Thursday, January 12th, 2012
I find that once I start noticing a new finish or color around me, it suddenly starts appearing everywhere I look. The latest instance of this? Gold. Not 1980s brass gold that feels cheesy. No, now it has a shimmery sophistication that I’m open to for projects. To show you what I mean I’ve gathered a few pieces to highlight how this trend is popping up throughout the interior design world.
First up: Lighting
Here are three examples of chandeliers that embrace the gold trend in a modern interpretation. The one on the left would fit in well in a mid-century modern home or a transitional home with a youthful attitude. The middle one could be a nice addition of texture and playful shapes to an entry way. The pendant on the right references the traditional shades of Morocco but would be totally appropriate in a sophisticated downtown condo.
Here are a few tile samples and accessories I pulled together that highlight how metallics are popping up across multiple categories in fresh new ways.
I’m loving the large format tiles with raised honeycomb and ovals patterns on top of solids with a bit of color variation to them (hard to see in these photos). Imagine a whole bathroom wall in the honeycomb pattern with a floating white rectangular sink in front of it, stunning! The long narrow tile would be a great accent between solid large format tiles to add punch and glamour to a minimal modern space.
The small square dish is from West Elm and is currently being used as a key tray on my sideboard. I love the abstract pattern and how the gold lines aren’t solid everywhere.
The stag ring is in a bronze finish, but I still consider that part of the new metallic trend. A fun find from Target, I love the surprise looks I get whenever I wear it.
The cream crackle finish tile and small crushed glass accent tile could be combined to create a sophisticated transitional back splash without reading as gold, but coordinating well with gold accessories nearby. In fact, here is an example of the tile used in just that way on a recent project to update a standard builder kitchen in a condo and inject the home owner’s personal taste without going too flashy to turn away future buyers.
While gathering fabrics for that same project I found all of these great examples of modern textures and patterns in metallic tones that would fit right into this sophisticated urban condo. Against the deep espresso stained bamboo floors we installed, these gold accents are really going to pop. The bronze fabric on the lower left has a great tone on tone pattern that doesn’t really show up in this photo unless you study the lower left corner of the sample. Another example of a traditional pattern made modern by stripping it down to it’s basic form and doing it in one color instead of lots of colors.
Now I started gathering images for this post back in October, and in the months since others have noticed the trend too.
I spotted this gold wallcovering in the December/January issue of House Beautiful.
And in December, Elle Decor featured Gold in the Trend Alert column.
Gold’s resurgence is going to continue in upcoming seasons according to the trends spotted at High Point Furniture Market this fall and the forecasts I’ve received from trend spotting experts. So keep your eyes open and watch it start popping up more and more.
Friday, December 2nd, 2011
I realize this is a lengthy and deep post, but I thought some of you might be interested in more details on how color trending happens across multiple design professions. Don’t worry, I promise a lighter post next with more pretty product shots.
As an Interior Designer I attend Color Pulse presentations by Benjamin Moore and Colormix presentations by Sherwin-Williams that elucidate the trend forecasts for the design industries for the next couple of years. But how are these trends determined? Why does a trend appear in products as diverse as Kleenex boxes, dresses, side tables and pillows? Why do cobalt blue and Yves Klein blue seem to appear on everything from dresses and necklaces to dinnerware at the same time? How does the trend message get translated across multiple design professions ranging from product design, fashion design, automobiles, interior furnishings and fabrics, to decorative accessories? And why does it matter for interior designers and homeowners?
Trends are influenced by the quickly moving global influences we are all being exposed to on a daily basis. Clients are exposed to these influences as well, so designers need to be up to date on the latest trends in order to discuss and execute these trends for their clients when requested. Understanding the current color directions is essential for designers in every industry because clients will compromise on form but not color.
