AkzoNobel Unveils Link Between Color Use and Economic Trends

July 16, 2009

Color and economy
 

People’s choice and use of color is strongly influenced by the state of the economy, according to a detailed analysis into color trends conducted by AkzoNobel, the world’s largest paint and coatings company and supplier of leading brands such as Dulux®, Flexa® and Sikkens®.

The research – which included studying the best-selling colors supplied by the company’s global Decorative Paints business – shows that while regional preferences can have an impact on color usage, trends in interior design have been fluctuating in waves over the last few decades as the economy has ebbed and flowed.

“Analyzing color trends has shown us that during an economic downturn, neutral colors such as black, white and greys are favored for interiors, while more intense colors are used when people feel more confident,” explains Stephanie Kraneveld, Global Color Training Manager for AkzoNobel Decorative Paints, who today unveiled the company’s color trends for 2010.

“At the end of the 20th century, for example, neutrals were predominantly used. When fear and uncertainty surrounding the dawn of the new millennium faded, color began to reappear in homes, varying from bright, vibrant colors to less saturated tones. What we’re seeing at the moment is that in Western Europe, sober whites and off-whites are the most popular, while in the US beige and grey are dominant. In Asia, however, fresh colors such as clean yellows, pink and light blue are preferred, which could well be related to the local economy.”

She adds that these trends are likely to shift again in the months and years ahead. “Midtones will tend to predominate overall, with cleaner off-whites and fewer heavy shades evident, indicating a move towards colors that are lighter in mood and more optimistic in feeling, which will lift our spirits as we move on from the tough economic times we’re currently going through.”

The color trends presented by AkzoNobel today are part of the company’s Color Futures™. The result of ongoing worldwide color trend research, forecasting and development, Color Futures provides international style and design trends for interiors and exteriors, which have been translated into color trend palettes.

“We take great pride in bringing color to people’s lives,” says Tex Gunning, member of AkzoNobel’s Board of Management responsible for Decorative Paints. “As the world’s largest producer of paints and coatings, our Color Futures team has developed great color expertise and is a major authority in the development of color trends.”

He goes on: “We all know that color plays an important role in lifting human spirits, as well as making a vital contribution to the development of urban and global communities, particularly in these tough economic times. Therefore each of the themes we have developed for next year touches on the message of optimism and starting afresh.”