Trend Without End

By Jerry Rabushka,

  Filed under: Color of the Month, Feature

Color for Summer

Imagine what your business would be like without color. A lot easier! But…a lot less rewarding. And imagine if color never changed, and the same colors were sold year after year after century after…well you get the idea. Colors trend like a Top 40 hits chart, with some staying afloat for a long time, some making a comeback after being forgotten, and unique trailblazers gaining support among those who don’t follow the crowd.


Ashley Banbury

Let’s Talk Issues

After spring cleaning comes summer painting, so companies summer up with new color tools and trend reports. Pratt & Lambert Paints has launched a quarterly publication to inspire your customers towards more confident color selection. Color Conversation, says Ashley Banbury, senior designer, color & design for Pratt & Lambert, will unite trending palettes and time-tested colors to spark creativity.

Issue #1, “Statement Neutrals” shows how you can be neutral, yet creative, and give any space a fresh new look. “Staye tuned for ‘Endless Summer,’” she looks ahead. “This will feature four-color palettes encouraging everyone to get outside, feel inspired and improve their curb appeal. We are excited about releasing Regional Colors and Color Trends 2018 by the end of the year!”


We are 17 going on 18

A lot of how 2017’s trends and predictions play out will go into next year’s color cards. “Our Color Team is on top of trends year round,” said Ashley. “It’s a story that we are creating, and everything involved impacts everything else. Part of the discussion is always about where colors have been and where they are going.”

The 2017 Trends have done well, she reports, and are heating up into some exciting hues for next year. “You might have noticed how the colors have begun to warm up and they will continue to do so as we progress with the story,” she said. “Grays and wood tones that are becoming warmer (due to complements of blue and blush colors) are a new neutral.”

To make sure your color display doesn’t go cold, Banbury notes that it’s important for you to listen in to the color conversation. While it’s the forecasters’ responsibility to predict what colors will be popular in the near future, as a retailer it’s your job to learn how retail will be changing with the trends, she advised.

By knowing the latest trends and happenings, you can keep a leg up on the big box plus tailor your displays to make the most of your supplier’s tools and research. “Think about how the emerging trends can be promoted with the seasons and holidays,” Banbury suggests. “Is there a product that can be spotlighted for the summer? Can it be paired with Pratt & Lambert’s ‘Endless Summer’ Color Conversation? These opportunities are a perfect way to promote products with trends.”



Dee Schlotter

Complementary Confidence

PPG recommends that you study up on trends, then between you and your paint company your clients will gain the confidence that you are the place to go for color consultation. “We recommend you continue to keep up with the various trends and themes that paint leaders distribute each year,” said Dee Schlotter, PPG senior color marketing manager. “They are a great jumping off point to guide customers in the right direction when it comes to color. We’re here to help—often, we find that customers love the third-party validation that PPG provides, and are impressed that our insights are the only ones in the industry backed by multi-cultural, global expertise.”


PPG has made it easy for your customers to learn about and test new trends, or to go for a design of their own. The company launched a new computer program that will help them pick color at home, so when they come to you they might even know what they want! “PPG’s new virtual Room Painter enables customers to try paint colors and palettes without visiting a paint store or lifting a brush,” said Schlotter. Now that’s fast and easy! The tool (further described on page 17) provides a realistic color preview and is available for PPG Pittsburgh Paints® as well as PPG Paints™.

Technology really helps speed this along, she adds. Users can test colors faster than ever before, thanks to intuitive “edge-detect” functionality, which quickly and automatically finds and maps the ends of a wall within a photo. Say goodbye to the days of using tools to draw lines or to select specific surfaces in photos in order to colorize them! Gone are the days of taping color swatches on the wall! Once users select their color choices, they simply touch or click onto their photo for quick digital painting. The tool also provides an edit function for exact precision.


What if We’re Wrong?