Mark Woodman explains that “trends and forecasts are often considered one and the same, but there are some fundamental differences. Trends tend to be evolutionary, as their directional movement is often strongly linked to a prior trend. … In the realm of color, the nuances of a particular hue will evolve within the trend’s time cycle….” For example, gray has become more popular in recent years, but now it is evolving from cool tones to warmer brown-grays and then it will move towards grey with blue in it by the end of 2013.
Above: Belgium Linen drapery fabric options from Restoration Hardware. Warmer brown-grays emerging in color palette options.
Forecasts look ahead to what has not happened yet, but can be anticipated. “Seemingly disparate ideas merge to predict accurate direction in design and color.” For instance, London’s Global Color Research sensed the expected mood of the new economy and the heavy feelings associated with a new world order and formulated the concept of “Ransom” reported in the 2010 issue of Mix magazine as an upcoming trend. Their sources included Hitchcock heroines and film noir, resulting in a palette of deep blue, black and gray for a classic, accessible feel with a touch of foreboding. Looking at the color trends in everything from tile to window treatments, I definitely observed this palette making a strong presence in 2010 and 2011.
Trend trackers in each design field are watching patterns emerge around the globe and condensing the information they take in into key trend messages that they can apply to their industry. The trends they spot are in the formative stage and won’t reach widespread popularity for 2-3 years on average. Since product design such as car color selections and fabrics for furniture are developed years ahead of when they reach the consumer market, this trend forecasting is essential for companies to be on trend when their product is released, rather than being behind the trend curve. For more details on current car colors (which I think I’ve discussed before, ex. copper and orange becoming more popular, see this article.)
So how does an influence evolve into a trend resulting in mass consumer sales? A good example would be Mad Men, the TV series on AMC that first aired in 2007, which grabbed hold of the nation’s collective consciousness. Its influence can be seen in both the resurgence of 1960s curve-hugging lady-like fashions on the runway in recent years, and the shift from 1950s Danish teak mid-century modern furnishings to 1960s influenced trapezoid and other geometric forms in furniture and fabrics. Chrome, ceramics, and etched barware perfect for that drink cart in almost every Mad Men scene are also making a resurgence. Consumers want an escape from the gray reality of the economic downturn, so nostalgia for the space age optimism of the 1960s accounts in part for the rise of this trend.
Above: Note the trapezoid shape in the chair, the mid-century styling of the dresser and the retro influence on all patterns in this new collection from Villa Roma.
So who determines what the next trends will be? Color Marketing Group is an international association for color design professionals who forecast color directions one to three years or more in advance for products and services. They focus on identifying color and design trends and then translating those into salable color options. Their motto is: “Color sells, and the ‘right’ color sells better.” Color forecasters from around the world and different areas of expertise get together semi-annually to develop annual forecasts that are used in industries as diverse as fashion, interior design, transportation, industrial design, graphics, cosmetics and more. The value of this information is seen in the experiences of their members.
The color forecasts prepared separately by Benjamin Moore and Sherwin-Williams concisely distills influences from around the globe into several easy to understand trend directions. They utilize images from diverse sources ranging from designs by indigenous populations to scientific imagery to illustrate the patterns and then explain how these influences are being translated into early product designs at the front of the trend curve.
Above: Color Mix 2012 Color Trends illustration (see a larger example at their website)
Trend trackers often consult with companies in multiple design related industries, which in part accounts for trends showing up in different industries at the same time. When a trend starts to connect with consumers in one industry companies in other industries will embrace it as well. Consumers are interested in showing their personalities across all platforms of their lives. One’s car, clothes, jewelry, shoes, kitchen accessories, furniture, house color, and art are all a reflection of personal style. Companies recognize that, and by embracing the trends already gathering steam in another category they are giving consumers the opportunity to show their style in this aspect of their life as well. If a company does not pay attention to the trends they run the risk of losing customer base. For instance, a manufacturer can develop a great washing machine, but if they do not understand the increased importance consumers have placed on the role of the laundry room in their homes and the desire for color on large appliances, their efforts might fall flat. Research and sales have proven over the years to Christine Mau, Associate Director of Packaging Graphics for Kleenex, that “color is just as important as pattern when trying to win the purchase interest of consumers.”
