Color Trends – Why & How Do They Happen?

What are color trends and where do they come from? Color trends are basically preferences for certain colors, or combinations of certain colors which become popular.

Color Trends

Color trends can influence fashion, interior and exterior home design, graphic design, technology like phones, computers, as well as website design and marketing, including digital marketing.

Where do color trends come from?

Color trends are often started or inspired by what people see in the media, television, movies and magazines. The color or colors will become popular, or catch on, and then possibly become a trend. This is similar to how fashion works.

I explain this in more detail below in the section about the psychology of color trends.

Fad vs Trend

Fad is a term often used for something that is very short lived. Trends on the other hard often last much longer, trends can span and influence for several years and even decades.

Because of the massive amount of media available, color trends come around far more often and are generally more volatile than they were in past centuries.

Before modern day digital media, the internet including social media, color trends where often set by Royalty and famous or popular works of art. Color trends were much slower to materialize back then.

Pantone Color Trend Examples

2017 – Color trends were tropical green and warm neutral colors.

2018 – Trends included ultra violet, fiery reds and metallic appearances.

2019 – Pantone Color of year is Living Coral, which is an orangish pinkish shade. Living Coral is a warm color, social, compassionate, calming and it also gives energy and life.

Colors are chosen as color of the year based partly on research that is conducted with regards to what people are sharing on social media, the movie industry, art work, interior design and fashion.

These trend examples often mostly apply to fashion and interior design, the tends set in other industry sectors will differ. For example in the technology sector, Living Coral is unlikely to become a popular color for computers or smart phones(however not impossible). The automotive industry is another example where tends can differ greatly based on the different industries.

Different cultures and religions will also determine the significance and importance of a particular trend, and whether a trend will be followed or not. Gender, temperamental traits and age also influence our decisions when it comes to fashion, interior design and pretty much anything that requires a choice.

The Psychology of Color Trends

There are a few psychological factors at play. People often like variety and novelty, so emerging trends caters to those desires. New color trends gives people both novelty and ideas on achieving some of that desired variety.

A company like Pantone is considered an authority in matters of color trends, so often people will go with the trend endorsed by the authority in a particular area. This is also true with how fashion trends catch on. Celebrities and those with a great deal of social status also have the power to set tends. People will often mimic high status individuals, unconsciously trying to increase their own status.  

People naturally conform to what others are doing, this is one of the reasons why trends catch on and become popular. Being clued into trends is also linked to social status, and being high in social status can lead to all sorts of life benefits. A desire for uniqueness may also be a motivator, color trends may give people ideas for ways in which to express themselves in unique ways, while being somewhat with it and clued into popular culture.

Certain personality types are also more likely to follow trends and what’s going on in the world. Extroverts are more likely to follow trends, they’re more clued into what’s trending and generally what other people are doing. Extroverts are generally more focused on the external world, including emerging trends.

Summary

Color trends are set both by natural popular trends, influenced by many different factors including the famous, wealthy, powerful, movies, art of many varieties and various other industries of design. Then endorsed, therefore reinforced by industry authorities such as Pantone.

This is how Pantone and others are able to predict upcoming trends, because in part they help to create them.

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