By Montaha Hidefi, Color Marketing Group
For over half a century, Color Marketing Group® (CMG), a not-for-profit international organization, has produced and delivered an annual color forecast two years into the future. This year is no different. CMG revealed its 2023+ World Color Forecast™ at its Virtual International Summit held at the beginning of November 2021.
The CMG World Color Forecast detects and expresses the movement of colors within the color space. It is a manifestation of societal changes, economic and political climates, environmental shifts, and technological and scientific advancements. It interprets, through color, the human psychology as a response to these movements.
The forecast represents the collective research of its members and guests who come together at the annual in-person and virtual, local, and international ChromaZone® Color Forecasting Workshops. Based on their expertise in color, they share, interpret, and discuss their observations to create and forecast colors with the goal of enhancing manufactured goods and turning a shared passion for color into business opportunities.
Influences on the CMG Forecast
The research and discussions leading to CMG’s 2023+ World Color Forecast recognized technology, space exploration, climate change, the acceleration of digitalization and digital consumerism, among the major mega and macro trends that will drive consumer products and services through design, materials, and color as we delve forward into this decade.
With the start of the 2020s, the world was pulled into the vicious circle of the pandemic. While the efforts of scientists, virologists, physicians, politicians, corporations, and members of the public continue to lessen the impact of the pandemic, or put it behind us, the sequels of the pandemic will continue to influence our lives and therefore design, materials, and colors. This is because color and color forecasting express a portion of our psychology as humans.
In the Asia-Pacific region, the CMG Forecasting Committee 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. It is a matter of extreme urgency to adopt technologies that will find environmentally sound solutions for the future of battery storage and recyclability, which will have a direct impact on vehicle design, materials, finishes and colors.
In Europe, the Forecasting Committee emphasized the importance of sensibly sourced materials in a world of environmental difficulties and raw material shortages. The shifts in design, handling, and manufacturing processes will have a great impact on materials. The longevity of design and products was highlighted as a crucial aspect of future design.
For the Latin American Forecasting Committee, local customs and traditional use of natural pigments exploited from local resources for hundreds of years will not become less important because of new technologies. They will continue to play an intrinsic role in the forecast.
The North American Forecasting Committee acknowledged that space tourism and civilian space exploration have become a reality. The blend of reality with technology has landed firmly, and the future is unfolding now. In addition, the work from home and the acceleration of everything virtual have marked a key shift in the paradigms related to work ethics and how that is influencing design and color. These technological advancements will have a great impact on our psychology and sociology and, therefore, will greatly affect design and consumer choices.
Climate change was a subject collectively discussed by all regions. Color forecasters said that taking responsibility for our actions and reducing our footprint is no longer an option, but an obligation that lands upon us all. To heal the planet and heal ourselves, we must all be accountable. We must recalibrate and be optimistic.
CMG 2023+ World Color Forecast™
The CMG World Color Forecast for 2023 and beyond reveals a predominant direction of warmness emanating from yellow and red-based colors. This warmth is balanced by the freshness and calmness induced by blue and green-based colors. Purple will be giving space to magenta pinks and dusty, near-neutrals situated between gray and mauve on the color spectrum.
Comforting, earthy, yellow, and red hues, with medium-to-high chromaticness will prevail in North America but will emerge with lesser saturation in South America. The traditional patriotic red will make a comeback, while yellow and orange colors will become less significant than in previous years in the Asia-Pacific region. The warm tones will be less prominent in the European region driving forward a cool edge of low-chroma, cloudy blue and green shades. A softer approach to lower-saturation colors represents Europe’s continuous search for balance and harmony with nature.
As a symbol of water and the skies, blue will be most significant in the North and Latin American regions. The influence of blue will be palpable as an ecological color that flows in our daily lives. The overall appearance of blue in the Southern Hemisphere will be vibrant, inspiring new opportunities as we move ahead. In contrast, green, symbol of nature and the exploration of our surroundings, will have a reduced influence, and the tendency will be for yellow-based greens. In the Northern Hemisphere, the freshness of blue and green hues will play a balancing role with the soiled yellow and brown-orange colors. In Asia Pacific, the cool colors are expected to shelter back. However, those remaining in the forecast will be warmed up with red influences.
Purple will be rather contracting in the Asia-Pacific and European regions. With the introduction of muted, achromatic, blue-influenced grays that look like lilac, the Forecast envisages purple morphing into neutrality. Inversely, North America will be rejoicing with bright, digitally inspired purple, while South America is introducing pale, blue-based lavender symbolizing the ambivalent emotions as we veer away from the pandemic.
Snug, nuanced neutrals gain a considerable spot in the color forecast. This echoes the raised awareness and prominence of responsible design and sensibly sourced materials. The shift in how designers are examining and selecting the source of colorants, and how companies are handling the manufacturing processes will have a major impact on materials, driving many to display colors that resemble those obtained by fibers blended during the recycling process or outsourced by plant-based strands.
In Latin America, neutrals will exhibit yellow-green and blue-green nuances, denoting the stillness of our desire to turn off all our devices to enjoy being offline. In Europe and North America, the subtleties of the neutrals will be influenced by red, while in Asia Pacific they will appear either with a warm, yellow-red influence or with a cool, purple feel, adding a sense of balance to the forecast.
What is most remarkable in the 2023+ World Color Forecast is the evidenced, cyclic aspect of color. The forecast confirms that color moves forward in cycles. The pandemic effects of isolation triggered a nostalgic feeling to the past—any past. Since the future remains enigmatic, we long to past eras in a world devoid of COVID-19. Numerous colors are revived from past decades. Many of them are making a comeback due to the entrance of new generations into the markets and their willingness to explore colors they are not familiar with from the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, or post-9/11 and post-economic crash.
The influence of technology and space exploration is ushering a fluorescent glow into the forecast. Many colors for North America and Asia Pacific are predicted to display luminous qualities as if they were backlit with neon-like light sources. In Europe, metallic effects will add vibrancy to some of the muffled, dark shades.
2023+ Key Colors
For each region, CMG designates a “Key Color.” The Key Color is carefully chosen based on its importance and significance to the color direction, and how it connects to the regional color stories.
The Key Color for Asia Pacific is “E.V.” 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, as we witness the world deliberating the shift to battery-powered vehicles and alternative energy, 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, conventionally used as symbol of the environment, gives ground to a vibrant blue to communicate environmentally related matters.
The Key Color for Europe is “Revival Green.” Effortless to the eyes, this delicate, blue-based green symbolizes the embedding of our love for nature and represents our need to protect it. Natural colors will enhance consumer’s choices in selecting more environmentally friendly products. 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 toward the right direction.
The Key Color for Latin America is “Mirada Alegre,” which in Spanish means “joyful look.” A creamy, soft orange with a sense of balance between yellow and red, Mirada Alegre personifies the light our hearts diffuse to the outside world. It represents the energy drawn to allow us to recapture 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.
The Key Color for North America is Bohld, a true, unnuanced, grounding, rich, universal black that represents strength and power moving to new days. Its darkness is not sad nor subdued, but rather 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 celebrates diversity and inclusion. It is a color of positive transformation. Bohld celebrates each person.
A Distinctive and Relevant Color Forecast
The distinctive characteristic of the CMG World Color Forecast derives from its exclusivity to members, the details of which are not available for sale to the public. The forecast is relevant to individual and corporate members because it is created by color forecasters, designers, marketers, scientists, students and professors who represent a vast array of consumer and industrial sectors, including paints and coatings, pigments, surface materials, automotive, appliances, architecture, building products, fashion, cosmetics, lighting, flooring, wall coverings, teletronics, robotics, as well as visual communications.
Speculations vs. Facts
The wealth of insights and data conveyed through a CMG Color Forecast eliminates the assumptions and speculations about the colors that will appear in the market and sell the following years. It allows an organization to save time and resources by projecting and planning its product lines and supply chains based on a reliable and dependable resource, curated by a credible, professional international organization in the field of color.
CMG color forecasters do not gaze into crystal balls to predict future colors. They follow an extensive, established process that begins with observations, research, workshops, discussions, and culminates into color stories that are backed with a color forecast.
About the Author
Montaha Hidefi, MIB, CMG is a color archeologist, writer, public speaker, and vice president, color forecasting at Color Marketing Group. Contact her at montaha.hidefi (at) yahoo.com. Learn more at www.colormarketing.org.