“Mere colour, unspoiled by meaning, and unallied with definite form, can speak to the soul in a thousand different ways.” – Claude Monet.

Colour is all around us in its magnificent variety of forms and shapes. Whether we choose to interact with it scientifically, creatively, physically or mentally, it affects how we think, see and feel within certain spaces.

Science behind colour
The first step to understanding colour is to be able to define the two different kinds of colour that we are able to see.

Colour is a form of visible light. Colour is electromagnetic energy – it works on wavelengths, which is why specific colour stimulation accompanies a specific response pattern in terms of light, environment and even psychological reaction.

There are two colour systems. The first refers to tangible colour, such as a painted wall. Tangible colours form part of an object’s surface. Secondly, there are colours that we can’t touch or see, such as “blue light” on some computer monitors that produce small amounts of ultraviolet (UV).

RGB (red-green-blue):
The additive colour system
Firstly, on the scientific side, colour primaries are distinguished as red, green and blue. When these primaries mix, red and green light rays produce yellow. Similarly, blue and green produce cyan, red and blue produce magenta and red, green and blue produce white.

The red-green-blue (RGB) colour system is used in theatre, on television and computer monitors and other devices that employ light.

The subtractive colour system
Alternatively, artists view red, yellow and blue as the three primary colours. This is based on the principle that the colours are pre and cannot be created by mixing any other colours. When subtractive primaries are mixed, secondary colours are created. Similarly, when secondary colours are mixed, tertiary colours are created.

CMYK (cyan-magenta-yellow-black):
The print industry utilises the CMYK colour system, which recognises cyan, magenta, yellow and black as its primary colours. When these colours are mixed, the result is grey.

The trend issue
The formulation of paint is a very precise, technical process. When it comes to forecasting, however, colour experts agree that almost anything serves as inspiration, as Anne Roselt, an international colour expert and Plascon’s colour manager, explains: “We are affected by what we read and hear in the news, the economy, technology and major events. We are also influenced by nature and the environment, pop culture, movies and fashion.”

Plascon colour forecast for 2013:
“We’re all living in rather uncertain times and people are feeling the rapid changes that are going on around the world, from economies and natural disasters to governments and technology. There is considerable instability and that seems to be on everyone’s minds at the moment. People are constantly trying to make sense and find harmony amongst the instability and it’s from this that we traced our path to the Plascon 2013 colour forecast. Whether we like it or not, times are tough and we’re all trying to adapt and find out bit of calm amongst the storm and that’s a central theme to the 2013 Colour Forecast,” concludes Roselt.

Although forecasts may vary from company to company, the results almost always coincide in a way that depicts the mood of our global village.

Dulux, a company of AkzoNobel has revealed Indigo as the 2013 Colour of the Year. The international paint manufacturer’s decision is a result of ongoing colour trend research and analysis by creative experts from around the world. Krim Danzinger, a senior colour consultant at AkzoNobel, researches trend activity and adds: “So much of our lives are touched by the global community leading to our desire to connect and communicate – blue is a true communication colour. Intense hues, like indigo, reflect stability, reassuring confidence of the world that lies ahead.”

Dulux recently published the highly anticipated trend forecaster, ColourFutures. In an annual gathering of the world’s foremost experts, social and economic factors that determine how people across the globe view the world are analysed and translated into colours, colour pallets and images that will be incorporated in the forecast.

Dulux’s colour expert, Sonica Backsteg says: “The rise of social media has meant that modern life is all about connections in this global village we all call home and, while we all strive to remain connected through our computers, cellphones and tablets, we also need to disconnect from the ‘noise’ once in a while to recharge and rejuvenate our souls. The colour of the year for 2013 has been selected to act as a visual band-aid to our hectic lives, which is why a regal, tranquil and honest indigo, which is easy to live with, is the defining shade for next year. The palette for 2013 is mature, elegant and sophisticated.”

The psychology of colour has been around for centuries. This psychology is applicable in interiors, fashion, medicine, colour therapy and healing with crystals.
Forecasters at Dulux suggest that indigo is a panacea for the pressure of daily life and financial constraints as it calms and soothes.

This need for balance and solace is evident in many of the recent forecasts, and is perfectly explained in ColourFutures as “the more society advances, the more we want to keep things simple”.

Dulux ColourFutures- 5 Key Trends for 2013:

  1. Collective Passion: Trends spread like wildfire. With the same energy and enthusiasm, this colour palette swoops from one colour cloud to the next, with distinct colour groups flowing together. These attention-grabbing fluro and pastel shades express joy, creativity and purpose.
  2. Switching Off: The simple joy of doing nothing. A palette of silent colours and ethereal hues including harmonising tones of burgundy and blue tinted blacks that can create a restful and tranquil space in which to slow down.
  3. The Art of Understanding: The age-old fascination with taking things apart and laying them out to understand their inner workings inspired a palette of ice-cream colours. Vintage inspired candy tones paired with laidback neutrals or deep teal and brown for a stylish combination.
  4. Home Factory: Self-reliance. Colours inspired by nature’s dyes. Beetroot and summer berry-reds combined with baked clay and denim indigo.
  5. Visual Solace: Inexplicable link between art and nature. Degraded mauve and floral pinks meet golden and bronze hues, together with linen and hessian tones.

Full thanks and acknowledgement given to www.plascon.co.za and Sonica Bucksteg from Dulux for the information given to write this article.