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The Global Shift in the World of Color Forecasting

Photo: Delpixart, iStock/Getty Images Plus, via Getty Images

By Montaha Hidefi, Vice President Color Forecasting, Color Marketing Group, Ontario, Canada

In PCI’s January issue, I examined the Color Marketing Group® (CMG) 2022+ World Color Forecast™ (WCF). In this issue, I am analyzing CMG’s 2023+ World Color Forecast, which was released in November 2021 at CMG’s second Virtual International Summit. This Color Forecast resulted from over 150 hours of discussions among CMG members and guests that gathered at 16 virtual international ChromaZone® Color Forecasting Workshops between January and July of 2021.

One of the most important aspects of CMG’s 2023+ World Color Forecast is that it revealed a major shift happening in the world of color forecasting. Color is growing to be globally interwoven. The geographical boundaries are crumbling, and colors are being adopted across borders regardless of regional preferences and cultural backgrounds.

Consumers from around the world have become inclined to explore and adopt colors curated for other regions and continents or rejuvenated from old periods. This is not only due to the expansion of digitalization, but it also highlights the growing publicization of color and the increased awareness about the importance of color forecasting on a global scale.

The Color Forecast also highlighted the cyclic aspect of color. Many colors are making a comeback from past periods, with a refreshed symbolism. This is owing to various reasons, including the similarity of societal, economic, political and environmental factors, the nostalgia for better, previous time periods, and the enthusiasm of new generations entering the markets and their disposition to discover and consume colors they are unfamiliar with.

2023+ Color Direction

For 2023+ the color landscape will be largely dominated by blue, which will become more important than green. This represents our need to cleanse and wash away the effects of the pandemic. Red and orange will fall in second place. Despite the new aspect of global color dissemination, CMG continues to explore the regional nuances in color preferences and presents its WCF by regions.

Technology and space exploration are also steering a wider movement towards adding fluorescence and luminous qualities to colors, as if colors were backlit with neon-like light sources.

Well-Adjusted Color Forecast for North America

For 2023+, CMG identified technology and digitalization, climate change, and self-recalibration and optimism as the three major macro trends that will influence design, materials and color when it comes to consumer products and services in North America.

The color direction predicts a well-adjusted Color Forecast dwarfed by an expansion of cool blues and fringed by warm, red hues. The prediction anticipates the appearance of warm, dark blues that will add a frame of seriousness to the stylish, cool tones. The green family will continue to trend, but to a lesser extent than blue.

The warm reds will sport different aspects of chromaticness and darkness. Orange will spread in strength and intensity with earthy, quasi-brown tones. The bright pinks and magenta, widespread for 2022, will continue their ascent and are expected to appear with neon-like intensities.

The tinted neutrals, expected to be strong in 2022, will withdraw at the expense of genuine colors displaying their true nature.

Facial expression, Forehead, Nose, Cheek, Skin, Lip, Chin, Eyebrow, Mouth, Eyelash

To highlight the importance of diversity and inclusion, CMG North America Forecasting Committee selected Bohld as the 2023+ Key Color. A genuine, unnuanced black, Bohld represents power and strength as we move to new days. Its darkness is not sad nor subdued, but contemplative and expressive, exciting and courageous. The reckoning of race, gender identity, age, accessibility, financial inequity and prejudice will usher in a culture that overpowers fear with mindful dialogue, deeply inspiring and embracing the changes underway. Bohld is a color of positive transformation and celebration of the self and others.

Balanced Color Forecast for Latin America

Latin America is opening a window of hope to a yet unknown post-pandemic 2023+ era to find a glimpse of light that will help to reconstruct a normal life. With the consideration of a possible return of quarantine stages that may be amplified by the feeling of fear experienced during the pandemic, hope is essential to the region’s continuation. As humans, we will continue to evolve, but in different ways. Healing of the self and others drives the color stories for Latin America.

