Every year, different commercial brands announce their Color of the Year, and it’s definitely safe to say that they’re a good indicator of what’s happening in the color landscape. In Norway, there’s three players that are influencing the market; Pantone (international), Nordsjö/AkzoNobel (international) and Fargerike (local).
Who are the players:
So, Pantone is the must influental or best known «color expert» in the market. It’s an american brand that works closely with the US fashion industry, and their forecasts usually hits NY Fashion Week’s use of color to a tee. Their connection to the interiors/home market is a little bit vaguer, but it’s obvious that they’re working on closing that gap. Their main focus is fashion though, if you look at the market material.
Akzo Nobel (with sub brand, Nordsjö, in Norway) is a global paint manufacturer that has a global team that works on finding the color palette they present in their Color of the Year material. Their global forecast makes the color palettes they present feeling a little bit like a compromise, and not really aimed at a specific market. They’re trying to win them all, which, in my opinion, is a weakness.
Fargerike (my previous employer) is the only local brand (a retail chain with 110 home renovation stores) that announces their Color of the Year specifically for the Norwegian market. This project was in many ways my baby while I worked there as Creative Director (2010-2014), and it was definitely an interesting and fun to develop and launch back in 2012. I have not had anything to do with their launch, look or content of color of the year 2015 (my last color was in 2014), but their method of finding the color, ensures a pretty safe choice for the market. I do think that the image material is a bit uncommercial this time around, and some may find it difficult to find inspiration to actually use the color of choice, which is a challenging (but good!) color to begin with.
What are the Colors of the Year 2015?
First of all, I have to say that all three colors are pointing towards an important tendency, which is both local, here in Norway, but also global. Our use of color is getting bolder, and the warm half of the color wheel is increasing in popularity. This is not a season based trend, but a part of a larger (and most likely ten year long) trend wave. This means that in the coming years, we will see more warm colors in interiors, fashion and (hopefully) architecture. In Norway, we have gone from a pretty achromatic (colorless) era (2000-2010), and are now moving towards a very polychromatic (colorful) era. The achromatic era reached it’s peak in 2010, and the polychromatic era started at the same time. The first few years, we had a transition from grey and white towards the colder colors, primarily greenish blues and blues. That transition is still working, and has far from peaked. So we have three tendencies; the decline of the old neutrals (white and grey), and the incline of the new neutrals (blue, greenish blue and green), and the incline of the use as warmer colors, both as accents, contrasts and main color.
Marsala (Pantone) – a deep, actually wine red nuance that I know many associate with spices or red wine. I was for the first time in years surprised (and pleased) by Pantone’s color of the year. I think it’s an interesting choice and a sophisticated nuance. It plays an important role in the warm color tendency, and works really well with reds, corals and oranges. We will see more sophisticated color schemes in the future, and this could very well works as a kind of neutral backdrop. Marsala is not a «one year wonder» color, but is riding on a longer color wave. The Bordeaux nuances we’ve seen the past FW seasons in fashion is a part of this wave.
Copper Orange (AkzoNobel/Nordsjö) – Copper Orange is a very soft nuance, which actually feels more like a powder pink than an orange. It’s a pretty color and is a part of the more dusty nuances we’ve seen in several markets, and especially here in Norway in interiors. The image material is not very Scandinavian looking, and it feels like it’s aimed at everyone (which most of the time results in no one).
Orange (Fargerike) – Fargerike’s orange has a group of nuances derived from a specific color, and not one nuance, which leaves more room for personal preference and liking. Many of the nuances picked are really good, but shown in interiors in a bit confusing manner with what I would describes as an unscandinavian feel to them. Again, this group of colors is part of the same wave as Copper Orange and Marsala, and we see them all in the Norwegian market.
So what does all this mean? As mentioned in the intro, Colors of the Year are an indicator of what is happening in the color world. The colors of 2015 are all showing the development of the warm color trend wave, and we’ll continue to see them for years to come – in other words completely safe choices. It’s more about what colors you like and how they make you feel than what the most color of the season is. You should never decorate your home based on a colors position on a trend wave. Magic happens when you work outside of your comfort zone and make choices that in the outskirts of where you feel comfortable. I definitely welcome the warmer colors to the interiors, architecture and wardrobes in Norway, we definitely need them, especially during the darker half of the year.