MEI talks to Global Color Research (GCR) and finds out what’s hot for 2012 and how colour trends are set and adopted
UK-based Global Color Research (GCR) is a creative colour consultancy recognised internationally for its trend forecasting. Through its global networks and in-house team of trend consultants and colour specialists, the company aims to make colour and trend forecasting accessible to all market sectors, giving businesses a clear view of the future.
Global Color Research’s Mix Publications produces Mix Trends, a forecasting book published twice a year, and Mix magazine, a quarterly colour, design and trend publication.
Colours are a basic form of communication and you can’t help but react to them, GCR’s colour consultant Hannah Malein told MEI in an exclusive interview on the sidelines of the Interiors UK exhibition in Birmingham, where she presented a paper at a seminar.
Excerpts from the interview:
Is predicting colour trends a science or an art?
I don’t think we can define it that way. It’s a mixture of everything. There are certainly influences from the art world, from the scientific world and from the economic, political and environmental areas. We take many things into consideration…it could be design movements or even natural disasters which really influence people’s thoughts.
When we talk about trends, how they are formed and what influences them, we are really trying to look at everything that affects them.
Choice colours: Tender is among
the trends predicted by Mix
Trends for the Autumn-Winter
What is the nature of research you do before coming out with a trend prediction?
We have a big team of international professionals who all work together with trends and colours, they are all from different industries and backgrounds – from automobile, paints, fashion, etc. Key factors are discussed and this discussion is broken down and directed into colour trend stories. We then, as a team, work with those trend ideas and move them into client projects.
What are the elements that dictate a trend?
In terms a trend, it is a kind of atmospheric story. A trend will not be just one colour. What makes a colour or a trend new is the idea or the integration of something that is supported by a group of colours.
That group of colours will be predominant in that particular time?
Yes, we predict two years ahead. We usually select eight colours per trend and suggest that certain colours will be really important. One of the key colours for 2012-13 is within the trend called Tender, which looks quite vintage, something from the Georgian period.
Do you provide separate trend forecast for various sectors or is it the same for all?
It’s for all sectors of the colour industry. Obviously, we present our trends to the design industry, for residential, industrial or other sectors. The trends are taken as inspiration by companies and we work with them and give them a tailored experience. We focus on their brand and their market in creating bespoke colours.
Malein: Colours are a basic form
How successful have you been in predicting trends?
We monitor and track things. Obviously some trends are more suitable for certain sectors, depending on the theme. We have received positive responses not only from the people we work with, but also from the industry. There are examples where clients have reported sales increases after we have worked with them.
What’s the role of colour in communicating the right message?
Essentially, colour is a marketing tool, it’s used to capture the attention of people. It gets people talking about products and we help them market their products. We give clients a colour direction that their customers will be looking out for. In short, we guide them to the right colours and when people see products in those colours and say “wow…it looks great”, the job is done.
You say trends can be applied globally or can be tailored for individual cultures and markets. How do you do this?
Colours are a basic form of communication. They give a message and you can’t help but react to them. We also have personal and cultural association with colours and as you know, colour preferences vary across the world. Not every colour or trend is suitable for every product or region. Trends need to be interpreted in a way you wish to use them.
We have our global panels. We know that many of our clients are international and we take this colour trends and present to a European, a North American and a Chinese panel. They analyse them for their market. Europe tends to clean up a little bit, may be lighten them a bit; America tends to make the most changes. It’s really important to take into consideration the association of colours in different cultures.