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What goes into choosing the Colour of the Year

By Ela Das

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Every year, Asian Paints, which dominates the paint and colour industry in India, and its forecast team ColourNext—the only initiative of its kind in the country—develops trend forecasts and a ‘hero’ known as the Colour of the Year. These are developed to ease a consumer’s decision-making process. The colour and trend selections are presented to help create styles and looks in a home to update and freshen up a space, while staying relevant to the times.


ColourNext is an annual colour and décor trend forecast. Each year, Asian Paints collaborates with experts from different disciplines to put together a comprehensive forecast of colours, materials, textures and finishes. As the year unfolds, these trends become more evident across several design fields. Ashwini Deshpande, co-founder and director at Elephant Design (a design-led innovation consultancy that solves complex challenges with a focus on people and the future), breaks down this process. “It’s the people who make the trends. Their motivations, aspirations for the future, behavioural patterns and decisions [lead to] a trend.” 


“We look at everything from how people behave in terms of their financial decisions to their environmental understanding and relationships,” Deshpande explains. She further breaks down this process by describing how initially there are early adopters of a trend which soon leads to a ripple effect. “More and more people start adopting a trend till we notice a take-off point. That’s when we realise this is going to trend in the future!”


Navdeep Kaur, founder of The Colour Workshop, which researches and experiments with colour, relates, “I think colours reflect an emotion, and, here, we are looking at a collective emotion. Once the trend stories are identified, we start looking at how people form emotional connections with these stories. This mapping leads us to colour nuances, and a formation of the colour palette begins.” She also describes how The Colour of the Year reflects a macro mood. “A tangible visual vocabulary is curated, which consists of colour, material, texture, pattern and finishes… and there’s a library of sort put together for everybody to get inspired.”

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