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Every Color Has Its Day: 2012 Trends

Every Color Has its Day
Pat Verlodt

Tangerine Tango is the color in the news. Pantone's annual prediction generates buzz for fashion and COLOR marketers world-wide. It is difficult, however, to pinpoint a single color as a trend for 2012: the purpose and placement of a color will make a world of difference. What is right for a bedroom may be all wrong for a bath or for an accent color. It might be an easier exercise to name what is not in vogue than to identify a specific hue that will dominate the market.

I will concentrate on paint colors to simplify the mystique that surrounds color predictions. Paint should be the last component that is selected when doing a color scheme for your home. Hirshfield’s color system, Color Is. . ., comes in more than a thousand paint hues, and any shade, tint or tone of a color can be matched for any project. Just remember: when decorating your home, select the long-term items (flooring, furniture, artwork) first; then choose a paint color to enhance, coordinate or accent those pieces.

All the colors in the 2012 palette are influenced by nature, comfort, calm and harmony. These themes are not new but are shown in a fresh new way and offer a balm for our distress over the economy, unrest and fear. And and designers are looking for more ways to show colors in a new light. (See Color Guild's Colour Canvas 2012 available at Hirshfield's for more trend ideas.)

Every color family has members that are enjoying the limelight. It may be that these color’s brothers or sisters were famous in the past, but in the coming year the following colors will share the spotlight:


Although red is still popular, its lighter tint of off-red, 1135 Glam, is showing up in unexpected places such as leather sofas and high end carpets. The most popular patterns containing flowers have the motif of a rose which is recognizable by more people than any other flower, and roses are sweet solace for today’s troubles. Here, Glam is shown with 570 Grey Locks, which is growing in importance; it is a perfect background for the brighter colors in any color family.


Pale Lilac emerges in the palette as a new neutral. 1218 Odyssey Lilac is light and dusty and its softness is like a comforting caress. It is paired here with 322 Gabriel’s Light, a popular golden beige, that surrounds it in warmth and protection.


But bright purples will emerge where we might least expect. Purples are forging ahead into destinations in which they have never appeared such as kitchens and living areas. Shown here is 1173 Purple Stiletto. Like any other bright color they bring cheer and hopefulness in times of stress. Here they are shown with a crisp white, a staple in any paint palette and also a popular kitchen cabinet color.


Blues are trending toward soft and dusty. 477 Ocean Cruise is a perfect example of this hue. They are as comforting as an ocean breeze and serene as a calm day making them perfect for bathrooms and spas. Here they are paired with gray and beige marble tiles.


Nothing is closer to nature than green and, for the most part, greens are warmed with yellow like 751 Green Glass. Or they can be soft sages or bright limes that coordinate with deep olive and bronze hues. Here green is shown with a tropical orange, 932 Sun Splashed.


Yellow is a cheery hue, toned down to gold like 869 Frozen Fruit it is the core of many patterns, especially present in area rugs. Here gold is paired with brown, certainly not new, but it still high on the list of best sellers.

Color trends for 2012 are still considered safe as uncertainty is still an undercurrent while optimism is on the surface of many people’s minds. The general population still buy more white, off white and beige in large numbers but we colorists can only hope that trend will change in the future.

About Pat Verlodt

Pat Verlodt, president of Color Services & Associates, Inc., an internationally recognized color consultancy, has been involved in the world of color for over 40 years. As a advisor to dozens building products companies – including paint systems, GAF roofing, Alcoa siding and more – Pat shares her expertise in color design, forecasting and trend analysis. Pat has the unique ability to explain color technology to the novice and to combine the scientific with the aesthetic. Pat is a past president, lifetime member and senior chairholder of the Color Marketing Group.

Ms. Verlodt makes presentations at trade shows, corporate sales meetings, conventions, seminars, web conferences and on television and radio. Whether speaking about color trends and where they come from. She gears her talks to the product mix and the audience and has presented all over North America, Europe, China, Australia, South America and South Africa. She has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Better Homes and Gardens and in Harold Linton’s, Color Forecasting, a book about the methods of various color forecasters.

Color Services & Assoc., Inc.
3105 East Lake Shore Drive
Wonder Lake, IL 60097

About Hirshfield’s Hirshfield’s is a Minnesota-based, fourth-generation family-owned company in the decorating products business since 1894. Hirshfield’s operates 30 stores in Minnesota, Wisconsin and North Dakota with paints and industrial coatings, fine plasters, lacquers, wallcoverings and window fashions for the consumer and professional trades. A commercial wall finishes division services architects and designers across 9 states with offices in Minneapolis, Chicago and St. Louis. Hirshfield’s is the largest manufacturer of trade sales paints and coatings in Minnesota with factory operations in Minneapolis.

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