consumer behavior, trend forecasting, color palettes

It’s not the saturated black of teenage rebellion. Instead PPG’s color of 2018, “Black Flame” is a burnt and natural tone that invokes memory of charred campfire kindling — or asphalt. The creation of the tone comes after a year of intensive consumer research that retailers and individuals might adopt in homes and bricks-and-mortars alike.

PPG takes a deep look into freshly shaped consumer attitudes that ultimately become divergent trends realized in correlating color palettes. “PPG’s global color stylists gathered for the eighth consecutive PPG global color forecast meeting. During the three-day meeting, PPG’s color experts came together and discussed societal and regional trends, as well as overarching consumer insights to determine the following year’s color forecast, as well as the 2018 Color of the Year,” said Dee Schlotter, senior color marketing manager at PPG. Each palette includes material references in addition to general inspirations behind the color collections.

“We’ve identified four themes for the consumer market that retailers should consider for the coming years: HourGlass, which is a mostly contemporary-focused design style that ironically takes its influence from traditional design and services, is a well-balanced mix of warm and cool hues, natural foliage greens and crest reds and yellows,” said Schlotter. “Essense emphasizes quiet, soft, calming, minimal and light; Impower is a theme of contrasting yet congruent messaging, and Biocentric is a theme inspired by the extraterrestrial and nature.”

While developing the color palettes for the coming year, Schlotter and her team derived four main shifts in consumer behavior that’s not only influencing the paint industry, but the retail ecosystem. “Consumers are looking for stability. Unsettled by the fast pace of technology and unrest in the world, consumers are trying to find stability in classic foundations and design rooted in simplicity or historical relevance. They’re also seeking ways to simplify life as an antidote to the overwhelming amount of information they receive daily and the ever-expanding complexity of their life,” said Schlotter.

home, interior design

PPG’s “HourGlass” color palette realized.  Courtesy Image

And though consumers might be downsizing, Schlotter found that consumers now possess a newfound openness to change. “Consumers are embracing change and progressively welcoming the alterations that come as a new, different way of living. Impower celebrates the singular — no matter how different — while retaining a spirit of togetherness,” she continued. “They have a desire to connect to the universe: With a philosophy that we are all connected, the desire for a stronger bond with nature extends to the cosmic elements. The galactic energy is symbolically entering our everyday life and the universe is once again becoming a design influence.”

Esoteric, yes. But not off-base and certainly not without relevance. “As consumers are beginning to shift the spending balance toward more on accommodations, food and entertainment rather than on personal goods, retailers should rely more heavily on store design to create a storyline and dialogue with the consumer that doesn’t feel artificial or forced,” Schlotter suggested.

A move away from whimsical pastels of former years, PPG’s selection of a shade of black marks a new phase of consumer mind-sets and priority. Schlotter explained, “Black offers fortitude and provides a feeling of privacy and protection amongst a current feeling of restlessness. It represents consumers’ collective somber mood. Black equally represents our increasing craving for privacy or new beginnings — the more we share in the social media world, the more we crave a little portion of our lives that remains hidden from the public eye.”

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