Imagine if you called it blue and it turned out orange! That doesn’t happen, Dee assures us. PPG, being the global superpower that it is, has more than 20 color experts calling the trends. “We’re always confident in our predictions, and color for 2017 was no exception,” she said. PPG Paints’ color of the year, Violet Verbena, continues to be prominent in paint as well as in home décor items.

“With abundant uncertainties, consumers are still longing for this soft, versatile tone that provides unexpected changes in hue as it adapts to its environment,” she described. “Right now, various retailers are offering home décor items such as vases, headboards, pillows, curtains,  and chairs that reflect Violet Verbena. We’re also seeing this color infiltrating the fashion industry in the form of handbags, boots, dresses and other variations.”

It has something for everyone—a centering force that works in the margins. “A new era of consumer mindsets was the catalyst to identifying Violet Verbena as the hottest color,” Schlotter continued. “These new attitudes defy convention and blend ideations of gender, relationships, careers, workplaces and living spaces. Consumers now embrace the middle ground between masculine and feminine, young and old, and work and leisure. Violet Verbena’s blending of gray and violet reflects that middle ground.”



It’s in the Pink

Color doesn’t wait until our January issue to change and trend. “No matter the time of year, PPG is researching and analyzing trends that will affect color forecasts and color preferences. We don’t save this research just for when it comes time to select our Color of the Year!” Schlotter declared. “We look at consumer attitudes, current events, health trends, upcoming building materials, décor materials and many, many more issues. Each year, all of these various factors are analyzed and contribute to PPG’s selection of its Color of the Year and trends stories.”

Speaking of orange, Dee pointed to a rising star of a soft, orange-tinted pink, often referred to as Millennial Pink—that’s not a specific color, but a range within a general trend.

“Millennial Pink hues exploded in popularity over the past few years, and this range of colors continues to trend due to its classic aesthetic that promotes calmness and a softness that helps consumers escape the ‘digital noise.’” It’s great just about anywhere, said Schlotter. “These hues can fit perfectly into almost every room in the home, adding an air of elegance and relaxation to any space. We recommend PPG Paints colors such as China Silk, Ancestral, and Maybe Mushroom. Millennial Pink isn’t your typical girly-girl pink; it’s the grown-up pinks—softer, less clean, with a lot of gray and a touch of orange. Millennial Pink hues exude compassion, ease, and understated style, but there is also a confidence about these colors. Confidence to use a soft, gentle pink signifies strength and courage to many.”



Sandy Agar-Studelska

It’s Trending Outside

Sandy Agar-Studelska, Diamond Vogel’s color marketing and decorating products manager, cautions us that one trend that’s never out of style is color choice fatigue. “It can overwhelm and crush creative inspiration,” she said. However, the upcoming summer season can be energizing, be it the cooler climes of Michigan or the famous dry heat of Phoenix.

“It’s a great time for connecting with the outdoors and finding inspiring colors and combinations for the trickiest home project,” said Studelksa in the company blog.



Tornado Wind

If it looks good outside, it might look good inside, too. Tell your customers to take a hike and perhaps they’ll come back with some great ideas! “Nature’s color combinations and textures are beautifully unique and unexpected,” she reminds us. “Finding color can be as easy as a nature walk or an afternoon in the garden. Nature perfectly pairs light with dark colors and soft flowers against weathered wood and stone. Unplug from technology and see if it sharpens your color instincts in your search for livable, down-to-earth color.” Then, use your cell phone to snap some inspirational photos!


Sweetie Pie

This summer, Diamond Vogel is reporting a shift to warmer neutrals including browns, golds and yellows that offer an alternative to popular greys. “Green continues to influence, including deep forest green, an accent that wraps its arms around you and creates a comfortable space,” said Sandy. “Small pops of bright color, reminiscent of the ’80s, bring life to basic neutral palettes. Deep berry accents along with oranges and reds add a fun factor to interior spaces.”



John Book


What Drives Color?

