulean sweater" scene of The Devil Wears Prada (Hulu). Opened my eyes a bit.
posted by IAmBroom at 9:51 AM on May 22, 2012


Well, it also depends on what shades are being sold at a given time. I know I'm finding myself drawn to a lot of matte, nearly neon shades of nail polish lately, but that's also what's new, what's eye catching, and what's available.
posted by maryr at 10:22 AM on May 22, 2012


Exactly, maryr: it's really impossible for any of us to objectively determine how much of our own choices in self-adornment are made independent of marketing influences.

Some of that is supply: deep burgundy out of fashion = no deep burgundy to buy, when you do want to.

Some is unconscious marketing influence: many of your fave celebs/ads during fave TV shows/skimmed magazines displaying matte neon nails, and suddenly it hits you that you've just gotta have matte neon nails.

Some of it is your personal preferences: they expected matte neon lime to be BIG, but you picked the matte neon yellow that only one company offered, trying to quasi-randomly catch the tail ends of the bell curve, or because they didn't get The Memo from Pantene.
posted by IAmBroom at 10:41 AM on May 22, 2012


It's true, I can't actually find the matte neon lime I've been looking for. It's screwing up my chance at neon pegasus toenails.
posted by maryr at 10:52 AM on May 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Even the word "pop" is a trend.

You see what I did there.
posted by purpleclover at 12:48 PM on May 22, 2012


maryr, you know about the Essie matte top coat? Any nail polish can be matte!

I like trends. And culture and color and novelty and the kids with their funny haircuts and rock 'n' roll music. And I'm weary of the "never buy anything! This is the only sofa you'll ever get!" sanctimony. Total frugality is a grim endgame, where nobody makes anything or buys anything and I have a sad rotation of four dresses. I actually think that the whole foodie movement was a way for people who feel bad about buying stuff (read: they feel like they are personally breaking the environment) to buy food stuff that escaped the evil glare of dread consumerism. I mean, everybody has to eat, so spending money as a hobby on artisanally ranched duck eggs is harmless. Not flip and inconsequential like wanting to wear different and beautiful clothes.

(I like different and beautiful clothes.)
posted by purpleclover at 1:06 PM on May 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Browns are "growing in importance" and are "great alternative base tones," Pressman said. Black, meanwhile, "sits on eternal circle of ebbs and flows" and "seems in danger of being pushed aside," she said. However, she noted, of the 15 wedding gowns that superstar designer Vera Wang debuted in October, nine were black. Will black again be seen again as avant-garde? "We will see," Pressman said.
Yeah, that's pretty ridiculous.
But I'd say that this isn't as simple as people picking a color based on some purely authentic attraction arising from their own idiosyncratic taste. it's possible to trend forecast because people are responding to color already at a level below consciousness.
Do you have any scientific evidence to back that up whatsoever? Obviously individuals have preferences for various colors, but the idea that you could predict that on a society wide basis seems absurd. Especially given the new-age gobltygook that these people are spewing. It doesn't sound like an empirical process at all.

Now, I'm sure it's possible to "predict" colors by simply declaring what everyone should use -- which sounds like what's going on here. The idea that these people are actually guessing what colors would actually sell the best if customers had complete access to every hue is preposterous.
posted by delmoi at 6:41 PM on May 22, 2012


Do you have any scientific evidence to back that up whatsoever?

Is it needed? It seems obvious, based on the entire history of human behavior and fashions in clothing, hardgoods and decor.

Do you have any evidence to refute it?
posted by Miko at 7:16 PM on May 22, 2012


the idea that you could predict that on a society wide basis seems absurd.

It really isn't, though. If you go back to my example, browns experienced a resurgence in part because they paired well with green, which surged to the forefront of color. (Nobody used to wear green nailpolish. Then it was hot. Now it is commonplace.) If you had your eyes wide open, this was entirely predictable because environmentalism was, for lack of a better word, trending. It went from the fringe to the mainstream and now, 15 years later, everyone recycles and the middle class is bragging about how local their cheese is and growing potatoes in window boxes. Green became a huge signifier and very trendy.

This stuff is predictable if you pay attention to outlying trends and sensibilities. I'm pretty sure that in the next four seasons, for example, we will see pinks and purples pulled from Japanese anime on Paris runways and in women's fashion. And I say that as someone who can barely identify a fashion season anymore.
posted by DarlingBri at 1:14 AM on May 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


Do you have any scientific evidence to back that up whatsoever?

Is it needed? It seems obvious, based on the entire history of human behavior and fashions in clothing, hardgoods and decor.

Do you have any evidence to refute it?

That's not how the burden of proof works, Miko.
posted by IAmBroom at 8:57 AM on May 23, 2012


I know that, but I'm not interested in engaging the question, because I don't take it seriously. Color preferences have a lot to do with cultural determination, with gender, with environment and surroundings, with demographics, with physiology, with exposure and with suggestion. We tend to overemphasize our individuality and romanticize our choices. There's room for personal taste but I suspect it's a lot less important a factor in choice than any of these others. There are loads and loads of resources on color psychology, color theory, color in marketing and advertising and color preferences. Whosoever doubts, Google and read some of them.
posted by Miko at 9:19 AM on May 23, 2012


Pimkie Color Forecast: "Is it possible to forecast the next hot color trends? Pimkie Color Forecast thinks so; it shows you in real time what people are wearing in Europe’s fashion capitals. High definition cameras were installed in the fashion capitals of Europe (Milan, Paris, Antwerp) and then connected to computers with color tracking software developed by Pedro Cruz. The software analyzes the passing colors and shows in real time which colors are worn most often, then the colors are compiled into an infographic to see how trends evolve..."
posted by flex at 6:34 PM on May 23, 2012


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