Top 10 Colour Trends for 2013

2013 bannerHappy New Year to you!  Thankfully it transpired that the 2012ers were mistaken and the Apocalypse was not nigh after all.  Hoorah and welcome to 2013 … a year when the world of design stretches out towards extreme newness whilst also ensuring the romance of the past is never out of reach.

This year colours both invigorate and calm us: fluoro’s meet diffused pastels; iced coloured-metallics gives the year it’s most alluring surface effect; intriguing tinted nudes offer us a New Normal; faded vintage tones draw strength from mysterious opium den ultra-darks; audacious brights announce retro-revivals; tribal tones shout from the depths of lush rainforests.  Mature, optimistic, intense, dynamic and sophisticated … colours are set to be more nuanced and complex during 2013: chip bannerSo let’s begin our year of blogging with a rundown of some of the key colours for 2013.  We’ve taken the colour chips below from a selection of our Spring/Summer 2013 and Autumn/Winter 2013/14 trends for Interiors.  Whether you’re a Designer, Manufacturer, Retailer or Marketing Guru these colours will help to make your work relevant this year.  If you’re a Journalist or Blogger you’re welcome to share this info with your readers & followers by linking to this page or cutting & pasting the info…all we ask is that you please credit Scarlet Opus as the source and link back to us.  So in no particular order…


We spotted this colour being used by just a few Designers towards the end of last year as an all over mono, but we forecast it will be much more widely applied this year.  You’ll be amazed how many other colours it works brilliantly with including deep pinks as you can see on our Origins trend board!


It’s an on-trend material as well as a key shade for 2013.  Concrete shakes off its ugly reputation thanks to brilliant innovations and brave applications by Product Designers.  Stick to light-to-mid shades (with a matt finish) and simply think of it as you would any other neutral colour when pairing it with other colours.


Transitioning from hazy pink to lilac and into the realms of violet, this intangible colour can be used to give products an otherworldly incandescence.   It is most effective when applied to products made from transparent materials.  Purchase our ARTificial trend board as a visual guide for your own work and to understand the best colour combinations.


Tinged with a hint of blue this green is super-refreshing.  It works well when applied as a solid to products with a retro 50s/60s styling, acting as a bridge between playful pastels & brights (see our Motel trend board), or as an accent in futuristic and dark ‘galaxy’ inspired surface pattern designs. 


Apricot, Peach, Coral … call it what you will, but this pinky orange makes its presence felt in several trends during 2013 (including our Orient trend).  It works equally well with delicate pastel or bright fluoro pinks, lilacs, pale jade greens, plum shades, dark peacock colours or greys.


Decadent dark purples and heady wine tones introduce unabashed glamour and opulence to room schemes during 2013.  One of the most interesting shades was used by GUCCI for their Autumn/Winter catwalk carpet colour.  For furniture & flooring especially, this sumptuous shade is a must!


Dangerous ‘dusk to dawn’ ultra-darks provide 2013 with its most intriguing and complex hues.  Though they appear to be almost black, these twilight shades are in fact tinted with blue, green or purple.  The most important shade from this family is Petrol Blue –  possessing both blue & green nuances, it looks great with our next colour!


When it comes to metals or metallic effects, 2013 is the year to favour copper.  From actual copper pendent lights to furniture upholstered in copper-coloured velvet (like the gorgeous Houston chair by Munna we spotted at TENT during London Design Festival), make this your metal of choice.  


Deep and mysterious yet super-stylish and soothing – from purple tinted indigo to luxuriously velveteen sapphire – 2013 is a big year for rich blues.  They should give a sense of tranquility, certainty and steadfastness – always projecting subdued glamour and integrity.  So Chic.   


The perfect shade of Green for 2013 it encapsulates the historical ‘Eclectic Collector’ trend for Interiors and the bohemian ‘Dandy Gentleman’ trend in Fashion.  Plus the drink is enjoying a renaissance.  After decades of prohibition it’s time to be seen sipping Absinthe this year!

mixology101_absintheThe Scarlet Opus team will be blogging throughout 2013, casting our expert eyes over the world of Design, providing coverage of shows from around the world, and most crucially, giving you a heads-up on what’s coming next so you can stay ahead of your competitors!

Thanks to Sarah Newman from DesignBark and Dominic Crinson whose images appear in the montage banner near the top of this post.

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Top 10 Colours for 2012

Happy New Year to you!  I’m really excited about 2012.  My New Year’s resolution is to push aside the Media doom mongers and instead embrace all that the year has to offer.  No doubt it will be challenging at times but as someone wise once said “Happiness is not the absence of problems but the ability to deal with them.”  The Scarlet Opus team will be blogging throughout the year, casting our eyes over the world of Design, providing coverage of shows from around the world, and most crucially, giving you a heads-up on whats coming next so you can stay ahead of the pack! 

So let’s begin our year of blogging with a rundown of some of the key colours for 2012.  I’ve taken the colour chips below from a selection of our Spring/Summer 2012 and Autumn/Winter 2012/13 trend boards, to offer you a broad insight into our trend forecasts for the next 12 months.  You are welcome to link to this page on your own blog or cut & paste the info so your readers can benefit too…all we ask is that you please mention Scarlet Opus as the source.  So in no particular order…

VITAMIN C: High in energy and packed with positivity, Orange comes bursting into our lives with the vibrancy we need to succeed this year.  This colour sets the tone for a new attitude.  Yes Orange has been on the scene for a while in Interiors, but it’s use hasn’t been daring until now.  It’s usually given a ‘safe’ treatment by being associated with Retro 50’s & 60’s styling, calmed down by pairing it with Camel or given an exotic twist with Turquoise.  But now is the time to team Orange with an array of upbeat Brights, including our next colour…

PLUGGED-IN PINK: This is a confident & intense Pink.  There’s nothing girly about it.  It plays a crucial role in the branding of the London 2012 Olympics.  It is youthful and hi-impact!  If you didn’t see London’s New Years Eve fireworks display then check out the official BBC coverage here on youtube – it gives a flavour of what we can expect from the Summer Games this year.  Note: now is a great time to begin to develop fluorescent accent colours for your product range.  As we look ahead to 2013 it’ll be all about the glo!

OLYMPIC BLUE: I promise to stop banging-on about the Olympics as soon as we’ve dealt with this Blue.  It is a very optimistic colour (Pantone 312C which also translates into 16-4834TPX).  Yes it has strong water connotations and a sporty edge, but overall it simply has a fresh feeling which is perfect for conveying a fresh outlook.  It feels very Now, and like the Vitamin C & Plugged-In Pink mentioned above, it looks amazing when blocked together with other bright colours.  I personally love it when used as an accent with Concrete Grey.

HIGHLIGHTER: It’s another unashamedly bright colour.  As I’ve mentioned, it’s a great time to begin to explore Fluoro’s and Neon’s…they just get bigger during 2013 so you can be confident of their longevity beyond this years seasons.  In many cases the application of Fluoro’s & Neon’s is most successful as an accent…but with this Highlighter Yellow/Green you can go for an all over solid block!  It certainly looks full-on so if the all over look isn’t for you then team it with Grey, Olympic Blue, Plugged-In Pink or a dark Oceanic Blue.

ASTRAL AURA: I’m not sure how this changeant colour is coming across on your screen but it should be a very dark ‘sky at night’ effect, transitioning from blue-purple to amethyst-purple…like the backdrop to the Northern Lights.  Shelley will be looking at this spectacular phenomenon in more detail in a future posting in relation to design trends, but in the mean time it is effective as a grounding colour alongside icy pastels and works brilliantly well (with some sparkle or shimmer) when used in conjunction with deep Oceanic Blues.

MINT: If you clicked on the Northern Lights link above, then you’ll have seen a Minty colour cropped-up in lots of the photos.  Mint Green is seen in our Autumn/Winter 2012/13 forecast and, looking forward, has a stronger presence in the following season.  If you decide to work with this colour for an Autumn/Winter range release then take the icy or luminous route…if it’s for Spring/Summer then make it more opaque for a retro vibe.  Also try using it with a clouded Rose Quartz for a vintage-look. 