The Color Forecast foresees a reassuring symmetry of equally directional warm reds and cool blues. These are supported by tinted neutrals to add constancy and usher a sense of balance. The prediction is for high-intensity colors that characterized the mid- to late-2010s forecast years.

There is a reduced influence of yellow on the overall forecast and an intensified role of blue, which corresponds to the feelings of freshening up and the need to cleansing and washing away the effects of the pandemic.

People in nature, Happy, Gesture, Font

For its 2023+ Key Color, the Latin America CMG Steering Committee opted for a creamy, soft orange with a sense of balance between yellow and red. Mirada Alegre, Spanish for “Joyful Look”, personifies the light our hearts diffuse to the outside world. It represents the energy drawn to allow us to recuperate the lost moments of our lives as the pandemic ravaged our existence. With this orange tone, and within this orange space, we are allowed to celebrate life and regain that joy we once had in another time before the pandemic.

Warm-Blooded Color Forecast for Asia Pacific

The 2023+ Asia Pacific Color Forecast questioned the practicality of adopting electric vehicles beyond urban areas. Since this is closely connected to the availability of green power, the source of the green power remains questionable. CMG Asia Pacific Steering Committee underlined the extreme urgency to adopting technologies that will find environmentally sound solutions for the future of electric vehicles, battery storage and recyclability, which will have a direct impact on vehicles design, materials, finishes and colors.

Since the pandemic delayed the launch of new products in many markets of Asia Pacific, the 2023+ Color Forecast may represent an extension of the 2022 color direction.

The Color Forecast predicts traditional reds, warm yellow, and orange to become important in 2023. Blushed and blue-based pinks are also prominent in the Color Forecast.

The cooler, blue family will display paler or bright, tech-influenced qualities, while the green family will retreat. Tinted neutrals are predicted to be dark and somber. They add a sense of steadiness to the forecast.

Automotive lighting, Motor vehicle, Car, Wheel, Bus, Window, Product

To raise awareness about the importance of clean energy, CMG Asia Pacific Steering Committee adopted E.V. as the 2023+ Key Color. An allusion to electric vehicles, E.V. is a luminous, neon-like blue with whispers of natural green notes. This color telegraphs the enthusiasm around the topic of clean energy and new methods of sustainability, and the associated issues yet to be resolved. It represents mobility, not only in the sense of transportation, but also in the determination to move forward with new revolutionary technologies for clean energy. The foliage green color, commonly used as symbol of the environment, gives ground to a vibrant blue to communicate environmentally related matters.

Sensibly Sourced Color Forecast for Europe

The 2023+ Color Forecast for Europe underlines the significance of sensibly sourced materials as we experience environmental issues and raw material shortages. We must focus on being responsible for our own actions and making sure our renewed creativity transforms our dreams into reality. The longevity of design and products is highlighted as a crucial aspect of future design and color in the region.

In Europe, the shifts in design paradigms, material handling and new manufacturing processes will influence color appearance and color consumption to a great extent. The colors will display the visual appearance of recycled materials.

The Color Forecast exhibits a conservative, subdued mood with few, vibrant color bursts. While all color families are represented in the forecast, with various degrees of underlying dominance, the overall temperature of the forecast is cool, with the predominance of blue and greens. The colors will display a soft, gentle and comforting allure. They will play an essential role in boosting the longevity of design and products.

People in nature, Human body, Hand, Arm, Sleeve, Happy, Wood, Gesture, Finger, Grass

CMG European Forecasting Committee opted for Revival Green, a delicate, natural, blue-based green as the 2023+ Key Color, symbolizing our love for nature and representing our need to protect her. Revival Green incarnates the need for further sustainable lifestyles and caring for ourselves. But to be able to do so, we first need to care for our planet. Living in sync with Mother Earth is a necessity articulated by the subtle, greyish, blue influences of this green shade. It does not scream for change nor optimism, but it carefully pushes us towards the right direction. Natural colors will enhance consumer’s choices in selecting more environmentally friendly products.