Cre­ative con­sul­tancy Franklin Till re­veals the hottest colour pal­ettes for the com­ing year

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The hottest colour pal­ettes for the com­ing year, plus the key in­sights driv­ing them – cour­tesy of cre­ative con­sul­tancy FranklinTill

Pink was re­branded in 2016. No longer the re­serve of the soft and the meek, the world be­came awash with pink tint as de­sign­ers and brands in­dulged in shades rang­ing from rose to fuch­sia. In last year’s fore­cast (is­sue 248) we pre­dicted that in­dus­trial pas­tels would be big, and that pink would be­come the new neu­tral, shak­ing off its fem­i­nine con­no­ta­tions to rep­re­sent gen­der neu­tral­ity and equal­ity. At the end of 2015 Pan­tone an­nounced a shade of soft pink, Rose Quartz, as one of its joint colours of the year, and the pas­tel soon popped up on ev­ery­thing from cat­walks to con­vert­ibles.

It’s per­haps no co­in­ci­dence that 2016 also be­came the year of neu­tral­ity. Ideas of gen­der norms dis­solved, and iden­tity be­came self-de­fined rather than some­thing you’re born into. Prod­uct, space and fash­ion de­sign not only re­jected gen­der stereo­types, but went on to rebel against them. Shades of pow­der, blush and rose were de-fem­i­nised and adopted by con­fi­dent mil­len­nial brands across all con­sumer sec­tors.

Fol­low­ing in the foot­steps of Swedish fash­ion brand Acne, whose un­apolo­getic brand pink in­spires noth­ing but con­fi­dence, young la­bels such as the con­fronta­tional un­der­wear com­pany Thinx jux­ta­posed vi­brant shades of pink, in brash ad­verts that didn’t shy away from their some­what cen­sored mes­sage. Mas­cu­line home­wear brand Boy Smells also adopted the colour pink to chal­lenge con­ven­tions around typ­i­cal mas­culin­ity. Even tech pinked up, by way of Ap­ple’s rose-gold iPhone, and ac­cord­ing to Bev­er­age­dy­nam­, even rosé wine sales in the United States had grown by 31.8 per cent by the end of 2015.

2016 saw so­cial me­dia be­come a ve­hi­cle for con­tex­tual re­brand­ing, as shades known as ‘mil­len­nial pink’ and ‘Tum­blr pink’ pro­lif­er­ated on In­sta­gram and Pin­ter­est, by way of youth self­ex­pres­sion of cu­rated good taste. Per­haps another rea­son pink has dom­i­nated visual com­mu­ni­ca­tion and brand­ing over the past year is its psy­cho­log­i­cal im­pact. As a de­riv­a­tive of red, the most stim­u­lat­ing of colours, pink is be­lieved to have a calm­ing and sooth­ing ef­fect on our emo­tional state. In a year of po­lit­i­cal ten­sion and eco­nomic un­rest, some neu­tral­ity and nur­tur­ing de­sign is a wel­come dis­trac­tion. Ex­per­i­men­tal ex­treme sports­wear brand Volle­bak has even used Alexan­der Schauss’ Baker-Miller Pink the­ory (where a tone of pink known as P-618 is claimed to re­duce hos­tile, vi­o­lent or ag­gres­sive be­hav­iour) to de­velop a mind-hack­ing hoodie that helps slow down heart rates, and quickly eases ath­letes into a state of ut­ter calm and re­cov­ery.

As 2017 draws near, we’re ap­proach­ing a tip­ping point. Pink is not set to dis­ap­pear, but we’ll see our base pal­ette shift towards flesh and tan. Re­flect­ing hu­man­ness and real­ism, and con­cepts of naked and nude, vis­ceral skin tones will come to the fore as the next neu­tral.

Over the next few pages we’ll pro­vide you with the key colour trends for 2017, to­gether with the key in­sights driv­ing these pal­ettes. At Franklin Till we don’t be­lieve in re­port­ing flash-in-the-pan sea­sonal trends. We don’t be­lieve trends sim­ply dis­ap­pear to make room for new trends, but that move­ments gather mo­men­tum and colour pal­ettes evolve, man­i­fest­ing in dif­fer­ent ways as they move from the pe­riph­ery towards the main­stream. Nei­ther do we be­lieve in mim­ick­ing the work of great de­sign in an at­tempt to be ‘on trend’. We aim to draw at­ten­tion to those who are the driv­ing force be­hind emerg­ing de­sign move­ments and cel­e­brate their in­spi­ra­tional cre­ativ­ity. Read on to dis­cover which colours will lead the way in 2017...

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