THE PANDEMIC HAS RE-WIRED HOW DESIGNERS APPROACH COLOUR CHOICES
In less than three years there has been a seismic shift in the influences that are driving branding and packaging colour trends today. Data from a pulse check study with 500 UK designers explores the impact of the last few years on predictions made in James Cropper’s 2019 Progressive Palettes Report.
In the original study, designers predicted that technology would be the top influence on colour by 2029, followed by social media. However, 2022 research shows that only 8% of designers think technology has influence on colour trends today, compared to 22% in 2019. Instead, social media and environmental consciousness are leading.
Likewise, social influences now have gravitas according to 20% of the pulse survey sample commissioned by James Cropper, compared with only 10% in the 2019 report from the colour experts.
The research reflects the impact which events of recent years have had on all aspects of life and business. Political unrest, climate change and most prominently the global pandemic have re-wired how designers are approaching colour choices.
We’re in uncharted territory. We can see this in the approach to colour in all areas; a great example being this year’s Pantone Colour of the Year which, for the first time in Pantone history, was a completely new shade. This is a reflection of the transformative times we are living in.Alison Rodwell, Colour Trend Expert for James Cropper
Colour is a critical form of communication, affecting the way we engage and connect. This is illustrated further by our study, with an interest in retro trends coming through strongly amongst the design community. It’s easy to understand how the social impact of the pandemic, world focus on climate change and politics has created this yearning for happier times. Likewise, colours which signify hope and stability are high on the agenda of designers.
Another major influence identified by the latest research is nature. With more of the population spending time outdoors these past two years, nature has become a major driver of colour choices.
This is something the colour experts at James Cropper have responded to with the development of an industry first in coloured paper. The new Wainwright Colours from Nature range uses dye derived from plant extract which would have otherwise been wasted, offering a palette of natural tones.
Looking to the future, the ‘phygital’ world is set to become a major consideration as the physical and digital merge in spaces such as the Metaverse. This is again demonstrated by Pantone’s 2022 Colour of the Year, Very Peri - illustrating the fusion of modern life and how colour trends in the digital world are being manifested in the physical world and vice versa.
Almost half of the designers who participated in the study agreed that the emergence of the Metaverse is a crucial moment for brands, as they look to translate their colour identity into virtual reality.
With reliance on technology to work, shop and socialise during the pandemic, strategies for how colours transcend the physical and digital has become more important than ever.
This latest piece of insight shows how quickly colour influences can change.
Despite being predicted as the foremost influencer within a decade in 2019, technology is now reported to have the least influence.
With the unbelievable pace at which technological innovations are advancing, there is now an argument that the industry sees growth in technology as a given. Keeping up to speed is important, but tech is now a channel in its own right, rather than an influence on colour selection and trends.Chris Schofield, Head of Design at James Cropper COLOURFORM
With close to two centuries of papermaking heritage, James Cropper has established a reputation for its colour expertise. Its on-site colour lab holds around 2,000 live shades that the mill regularly produces, with some 200,000 colours stored electronically. The company has been active in growing its technical capabilities in paper products and moulded packaging in line with the increasing significance of colour when it comes to brand identity and packaging design.