PLH Holiday Color Trends | Color Trends

There is a concerted color trend every holiday season. Color forecasting is the science and math of choosing colors for the next season. You have to do research on this field for your product development, because we have said before, color is a big factor for consumers when making purchase decisions, especially during the fourth quarter holidays, from Thanksgiving, to Christmas, to New Year’s. It is indeed the most wonderful time of the year for retail. We are sharing our holiday 2018 color trend report with you, just in time for making purchase order decisions, scaling up your product inventory, and producing your marketing collateral as you gear up for this year’s holiday season.

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We’re going to talk about holiday colors and seasonal strategies. We’re talking about fourth quarter holidays: Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s, the whole gift giving season if you want to look at it that way. That’s what we’re really talking about when we talk about holidays at retail because you want to maximize every single dime you can get in that fourth quarter because it’s the best time of year. If you’re in your planning mode, we want to really give you tools to be thinking about what that means for holiday and I’m starting it with color.

I’m starting with color because there is a concerted color trend that goes on every holiday season. Whether that is silver and there are silver decorations everywhere, they’re splashed around magazines, the store displays reflect that. Hot pink accents are in this year. I like to call color forecasting the science and math about choosing colors for the next season. It’s actually what I’m going to call a self-fulfilling prophecy. Forecasters like Color Marketing Group and Color Trends, there’s a whole color council around the world. When they choose colors, they tend to happen.

80/20 Color Rule

I know you are worried about picking colors. Part of you want to pick black. There’s already a podcast and a blog post and a video cast and we did an Office Hours about this about the 80/20 Color Rule. The time that that defies is when you make a seasonal product, when you make a product that’s specifically meant to be bought in the holiday season, whether it’s a decor item, it’s specifically an ornament for a tree, anything like that. It is something that you must get the color right because everything else is going to be in there. If your color is in odd, then it doesn’t resonate with the person. I might like chartreuse green, it’s my favorite color. Yet the color this year is a deep forest green. Buying chartreuse ornaments and buying chartreuse things may not work and it won’t sell as well. That’s some of the things that I’ve learned over time about color.

Why Study Color Trends

I have for you my color trend report for the holidays. I charge about $5,000, $6,000 just to talk about color. I usually charge $10,000 for just the holiday forecast and I’m giving it to you. If you were my client, I would have given this to you. It’s not too late, which is why I’m hosting because this is the last chance for those of you have been existing products and maybe you’re going to make it a new color. You’re going to place your final orders. You’re going to be starting thinking about scaling up your order inventory levels and making your purchase order decisions right now. I am setting a minimalist style tone and that’s exactly what we’re going for this season. Why study color trends? Pantone, Benjamin Moore, all the major paint companies, Color Marketing Group, Color Council, all of them put out a color trend report. They put it out for all kinds of categories. It’s different for fashion than it is for home furnishings. I talk about it in terms of color trends. Colors can be really trendy. There can be something that comes in just for that season. It’s temporary and then it goes right back out again.

PLH Holiday Color Trends | Color Trends

Color Trends: There is a concerted color trend that goes on every holiday season.

There are trends of the way color shifts. Is color getting more complex? It’s what it is. The color of the year is ultra violet. Ultra violet is a variation of purple. Ultra violet has shifted into being a really deep rich galaxy black blue, purple that has lots of metallic in it. Why? Our technology for applying colors and paint has changed. Think about how the color quality on cars has changed over time. Our ability to paint in specific types of finishes has changed and that affects the color choices that we make as well. That’s part of why we study color trends the way that we do is because things are shifting and happening in that color palette, in that color family. Overall, we look at colors and we might see a shift of what’s happening.

I look at lots of different companies when I talk about color trends, so I don’t look at it in terms of just Pantone’s offering or just Color Marketing Group’s. I used to be a member. I haven’t been a member in a while because I think the way that they choose their colors and the way that it goes about, it’s a little bit of color by committee and I don’t love that. I like to have lots of external inputs. You’ll hear this when I talk about my research process for determining colors and design trends. I look all over the world. I look at what’s going on in different marketplaces and industries because they all have a lot of money to invest in their research and they can’t be wrong. They have to get it right more often than they get it wrong. I see what’s going on and then I apply them to a holiday palette because at the holiday season, there’s going to be red and green. You’re always going to start with some red and green, some neutral, whitish color of some kind. How does that look and how does that work?

If you look just at the color trends going on in the Amazon marketplace, you would think that this is going to be our Christmas look, this actually has already passed. You might be making wrong choices on trends and find yourself with a much more limited market. If you brought in a lot of rose gold or this pink tone, you wouldn’t be totally off trend because it’s a bell curve thing. You’ll catch a bit of sales from doing that. Doing it is not the worst thing ever because there’s a segment of the market that doesn’t catch up to what the prevailing fashion forward trends are going on. At a limited buy time when you walk into Target, Walmart, Costco, Bed Bath & Beyond, even Michaels and Jo-Anne’s and you’re not seeing rose gold anymore, you’re seeing a different color.

That’s when people start to go, “I’m out of trend. Should I buy that? Is that going to last as long?” Unless you’re really just personally in love with rose gold and it’s your favorite metal ever, are you really going to do that? You have the peer pressure that goes on with trends. This is why I want to bring this up to because you would get it wrong if you just studied Pinterest and if you just went off of what was going on Amazon itself, because we haven’t seen what’s coming in for this holiday yet onto Amazon. It would give us a false sense of where we need to go. That’s the prevailing trends that I see going on across things. We’re going to talk about this type of stuff a little bit more in the design trends. What we’re seeing is this less happy and bright mentality and a much more of peace, serenity and believe.

We do a 3D print angel ornament. I’m going to show them to you on the design trend side. We have a theme that we put on there and it’s just a single word that’s printed on the bottom of the ornament. We’ve done a peace one. We’ve done an inspire one. The theme we’re about to do is believe. That’s a very different tone because that’s a much deeper mentality than joyous. Believe sets a tone and so you’re going to see that coming across because the design trends also have an integral relationship with the colors. I do the two things hand-in-hand even though I’m separating them out for you here, there’s a lot of the thought process and a lot of understanding built into it already.

The Right Color Sells More

We want to get to that place where the right color sells more. I’m sure if you were shopping for products in China, that’s what you’re going to see everywhere. That’s the color palette that are going to be presenting to you. They won’t present new colors. It happens very rarely. We had an overall somber tone, a graying of the palettes that cascaded over time. When it continued in the holidays though, it sparked up a little bit and got a little bit more fun. It happened in the form of these neutralized metallics but you can see there’s a little bit of aqua there. The yellow gold has a little bit of green tint to it. The grays are blue, so you see that happening.

We still have a little bit of that darkening and graying of the tone, but it’s getting a little richer and a little deeper and a little clearer. It’s being offset with white, not neutral. It’s not like a cream, rose gold. It’s not happening with those neutral colors, which you see as those beige-y metallic colors for the ornaments on the left. We’re also moving to longer seasonal use of color. You would want to make the most out of your investments so that when you decorate your home or you do it for the holidays, you do it pre-Thanksgiving and it lasts all the way to New Year’s, thinking about that has having a longer seasonal use and maybe not so Christmas-focused. We’re seeing a little bit of other colors creeping into the palette rather than just red and greens. This is the trend tone that I’m sending for the color forecast for the holiday.

[Tweet “Pantone is the prevailing body in creating color standards and chips.”]

It really is a prediction. I could be wrong. I’ve been doing this for years and I can tell you that I’m rarely wrong. My clients count on me to be right. It’s the best educated guess, the prediction I can make based on everything I see going on in the marketplace, based on what’s going on with paint finishes and materials and all of these things.

Here’s our red, velvetized red pair, that’s what I’m calling it. It’s deep red with purple undertones. You can see that it’s got this depth going on. It’s got lights and darks like velvet has. It’s got a little more natural quality to the red rather than that artificial Christmas red that we get where it’s almost too bright and it’s almost too odd. It just doesn’t have the feel of anything we see in the natural world but this red does. That’s where I’m projecting the red to go. You can see it here because this is our red pair, Pantone color, that’s the color they’ve been using in fashion and other areas. It’s a cascade of that but metallicizing it a little bit. We’re bringing it a little brighter, a little cleaner, a little more fun. We’re keeping that same tone of it.

Pantone Library

How are you going to tell your factory that this is what you want? You’re going to give them this Pantone number. Pantone is the prevailing body in creating color standards and chips. You can buy an entire Pantone library. You can buy a color wheel, a color palette. They don’t have always the newest colors on them when you buy the limited palette. I prefer to go with the TCX or the TX’s, which is the tech style color of it. I think it gives you a little more cross material look. Whether it’s going to be in plastic, metal, in fabric, or in paint, it’s going to give you this color.

I think it gives you the most grayish version of it because when you put color in the materials, it absorbs it. When you paint it on the surface, it reflects it. Sometimes that shine gives us a false sense of what the color is actually going to be like in the products that we’re choosing. I like to use what they call UC or uncoated colors when I specify them and when I give them to my factories. Most factories have sets of Pan tone colors or have access to re-treated chip or buy a single chip if they don’t have it. You can go to Pantone and directly, you can buy color palettes online.

