Understanding the Zeitgeist
Generational colours go beyond seasonal trends and attempt to capture the zeitgeist of an entire generation. Think 90’s Burgundy, Avocado Green of the 70’s or more recently Millennial Pink and Gen Z Yellow. Just mention one of these colours and certain fashions, products and brands immediately spring to mind. Formica kitchen set anyone?
A more recent colour success is Millennial Pink. Millennial Pink had been around in various shades since around 2012 before making the leap from fashion and into film and design. There are many reasons for its success. It is a new take on a traditionally “feminine” colour, reintroducing it as gender neutral. It also manages to be both nostalgic and modern. And maybe most importantly, it pops on Instagram. With celebrities, influencers and 20 and 30 somethings living much of their lives online and via smartphones, it went global.
Marketers embraced Millennial Pink and used it to sell everything from moisturiser, home furnishings, Nike camouflage running shoes, the Apple rose-gold iPhone, even sales of Rosé wine are said to have increased due to the Millennial Pink effect.
In 2016 Pantone, the colour authority, introduced Rose Quartz as the colour of the year. The pink explosion was nearing saturation point when Gen Z Yellow streaked across runways spring/summer 2017 providing a bright respite from all the pink.
Yellow initially came into focus when New York artist, Petra Collins started using yellow-y light in her commercial photo shoots. The young and hip soon took up hues from buttercream to neon yellow. Fashion was a big driver behind mainstream Gen Z’s obsession with yellow from Emma Stone in La La Land to Beyoncé's Roberto Cavalli dress. Gen Z Yellow was cemented as a generational colour when it started being used in high street fashion, and home furnishings.
What Colour is Your Brand?
As marketers we know that recognition and cut through are key to brand success - and an important part of that psychology is colour. From brand design, logos, communications and photography style, it is critical to take into account a 360 degree view of your audience, including their emotions, moods and values. Identifying the colour or colour palette that connects emotionally with your audience and conveys your brand values at a glance can confer an iconic status to your brand.
It may be a timeless and classic colour, like the exquisite duck egg blue of legendary jewellers, Tiffany, which has been named and registered as Tiffany Blue.
Or a bold and extrovert red used by iconic brands Coca-Cola, Lego, Virgin and Kelloggs enabling their marks to be recognised across the globe.
Kodakit takes its brand colours from parent company Kodak. Kodak’s iconic yellow and red trade dress are a key part of what makes the company recognisable in over 90 countries and are another example of brand colours that are timeless, stand out and work well with photography. The brand and logo represent colour, moments, memories, technology, emotions, and quality.
What’s the Next Generational Colour?
Predicting colour trends is an art and a science combined with understanding and interpreting the changing cultural landscape. Pantone, a global authority on colour and provider of professional colour standards for the design industries, has released its lifestyle colour predictions for Spring/Summer 2019. Pantone’s five leading colours are attention-grabbing shades of red, orange and pink followed by a green, yellow and cobalt blue. Pantone’s forecast influences colour across men’s & women’s clothing, cosmetics, and interior, industrial and multimedia design.
How to integrate leading colours into your brand photos/images
Generational colours can be used for icons, logos, packaging, fonts and more. The key is to integrate colours in a way that provides contrast and a point of interest. Similarly brand and product photography can take advantage of trending or generational colours to infuse a contemporary ‘now’ feel or generate an emotional response.
So what will emerge as THE colour for 2019? You’ll have to wait for Pantone to announce their 2019 colour of the year. In the meantime, find inspiration in these colourful predictions from Apartment Therapy.