It’s that time of year again – this is my FOURTH annual color forecast! Every year I do a deep dive on high fashion and figure out what the top designers like Gucci and Fendi are doing in color – what the paint companies like Pantone and Sherwin Williams are doing, and finally what Pantone and other color experts are predicting. All of this – to bring you the most definitive, and powerful color guide for 2019.
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Paying attention to high fashion
Why should you pay attention to high fashion brands colors?
Fashion designers spend all day looking for colors that will appeal to a high-end audience. In addition to the textures, shapes, fit and layering that they are constantly perfecting – their eye for color is always being sharpened.
A fashion designer – can spot a trend from a mile away, and needs to make a decision to whether they want to avoid it, or to ride it. As a designer myself (albeit of the web / graphic variety) I try to avoid the ‘trendiest’ color palettes – and instead opt for simple, classy, and timeless ones. That way, my style won’t be completely out of fashion in a year or two.
That being said – here are the trends!
Brown is big.
Cavern Clay is Sherwin Williams color of the year, and it’s hard to say what cam first – this prediction, or all of the fashion all directed at it. Certainly – there’s something in the water, and light to medium shades of brown seem to have gotten into many of the high-end lines I looked at for this article.
Amongst the tans, mauves, and olive greens – this strong color, stands prominently in our color forecast.
It seems to be more fresh than any of the other color trends I identified, and frankly I’m happy there’s something new to report! The tans, olives, ‘confetti style’, blues and blacks below – are all stronger trends than ever, but this one to me feels entirely new, and refreshing. I love how much this shows up, and am excited to use this in some upcoming designs.
Black and Blue
A bright, uncut blue has been making it’s way onto the scene for awhile – from graphic designers utilizing it in there portfolio’s to brand identities that embrace it with a fervor a color so bold doesn’t normally get. Along side it softened blues get there play this year as well – often paired with earth tones, and along side black. All black outfits are in – according to many fashion designers, and I’ll take it – since I wear black so much.
I’m definitely curious if the bright blue trend will see it’s year – or if this is just the end fizzle of what has been brewing for years now.
Tan, Olive Green, and Earth Tones
Kanye seemed to be coming out the wild with his burlap sack inspired fashion statements at album releases – crowds of models standing there in the same tan outfit like zombies.
But what do we have here?
The fashion world has embraced the tan, earth tones, and olive green more than ever in the 2019 lines – and the trend is successfully blossoming into a full-blown phenomenon. My favorite look here is the olive green, paired with white and tan.
I’m just curious to see how this plays out into normal folks wardrobes over the next year – will people embrace this simplicity, or will it be reserved for the high fashion lines and few fashion forward individuals?
White with bright / translucent pattern on top
I like to think of this style as being inspired by confetti cake – but not all of the iterations in this vein can be summed up this way. The overarching idea is that brighter and lighter colored patterns on white fabric have been growing in popularity for a couple years now – and perhaps it’s reaching a point now where they’ve gotten really cool and somewhat sophisticated.
Why is this – almost 90’s trapper keeper style design taking off now? Perhaps the generation that is defining style heavily now barely remembers the last time of some of this was big, making it feel novel.
Boring Brightness is back, Gucci lost the plot
I’m usually so complimentary of Gucci – it kind of makes me sad, that I just can’t get behind their color decisions this year. Frankly – these colors are fine, but 3-5 years ago these kinds of colors were prominent, and to me you either have to wait longer – or not wait so long.
Bright colors to me are not a trend. I could be wrong, or I may just disagree with a part of fashion – I usually don’t take a stance, as much as I share and analyze a bit, but to me this direction feels wrong and kind of cheesy.
I don’t say this lightly – because there are so many cool and worthwhile new directions in color for 2019, but it looks like Gucci just got bored and started throwing stuff up on stage without really considering where they were in the color trend cycle. Or I’ll eat my words and be praising fluorescents next year!
Why you should pay attention to Pantone & paint company predictions
You know who cares about color?
Companies that depend on being somewhat right about color for their revenue.
I love sorting through color predictions – color forecasts, and color ideas posts – here are a couple to kick you off if you haven’t checked the others out yet.
Pantone names ‘Living Coral’ as 2019 Color of The Year
No doubt the context for this color matters a lot (I love this Living Coral against this bluish backdrop)– but Pantone also did release some colors during and after Fashion Week – here are some that I like:
Sherwin Williams comes in strong this year with ‘Cavern Clay’ as it’s color of the year. A very strong – deep color, that jives with some of the loveliest elements from 2019 high fashion lines.
Playing it safe – Benjamin Moore gives an understated grey as it’s color of the year. Based on all of the earth tones in other’s predictions and lines – designing around subtlety and shadow is not a bad bet, it’s just also not a bold bet.
I’ve enjoyed taking this deep dive into color for 2019 – and can’t wait to hear what your favorite colors are for 2019!
Won’t you share a color in the comments that myself and other readers can check out?
Take issue with something I said, or have a completely different take (on Gucci for instance)? I’d love to hear why you think differently, and would love to consider other ideas.
Thank you so much for reading – and join me next year for my 5th Annual color forecast!