I went to Kleenex’s website and found this fun tool that really illustrates how they think about pattern and color in the context of how the product will be used. You select what type of tissue box you want (ex. auto, wallet, cube) and it shows you the pattern options available. The patterns for boxes meant to be used in a car are primarily tight geometric patterns in metallic shades. In contrast, the patterns for wallet kleenex packets are bright colorful florals designed to visually pop in a packed purse.
Cross marketing relationships between brands further proves the value of understanding the style and trend preferences of a brand’s client base. This is exemplified in a recent four page ad campaign for the Volkswagen 2011 Jetta that showcased clothing, jewelry, make-up, accessories and even a teapot to connect with their desired demographic that appreciates great design, but does not want to spend a lot to achieve the look. The ad copy tells the story.
“We’ve scoured the marketplace for truly great things you can get right now for very good prices. If you’re looking for deals, steals and even great wheels, you’re getting hotter.”
The message is clear that the Jetta is great style for the price of good, just like the high style, reasonably priced items they featured. Here one’s car is meant to be an extension of both one’s personal style and financial priorities.
The inspirations for the next wave of design trends are out there all around us, so keep your eyes and mind open. Then you too can say “I saw that coming.”
Blue color trends compilation from Oprah, March 2011
Drapery color samples from Restoration Hardware
The Birds from IMDB.com
Furniture and fabric product shot from Villa Roma
Color Mix 2012 image from Sherwin-Williams
Kleenex boxes from Kleenex.com
Jetta ad scanned from a magazine
Friday, April 1st, 2011
Why is that when the weather is gray outside, people say they feel “blue”?
I’ve been noticing that saturated blues are experiencing a fresh surge of popularity in everything from home decor to fashion. To me these colors are far from bummed out, melancholy mood inducing tones. Instead they are strong, assertive, and yet classic.
For another perspective on the trend, check out the article Sherwin-Williams recently ran in their magazine, Stir, about the color indigio as a trend for 2011. See the article here.
To start with you can see how the concept of the ocean, white sands and fish is playing out in West Elm’s new collection (top left corner). Oscar de la Renta has used saturated blues in his latest fashion collection and in his home (middle top and bottom) Yves Klein Blue is even moving from the runway to make up collections. Wallflowers need not apply!
The richness of these shades of blue shows confidence and sophistication when integrated into your wardrobe, as shown above in a feature from Oprah magazine. The center photo shows how this color can be integrated into your summer wardrobe with all those colorful brights we talked about last week. Even your table settings can be bold and playful as this mix and match table setting highlights.
Finally, West Elm’s vision of a weather bleached dock with a lounge surrounded by endless blue waters evokes a calm peacefulness in me. If it was all white it would be boring to me. But those indigio pillows in a variety of patterns and textures and the blue stool in the background add the interest I need. The thatched roof and woven tote bag add great texture too. The principles of design here can just as easily be brought into your living room.
As always, I’m happy to help you get there.
Have a great weekend everyone, and I hope you only feel “blue” in a bold way!
Friday, March 25th, 2011
One color trend I’ve been noticing lately: Yellow. Sometimes it heads towards buttery yellow. Sometimes it has a hint of green undertone that takes it slightly towards citrine.
Here are a few examples from the retail sources West Elm, Crate & Barrel and Dwell Studio.
The trend of bright punchy colors is definitely in for spring/summer. Gray, white and navy will always be strong partners for yellow.
And you know what I couldn’t resist when I saw the West Elm summer preview? (Hint: Check out those vintage style orange kitchen containers in the upper left corner. PERFECT accessory for pulling the orange accents in the adjacent living room into the kitchen to tie the two rooms together!)
Think spring thoughts this weekend and maybe we can wish the snow away and get those spring flowers to pop up at last!