July 2013

by Gaia Mueller

Gaia and Rob Mueller own the Benjamin Moore Kelowna on Springfield Road


Have you ever wondered how, from cars to clothes to curtains, manufacturers seem to emerge with the same colour and pattern trends at pretty much the same time? Do you think it’s a coincidence that the grey and yellow chevron cushions you got at Winners conveniently match the shower curtain you got at Ikea? How serendipitous that, the same week, you see a similar chevron wallpaper on Houzz (which, if you haven’t discovered, you need to: www.houzz.com). In fact, from car companies to fashion houses, those in “the know” actually “know” at least two years ahead of most of us. How do they know so far ahead and how can the average consumer get a leg up on trends?

The Business of Colour and Design Forecasting
Yellow ChairTo answer the first question, predicting trends is big business. Especially in industries with a long production cycle and a big price ticket, designers need to know years ahead-of-time what colours and textures will be “in”. Manufacturers need to be confident consumers will like the particular metallic sheen as well as colour of their car, for example. And they need to know this long enough to design cars in one country, produce them in another, and sell them in many. In the voracious and fickle fashion industry, on the other hand, the production cycle is quick enough to respond to micro-changes in consumer desires.

In a very predictable manner, trends move from high fashion to commercial interiors to consumer textiles to residential interiors. These trends are heavily influenced by the TV and movie industry (Brooks Brothers just came out with a Great Gatsby collection), the economy (think ‘80s grunge), and technology (we’re even starting to get “smart” fabrics). Research shows that 60% of the time, people will decide if they are attracted to a product or message based on colour. In a sea of otherwise pretty-equal toothbrushes, cars, houses, or yoghurts, how do you choose the “right” one for you? Colour.

Trends for 2014
We’ve already seen that 2013 has been dominated by blues in all moods (from grey-blues to green blues to the classic Monaco blue) and punctuated by cheery yellows (like Benjamin Moore’s colour of the year Lemon Sorbet 2019-60) and greens (like Pantone’s Emerald Green). This all against a background of grey, the new neutral.

Looking to 2014, blue will continue to be dominant. Blue is the colour of security (think the UN flag), trust (think the Allstate logo), productivity (think IBM/”Big Blue”), and calmness (6 of Crayolas’s top 10 colours are blues). In a world made uncertain by political, technological, and economic changes, blue is reassuring. Other ascendant colours: olive greens, orangey reds, sunny yellows, grayed purples, and soft whites will work against a warm grey background. Effects and textures have also been predicted.

2014 will be dominated by more geometric patterns (think of those bold chevron prints I mentioned). As well, ombrés will emerge in all fields. For example, Loyal Hair Therapy already advertises its ability to give you an ombré effect. Ombré will soon become omnipresent. Lastly, we will be seeing more reinvention of traditional materials and techniques. For example, crochet will be remade with laser technology in architectural forms and fabrics.

Whatever you think of trends, they are big business for small and big businesses. Knowing what colours and trends are coming up in the next year can help us make informed decisions about what to invest in. Whether it’s a new car (go with a warm matte metallic finish) or a new pair of jeans (go with a green-to-pink ombré), design forecasters predict and, arguably, determine what we want.

Colour Pulse 2012

2012 is about preservation and sustainability

On Thursday, June 9, we will be hosting a big celebration of colour and inspiration. Leigh-Ann Allaire of CityLine will be the keynote speaker and is coming to presentColour Pulse 2012.  She will be followed by Leon Bustin, BC’s Benjamin Moore go-to guy, who will be speaking to the idea that If You Love our Colours, You’ll Love our Paint


For those of you who don’t know, Leigh-Ann is an incredible decorating artist, with experience both residentially and commercially.  Her knowledge ranges from colour choices and stories to how to transform your spaces on a “frugalista” budget. 


Silhouette Art

A recent example of the confluence of all these areas of expertise is her idea of “silhouette art.”  What better way to “personalize” your home and even immortalize your dog on the wall?

See Leigh-Ann in Action

Check out how Leigh-Ann transforms a desk and chair on CityLine TV: