Colour and Materials Trends

Within the design world it is important to recognise themes and trends in order to cater for the consumer. By understanding where we have come from and where we are now we can start to predict where we might be heading. Whole companies exist in order to forecast what the latest fashions in colour, pattern, material and style will be.

Pantone’s colour of the year for example is regarded by many as a useful indication of the colours which will keep them at the forefront of fashion.



This infographic is a great way to illustrate the shifts in colour trends over time. You can really appreciate how much of an impact a colour palette can have on a particular time and how much of what we see is informed by current trends.


This year, 2017, it’s been predicted that the progression of science within design will inform the colour and materials trends. As we see processes which transform the digital to the physical become more commonplace we can expect to see this reflected in popular trends, but crucially it’s the crossover between digital and human aesthetics.

There is also a growing trend towards our connection with our environment and the engagement of the senses. More viable options in sustainable production mean companies will be more likely to use this as a positive selling point and will indicate this in their designs. This fits in well with Pantone’s choice of ‘Greenery’ as their 2017 colour of the year.

In our Expanded Practice lecture we looked at how you can curate and communicate trends research. By compiling current images and references and grouping together themes and  matching visuals you can start to see patterns emerging. These can then be communicated in the form of moodboards like the ones above and shared via blogs, websites etc. Sites such as tumblr, pinterest and instagram act as a huge community moodboard for what is considered popular and trendy.

My Practice

In my own work I tend to gain a sense for what is current and what will be fashionable through resources such as the sites I mentioned as well as magazines and television. I don’t always continuously use colour and materials trends within my work and often in fact try to avoid using things I have seen a lot already. Following trends can be a great way to produce good and effective work in many cases though and often in advertising this is a key element to consider.


Imms S. (2016) 2017: Look Ahead – