Design trends don't happen in a vacuum. The best ones reflect the world around us and capture the zeitgeist of the time in a way that resonates on an instinctual, gut level — and such is the case with color forecasting.
The process of predicting what groups of colors are destined to be most sought after, and which exact shade or hue should be designated color of the year, represents a democracy of style, not a dictatorship.
Sue Wadden, director of color marketing for Sherwin-Williams paint, leads a team of color clairvoyants who spend approximately nine months taking the pulse of the design world by attending industry shows like the High Point Market in North Carolina and the International Contemporary Furniture Fair show in New York, as well as subscribing to trend services such as the World Global Style Network, monitoring influential blogs like Design Milk and This Is Colossal, and traveling the world, before coming together to compare notes and determine trend direction.
It's about figuring out the colors people are going to want, before they know they want them.
"There's usually one color that's kind of transcendent," Wadden said, and this year the team kept coming back to a slate of teals.
When it finally came time to crown the color of the year for 2018, Wadden said the consensus was unanimous: Oceanside.
A deeply saturated shade of teal blue, Oceanside represents a nod toward darker interior trends, Wadden said, "but not so dark that it is overpowering. It's deep and rich."
Oceanside joins In the Moment, a serene, blue-green color with a slightly gray cast that is Behr's pick as the color to watch in 2018, and there will be many more color predictions to come before we turn the page on 2017.
When asked what colors she would suggest pairing with Oceanside, Wadden said, "I don't want to narrow the focus too much, but I really love this color as a midcentury accent color, or even as a primary wall color."
In keeping with that modernist, minimal feel, Wadden said she sees Oceanside working especially well with warmer wood tones, and colors like camel, burlap, black and brown. "I love that combination together," said Wadden, "and maybe an oxidized pop of yellow — I think that looks really cool, especially with all the warm metal finishes that are out there; copper and gold are really taking over."
In addition to naming a color of the year, the Sherwin-Williams team also presented three distinct Colormix palettes, edited collections of color, they predict will prove influential in the year ahead.
The 36 additional colors are grouped into palettes entitled Sincerity, Unity and Connectivity, with an overarching theme of unification representing a collision of international cultures and design cues.
"Whether it was craft coming out of Africa or things going on in Central and South America, it was kind of like the idea of transculturalism," Wadden said . "It's about unifying all of those regions into one collection."