PEACOCK: This is a colour that has worked well over several seasons, but I’ve included it in my Top 10 Colours for 2012 because of 1 of our Autumn/Winter 2012/13 trends we call Emporium.  When the Members Area is launched here soon, Shelley will cover this stunning trend in more detail.  It is a highly embellished look for Interiors inspired by a fusion of history’s Great Empires: Byzantine, Roman, Egyptian.  It is apologetically ornate, but never ostentatious!  Also expect to see a Parisian Art Deco styling…this colour suits perfectly.

PEWTER: 2012 requires the confident mixing of metallics (mixed with other metallics and also used with contrasting materials e.g. inlaid into exotic woods or used in conjunction with cork…I’m LOVING Cork right now!), and palest brushed gold, delicate Rose Gold, polished Steel and warm Copper continue to be relevant for Interior products throughout the year.  However it’s tarnished Pewter that has made it into our Top 10 rundown.  Full of character, it works best when lightly blackened.

LAPIS LAZULI: If I had to point to 1 Blue that will work across a broad range of products and will also appeal to both Contemporary and Classic consumer design tastes, then Lapis Lazuli is IT!  We could call it Sapphire (it’s that kind of Blue) but Lapis Lazuli links us again with the Great Empires of Ancient History, as it was used so strikingly by the Egyptians and Romans.  This is a colour to be brave with…it needs to be applied as a solid block.  It’ll look equally stunning on large pieces – like a sofa, or small items – like a lamp.

MONROE RED: This is a rich Red…think Marilyn Monroe lipstick!   If you saw our December RoundUp Posting you will know that in August it’ll be 50 years since the untimely death of the actress (to see a full month-by-month rundown of the major events in 2012 which will be influential, click the above link and scroll towards the bottom of the posting).  This Red makes a surprisingly effective accent colour when teamed with Peacock shades and provides a fantastic colour clash when it’s up against Plugged-In Pink or Vitamin C Orange.

And my final word on colours…last year White was on my Top 10 Colour rundown and although I haven’t included it as a colour chip above, it’s still hugely important in 2012.  And with that in mind, I’m currently working on a Trendspotting article for The National newspaper (for the Jan 14th edition) featuring the leather laser-cut wallcoverings of Genevieve Bennett whose intricate and quietly stunning work impressed both Shelley & I at DesignJunction last year.  Her use of White shows exactly how it’s done!

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Top 10 Colour Trend Tips For 2011

At the beginning of last year I offered you my musings on the hot colours for 2010 and, because I love continuity, I’ve decided to once again give a glimpse of some the most important colours for interiors and interior products in 2011. 

This time around, rather than simply using flat colour chips, I’ve used 10 tiny sections from a selection of our most recent trends boards to offer you a special insight combining colour, texture and form.

You are of course welcome to link to this page on your own blog or cut & paste the information so your readers can benefit too…all we ask is that you mention us as the source 🙂  So in no particular order…

1. WHITE:  I’m going to bypass the debate about whether White is a colour or not and crack-on with explaining why it’s on my list.  White is often seen as a transitional colour concerned with moving from one state to another…like when worn in Western weddings.  So it basically represents Change.  After an intense decade of financial crisis, war, terrorism, mistrust & natural disasters, White expresses our common yearning for peace, clarity, honesty & reason.  White is progressive, futuristic, scientific…but more importantly it is confident, pure, serene & strong.  It communicates order, openness and a direct daring edge.  Investigate ‘Networked’ & ‘Connected’ structures & surface patterns. 

2. CHANGEANTS:  This refers to a whole spectrum of special effect colours from opalescent finishes and moonstones to mercurial surfaces and liquid jewel shimmers.  Many of the widely applied Changeant colours will relate to how Light affects White i.e. mother-of-pearl, iridescence and reflective surfaces.  Changeant colours are crucial to 2011 because of the intense personalisation they offer i.e. how I see the colour is different to how you see the colour (dependant on angle & light etc…) and that quality makes us feel special.  It also has the ability to hold our interest longer and we know of many companies who are focussing their development in this direction.

