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Colours that Soothe the Soul

Akzonobel Dulux Heartwood Home palette

Akzonobel Dulux Heartwood Home palette

Akzonobel Dulux Colour of the Year 2018 Heartwood

Although colour in paint is my particular thing it is the power of colour to transform and affect change which connects every creative discipline from film to fashion. This blog post explores the characteristics of colours that turn help to down the sensory overload in a fast paced world of uncertainty and change and why they are so important to us in 2018.

15 years of global colour trend forecasting in the paint industry has revealed some of the most interesting results for the year 2018 and beyond. Our colour choices are being affected by issues that transcend the influence of lifestyle and fashion and we need it to do more than just make our walls look lovely.

Akzonobel Colour Futures 15 years of trend forecasting

Maybe understanding a bit more about the trend forecasting process will help explain why this is happening. For Akzonobel/Dulux, it happens every year in November, 18 months ahead of the year in which it is launched. The process involves gathering global knowledge from 26 countries in the fields of colour, materials, architecture, design, technology, fashion, and the economy.

Image from Akzonobel

Every year experts representing 80 worldwide markets hold intensive workshops with our Aesthetics Centre Team in Amsterdam to discuss how developments in their industries will most affect the way we live in the future – and how our world might look and function as a result. Although there are regional differences we look for influences that will resonate throughout the whole world so we can tell a recognisably global story of colour.

Heleen Van Gent – Creative Director of the Akzonobel Global Aesthetics Centre and the Analogue team

Following the workshops our colour experts distil the information into colour stories that capture the essence of what will happen to interiors in the following year and produce ‘Colour Futures’, a resource which has become widely recognized as a colour bible for the design industry.

Image from Akzonobel

Normally we see clear trends in lifestyle, materials and design that can be interpreted into colour stories but this year was very different. The topic of conversation was dominated by the fact that we were living in times of unprecedented uncertainty. Politics and growing divisions in society stood equally with the rise of AI and what it meant for us as human beings in a 24/7 world where there were increasing demands on our time and no more time to give. The issue of what it is to be human in a fast paced digital world dominated everything.

Image from Akzonobel

If you are locking the door and heading under the duvet at the moment I won’t be surprised… but don't despair we humans respond in similar ways to tough times. When we get fired, dumped, shouted at or slip on ice, the thing we do is head for the safest place we know…home.

This year the overarching theme for colour captures our desire for a return to the familiar; the things we know, recognize and trust to make us feel safe, nurtured and soothed - a ‘welcome home’.

Colour of the year 2018 Heartwood is influenced by a renewed love of warm natural elements like cherry tinted woods and leather. This visually soothing warm neutral with a hint of heather balances energy and calms the spaces in which it is painted.

Image from Akzonobel

Like all the colours in the 2018 Colour Futures palettes it contains hints of grey – the magic ingredient which when added to a colour reduces its attention seeking and replaces it with tranquility – something we all need a little more of in our lives.

Akzonobel Dulux Colour of the Year 2018 Heartwood

​Akzonobel Dulux Colour of the Year 2018 Heartwood

It’s also sophisticated and versatile enough for commercial spaces, helping to create atmospheric environments that are less demanding of our senses and instantly welcoming.

All four of the Colour Futures 2018 trends this year reflect a different sense of what a welcome home means to us and every colour in the entire collection is subtly greyed to soothe the soul.

You can download a PDF of the latest 2018 Akzonobel/Dulux Colour Futures here:


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