The state of the economy exerts a surprisingly strong influence on people’s use and choice of color, according to a new study by AkzoNobel, the world’s largest paint and coatings company.
Although regional preferences 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, the company’s analysis showed.
“During an economic downturn, neutral colors such as black, white and grays 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.
Neutrals dominated at the end of the 20th century on the eve of Y2K, Kraneveld reports, but colors re-emerged as millennium fears faded.
Currently, “sober whites and off-whites” dominate in Western Europe, while beige and gray are most popular in the United States. “In Asia, however, fresh colors such as clean yellows, pink and light blue are preferred, which could well be related to the local economy.”
These trends are likely to shift again in the months and years ahead, she adds.
“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 are part of AkzoNobel’s Color Futures, which provides international style and design trends for interiors and exteriors. The company’s brands include Dulux, Flexa and Sikkens. The study’s release coincided with the release of the company’s color trends for 2010.
“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.
“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.”
For more information, visit www.akzonobel.com.