3. POPTASTIC YELLOW:  Yellow was included in my colour line up last year but this time around it’s bright and bold rather than mellow. 

Popped-Out colours make their way from the catwalk to our homes giving an injection of fun and optimism.  These are cartoon, comic book hero colours that encourage us to look on the bright side and forge ahead with a stronger spirit.  

Yellow will join forces with other brights during 2011 including Magenta and Orange.  Surfaces appear malleable, forms are twisted and the mood is playful and upbeat.

4. CHLOROPHYLL GREEN:  I mentioned this shade when discussing Greens generally last year.  But for 2011 this really is the Green to work with.  Referencing a hyper-real view of nature, it looks stunning with White but is equally at home giving some grounding to Popped-Out Brights and accordingly makes appearances on 2 of our trend boards.  The little square pictured here has been cropped from our Bio Brilliance board which takes inspiration from the merging disciplines of Biology, Ecology & Technology in order to find advanced solutions to our current and future living challenges.       Web-like structures are integral as are honeycombs and pods. 

5. ELECTRIC BLUE:  Intense Blues continue to have wide appeal during 2011.  Turquoise and Indigo still rank high as a deep sea atmosphere drenches Home collections. 

But if you want to be ahead of the pack and beat the other blues then look to this deep Electric colour.  It has a forward-thinking approach rather than an under-water aesthetic. 

Full of rippling energy and verve, it presents the forceful vigour and strength we are looking to adopt as a society as we shift gears to take on the new decade. 

6. FIERY EMBERS:  It would be all too easy to propose the obvious connotations here about ‘rising from the ashes’ after the financial crisis.  But in truth the presence of these reds & oranges through to cooler purples is less about great comebacks and more about fears of the future – the influence of last years volcanic eruption and also the beginnings of apocalypse predictions for 2012 coming onto our radars.  The surface effects relate strongly to the Changeant colours at No.2.  But here we see glowing embers and molten lava…hot and cooling aspects combined.  For our Dreamscape Glamour trend Shelley has taken this in a shimmering & liquid jewel direction.  

7. GLISTENING BLACK:  Now you might be asking yourself ‘What’s so special about Black that’s worthy of a mention?’…but there is a crucial shift this year in all that shimmers and shines – from Bling to Black! 

If your product designs include crystals, glass, sequins, glitters etc… now is the time to develop much darker colourways which will reposition your products from ostentascious and obvious to glamorous and sophisticated.  Black requires a closer look.  It’s more subtle, more intelligent and more mature than clear crystal. 

8. PURPLE:  Dark shades of Purple provide the foundation to our Dreamscape Glamour trend.  This year we will see Blue stories being joined by Purple not only in Oceanic themes (through the Spring & Summer seasons) but also Galactic and Dreamworld themes that are out of this world! 

Look to the stars for inspiration for surface finishes and look to the world of our imaginations for inspiration for form.  Type ‘galactic’ into a Google Image search and you’ll get the picture!  Shimmering Purples, intense Blues and blackest Black create an otherworldly brilliance.

9. ASH GREY:  Back to our volcanoes again! 

Pumice-like surfaces are pitted and powdery in our Defend & Destroy trend with a gritty atmosphere, whilst our Simply Flawless trend presents a more refined and smooooth use of Grey with elegant overtones.  It’s the chameleon of the colour family…taking on the tone of it’s surrounding colours.  From pale almost off-white Greys to dark charcoals, Grey continues to play a pivotal role in colour palettes throughout 2011.    If you haven’t added a Grey colourway to your product range…do so Soon! 

10. CAMEL:  Making it’s way from the catwalks to our Homes, Camel colours fit perfectly with New Minimalism.  Warm and quiet, they are more interesting than Creams and Beige’s and more elegant and sophisticated than chocolate Browns (which have been done to death…so move on). 

Camel looks amazing when used in conjunction with slightly Mustard tones, Russets, Tans, Black, Greys and even Blues.

It’s our top colour tip for 2011: pleat it, fold it, gather it, twist it, layer it, ruche it, rib it & stretch it!

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