Color comes to paint from all sorts of industries, which is why we didn’t ignore a shout from Viavi Solutions, a global provider of special option color solutions and technology components. Viavi’s annual report, Color Trends 2017: Pathways, features a trend palette of “colors to watch” for automotive and original equipment manufacturers. “The report draws inspiration from the tension between technology and tradition,” they told us. But…what’s in it for the paint retailer?

“Viavi conducts extensive research to follow social-economic trends that reflect people’s lifestyles, moods and choices,” said John Book, product line manager. “Recommending the right color builds trust and loyalty and leads to repeat business.”

Plus, Viavi uses some of the same resources as our paint grinders. “We pull research from a variety of trend-spotting services, customer interaction, and organizations such as Color Marketing Group,” Book reports. “Our output is presented to players in markets such as sporting goods, consumer electronics, and automotive to help them select on-trend colors that will boost sales.”

Back to our Top 40 charts—just as songs cross over and hit different charts at different levels, so do colors. Wait your turn and the colors you see in one industry will migrate to the next. “Color trends cascade from fashion to architecture, then automotive,” said Book. “The Viavi 2017 color trends are targeted to vehicles produced in 2020 or 2021.” They may be coming to you in 2018-19.

Viavi shared four trend palettes; if you’re not selling these, you might be driving to work in them.

• Aurora—Inspired by the mysterious Aurora Borealis and the endless possibilities in space, this family focuses on mobility. Ride sharing offers new transportation options on earth, recreational space travel is on the horizon, and virtual reality enables experiences not otherwise available

• Man_Machine—Coined the 4th Industrial Revolution, robots are increasingly capable of performing human tasks and will find applications in manufacturing efficiency and domestic convenience. As artificial intelligence allows greater intimacy with our devices, social norms will be challenged to accommodate these new relationships. Colors are subdued, not wanting to draw attention, while introspectively moody tones evince a deeply mechanized feel.

• Global Citizen—Recent political and economic conditions threaten to slow the pace of globalization. However greater mobility, both physical and virtual, allows people to build communities based on common interest. These fresh, optimistic, lively colors take global cues from multi-cultural immersion, embracing the mosaic of interconnectedness.

• Artisanal—Amidst the instant gratification provided by a growing list of on-demand products and services, there is increasing interest in hand crafts ranging from fabrics to furniture and foods. Rich, timeless and deeply saturated, these colors evoke a sense of heritage, authenticity and nostalgia with a modern twist.

Another thing that changes are special effects—faux and decorative finishes are much different than they were even a few years back, and Viavi has created some interesting looks that can filter down to a homeowner’s décor. “Viavi has provided special effects in retail, restaurant and amusement parks,” said Book. “The colors and effects are very useful to create a variety of moods from Sci-Fi to luxury and can be incorporated in to many different materials.”

For more color trends, look out the window, in retail shops, and at your customer’s outfits—it’ll come together in 2018!



PPG Room Painter – A Closer Look

The first digital tool of its kind, PPG’s Room Painter offers a number of enhanced features:

One-stop shop—A separate app is no longer required to select and try paint colors. The tool can be used directly from the paint brands’ websites on a mobile device or computer.

Realistic visualization—When using a personal photo or customer photo, the tool’s advanced technology takes into account characteristics of a room such as lighting conditions for accurate color visualization.

Color options in a click—It’s simple to upload a photo of your customer’s home or use PPG’s inspiration room photos to try color options. To test colors, you can select from color families and curated color palettes, search for specific color names, or upload a photo that inspires them to bring colors from the photo to their walls.

Gather input from family and friends—Do your customers want to get others’ opinions on their color selections? They can request input from friends by clicking on email, Facebook or Pinterest sharing icons within the tool.

Save, then paint—Once they find a color, they can save the project by simply entering an email address—no need to create an account to access a project at a later time. Users will receive an email with their favorite paint color choices and a colorized room image for future reference when purchasing paint. The tool will also help them find a dealer so they can purchase the color they worked so hard to find!