PPG 2016 Colors: An ‘Odyssey’ of Life


With a record-holding cardstacker on hand to build a “City of Cards” coated with swatches of its color line, PPG Industries ceremoniously launched its 2016 Color Palette last week in the plaza of its downtown Pittsburgh headquarters.

This year’s theme is Odyssey, and its name was chosen to describe consumers’ desire for journey, newness and discovery.

“Evoking journeys and discoveries, but also the possibility of dangers, the colors of the Odyssey palette keep us alert and at the same time excited and vigilant,” said Dee Schlotter, the senior color marketing manager for PPG Architectural Coatings, in a prepared statement before the celebratory launch.

“It is a thrilling time to be alive, but it is definitely pushing most of us out of our comfort zone, as are the prominent trending colors for 2016.”

Security vs. Insecurity

During the event, Schlotter went on to say that nature, wellness and even the military were factors the PPG team considered while developing this year’s palette. The company’s global color styling team—made up of 26 people from eight countries and representing each of the company’s coating divisions—met in February to discuss what each had seen as social trends as well as consumers’ preferences.

Cardstacker Bryan Berg builds PPG Place as part of the company's 2016 color launch event.

They came away with Paradise Found, PPG’s 2016 Color of the Year. Described as a soothing green with very little blue undertone, Paradise Found “represents the ease and rejuvenation one feels in nature,” according to the company’s marketing materials.

“Paradise Found is one of those colors that helps you feel reassured,” said Schlotter.

But the palette itself represents a division between feeling reassured and striving for more security.

This year’s colors are very dark with “lots of black,” said Schlotter. Its lines include I/M Perfect, Hyper HD, Lucid Dreams and Knight’s Watch. They are blended, somewhat muted colors with an emphasis on soil, clay, green and blue.

“Brass is a huge trend this year,” said Schlotter. “There’s also a kind of Batman-like protection in the darker colors.”

To develop its palette, the color team turned to the Worth Global Style Network (WGSN), which analyzes current fashion trends. Schlotter said they also examined social media trends; looked at what hotels and restaurants were using in their themes; worked with the textile industry to coordinate colors; and examined what drove consumer preferences in the consumer electronics market as well as the automotive industry.

Schlotter said the group also looked at what millennials were buying and wearing. There’s more color in the palette than five years ago when the recession called for gray tones. Now, people are looking toward a more colorful outlook, she said.

A Select Few

In addition to Paradise Found, a few other colors in the palette already have stood out. Glidden Paint named Cappuccino White the brand’s 2016 Color of the Year, while Olympic paints picked Blue Cloud. PPG describes Cappuccino White as a color that “promotes wellness, purity, mindfulness, balance, privacy and peace,” while it calls Blue Cloud “an unapologetic blue that is easily noticed, impactful, self-expressive, social and glamorous.”

The full palette for commerce and industry contains 120 fresh colors for 2016, Schlotter said. The top 20 colors have been pulled out for the residential coating industry.

Matt Saxton / Durability+Design

Nearly 3,000 color swatches were used to "coat" the models of Heinz Field, PNC Park and PPG Place, according to PPG.

“The individual Colors of the Year across PPG’s portfolio of paint brands are truly an embodiment of Odyssey,” said Schlotter in the statement.

“Our society is on a journey of evolution,” she continued. “With our traditional beliefs and driving principles being challenged by science, technology and interconnectivity, our inner stability depends on recognizing this transformative journey and greeting both the world and the colors in it with eyes wide open to the constant reshaping of our reality.”

Launch Party

To have some fun with its color launch, PPG invited architect Bryan Berg to create a “City of Cards” in PPG Plaza. The world-famous cardstacker has held the Guinness World Record for “Tallest House of Free-Standing Playing Cards” since 1992, according to PPG.

Berg built replicas of PPG’s glass tower that is a symbolic part of Pittsburgh skyline. He also built a model of Heinz Field, the home of the Pittsburgh Steelers, and PNC Park, home of the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Matt Saxton / Durability+Design

It took Berg three days to complete the three models, which weighed 37 pounds when they were finished, according to PPG.

The architect used 10,000 playing cards to build PPG Place, while the sports arenas used 5,000 cards a piece, Schlotter said. He started building on Wednesday (Sept. 30) and put the finishing touches on it Friday (Oct. 2).

Berg then “painted” the models using color cards from the Odyssey palette. Berg said coating a model after it was done was a first for him.

PPG created several time-lapse videos of Berg building the models over three days. They can be seen on PPG’s The Voice of Color YouTube channel.


Tagged categories: Architectural coatings; Asia Pacific; Color + Design; Color + Design; Color forecasts; Color guides; Color selection; Color trends; EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa); Latin America; North America; PPG; PPG Voice of Color

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