It doesn’t really matter if you buy palettes from previous years because it just won’t be highlighting these colors as trends, but typically the colors exist somewhere in the library. That’s where we’re going with our red. Our green is looking like a black forest green. It still has a little bit of that yellow undertone, but it also has a little bit of blue depending on the light, depending on how it’s looked at. I know that sounds odd, but obviously that’s how greens are made. It’s really dependent on how you treat the color or how you’re utilizing the color. When you metallicize the green, you’re able to get both things working for you. That’s the real direction that I’m seeing going on with this color. I have a Pantone specifically for this because I chose black forest green from Benjamin Moore as my flat line. I’m sure that exists out there in a Pantone chip as well. I don’t think they call it forest green, but it’s similar to that, but it’s a little bit yellower than the black forest green from Benjamin Moore.

Remember I told you that we were going beyond red and green. We’re bringing in a lot of violet, that ultra violet that is the Pantone color of the year. We’re bringing it in a little more rich tone and that’s why I’m calling it ultra-velvet violet. It’s got a lot more blue undertones into this purple that you’ll be seeing. You can see that reflect in that color with the dew drops and everything on it. It’s mixed with the burgundy and it’s starting to really spark up. It’s starting to really see how you might use purple, almost like a neutral, using purple like a black. It’s becoming part of that palette. You can use it as an accent, but you can also be using it as neutralized in the palette. We’re going to talk a little bit more because that fingernail trend is a little bit of a hint of what’s to come on the art design side.

[Tweet “There are trends on the way color shifts. It could get darker, brighter, more complex.”]

You can see the richness that it’s coming in the fruits and in what’s going on in environmental color, this galaxy color. It’s a little Star Wars based. This was the way we were seeing color going, getting much more complex and much less flat in the overall process. I also wanted to show you this gray with white and white with gray. We’re talking about really dark gray, almost charcoal gray. That’s a really green gray over on the right-hand side. The white with a green gray that’s going on and that’s black forest gray in the background there on that tree. You’re starting to see what happens when we mix in white and instead of mixing just white, we’re bringing in grays but the grays are getting a little bit richer.

Gray metallics is what we’re really getting. You can see up in the top a whole different slew of different charcoals. I call them graphite X because there are silvers mixed in there. There’s also black chromes and other things that have been mixed into there. You go all the way down from light to dark from this darker graphite, almost black to warm silver. You see that down there mixed with that cream color, which is not the trend. You would see a much more concerted difference and where that warm silver has a much more silver sense. It becomes much more of this bright light neutral when you blend it with the white.

PLH Holiday Color Trends | Color Trends

Color Trends: We want to get to that place where the right color sells more.

I was talking about those whites, they have a very silver and blue undertone, less cream, more towards the silver gray. We’re seeing a lot of that shift right now. With white, it’s a lighting as well. It has an effect on everything that you do there. Pristine white is the color. It has this really crisp white color. Pristine white is the color that I would use if you have to match to white, which most people do because there are millions of lights and white desk doesn’t happen naturally. It’s usually either the natural color of a material or it’s bleached in to get to the color tone that it needs to be.

This is the overall palette, I wanted to see it grouped together. We’ve got black forest and graphite, ultra-velvet violet, red velvet pair, warm silver and pristine white. The reason why that’s coming in is because it’s a part of the #MeToo Movement for women to be carrying white roses at one of the awards ceremony in Hollywood. We’re seeing that starkness between them all wearing black with white roses. That’s where this white is coming in, it sets the tone, but it also sparks the rest of the palette. If it didn’t have that color there, everything would be a lot grayer, darker and somber. It’s that offset against the white that is sparking it. Make sure you get the white right.

That’s the color palette that I’m predicting we’re going to be seeing more of in the marketplace. You can check them out and see if I’m right. Maybe we’ll do a recap and see what happens. I’ll be giving you the forecast early. I hope that helps and that it helps you make some decisions. As always, you can tune into any Office Hours on Product Launch Hazzards. You can reach out to me via email if you have questions about the palette. You will have access to all of those images. I ask that you’d be kind and do not share that SlideShare with anyone who’s not a member because this is a significant member benefit. You certainly want to have one up over your competitors. You want to use this competitive intelligence that it is for your purposes, for you making smart choices as you head into making some final decisions about what you’re going to be selling, to maximize your sales.

Tune in to Tracy Hazzard next Office Hours. Connect with and find out more about Tracy Hazzard in our Experts Directory.

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