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What is colour forecasting? Why it is so important and how it can work for you.

Who decides what colours we should buy? And have you ever wondered what colour forecasting is? Who comes up with the colours we see in the shops, who gives us these choices? How are these decisions made? Working in trends and with colour for over two decades I have been asked these questions many times. For me it is second nature and probably why I imagine that everyone else knows this, but it is something that requires a mix of skills.

The Mix

Skill and experience- an eye for colour and a curiosity about almost everything is key. My training in textiles gives me a solid foundation to work from, along with my passion for colour, however colour forecasting also requires knowledge and practise in psychology, sociology, anthropology, marketing, art and design history and critical analysis.

From the Heart- I have a strong sense of intuition, which is where I start from, and an eye that seeks out inspiration from everywhere and anywhere. But how to put this all together? Empathy, to be able to think and identify, what will create a spark of inspiration in someone else’s heart, this is part of the next step in the process, when coming up with colour palettes.

How it works for you-. Have you got a creative project waiting to be hatched or just not confident with colour? This is when you call on in my skills, I help unearth your creative vision, working with you to bring it to life. Colour is a vital ingredient. Think of brands or products you love and how colour often plays a key role. We are drawn by something which is hard to put into words, it is a form of communication that pulls at the heart strings, that is the magical part!

Why do Companies need advice? When working commercially, there maybe two sets of customers to keep in mind. The first custom is the designer, product developer or retailer who commissions inspirational colour stories and palettes, directly. The second and ultimate customer, is a consumer who’s purchasing decision will confirm whether or not the colour forecaster has done well. The goal of the forecaster then is to enable the manufacturers brands and retailers to provide merchandise that will appeal to customers and promote profitable sales.

Mood boards, trend and product direction and colour palette AW season for PEJ Gruppen, Denmark

Nature is my number one inspiration, the colour palette which has been put together with care to enable it to be translated into many sectors of design.

Manufactures spend millions investing in what they hope their customers what to buy in the future. It is a gamble, and the risks must be minimised. Why do companies need to plan so far ahead? The scale and timeline of production cycle. Starting with producing dyes which will colour yarns, plastics, materials and fabrics to be woven, knitted, printed, styles created and patterns cut, sampling and proto types made and approved, packaging and promotional material to plan, merchandising, photography and advertising, they are all part of the story, so you can see there is a lot to consider. And as a designer it is a skill to be able to have the vision that can encompass the whole of this process.

Understanding is key- An understanding of colour and a practised taste level are key. The tricky part is that colour forecasters develop palettes for the consumer long before the consumer has any idea of what colours they will want at that point in time.

Rules and Formulas - there is no set rule or formula for the development of colours, but neither are they chosen on a whim, the process of forecasting shifts, in consumer colour preferences and it is quite complex.

Creative and organisational process -Colour forecasting is a creative process that requires a mix of both inspiration and intuition. Intuition plays a major role in selecting a colour palette as it is an artistic endeavour. There is that creative flair that puts colours together in a way that is attractive to the eye and speaks to the viewer or customer.

False beliefs- plucked out of thin air or picked out of a hat, definitely not! Colour palettes are created from an intuitive feeling and are based on lot of thinking about what the new direction in colour should be and whether consumers are ready to accept it or not.

How to achieve maximum impact with your creative project? It is important to see how colours work today, as well is in longer cycles, this is done with an understanding of colours psychological and emotional influence and how this affects consumer purchasing. There is a skill in making a evocative colour palette work in context and so that it resonates with the customer. And ultimately in sales of your product or results in a winning creative project.

Conclusion Colour forecasting is both an ART and a SCIENCE. An attempt to anticipate the desires and needs of buyers through observation and study of cultural trends and consumer behaviour, combined with a creative flair for colour and design along with natural intuition and inspiration. Just think of a world without colour, unimaginable!

Do you have a creative project you want to bring to life, or an existing business that needs fresh inspiration? Why not get in touch and arrange a free 20min chat and see how we can work together Or join one of my creative workshops


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