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At Home: What color is your future?

Marni Jameson explains how color experts determine the newest color trends.
BY MARNI JAMESON Published: December 17, 2012

In the same way many of us can sense a cold coming on or a storm in the offing, some tuned-in types can spot a hot (or cool) color trend long before it arrives.

When they detect a color trend, they call it out.

Unlike psychic readings at the county fair, color forecasters' predictions really do come true — partly because they ordain them. See, when the Color Marketing Group, an international association of color design experts, speaks out each year, manufacturers listen, then create product lines in the new trend colors.

Consumers buy products in the new colors because, well, that's what's for sale. And boom! A trend is born.

When I first learned about this palette patrol, more than 15 year ago, I felt manipulated. But now I'm truly grateful for this invisible hand shaping color trends. It means when we buy a new rubber dish drainer, it only comes in five colors, and those colors will go with our new blender, which will match our new sofa.

With all the decisions we have to make, it's nice to have a marketplace that hits you over the head and says, “BUY THE PURPLE ONE, YOU IDIOT!”

This October, 200 color forecasters gathered in Miami for the Color Marketing Group's annual meeting. They each put a wet finger in the air and collectively said: “I feel blue with a touch of green.”

Thus, the 50-year-old association proclaimed “Re-Blued” as 2013 Color of the Year. (They already know 2014 colors, too, but I'm not going there yet.)

“Blue will dominate the color movement for years ahead,” said Mark Woodman, CMG president. “It's stable, comfortable and well liked.”

However, the 2013 blues will move away from previous blues, which have been more political, Olympic, and traditional, he said. “New blues will be warmer and more aqueous. Tropical, watery blues with a touch of green will dominate.”

The “RE” part Re-Blued plays to lifestyle trends like recycle, renew, rewind and reliable. (Of course, the new blue, or any new color trend, also prompts consumers to repaint, replace, repurchase and remodel.)

Jackie Jordan is a CMG chair holder and director of color marketing for Sherwin-Williams, a leading paint company.

Like color mavens in other industries, Jordan refers to the CMG forecast when interpreting new directions for her company's product line. Last month, she released interior paint palettes for colors she sees trending.

Of the 40 colors in her lineup, she singled out a minty toothpaste aqua called “Aloe” as Sherwin-Williams color of the year. “I'm already seeing the color trending in home furnishings,” said Jordon.

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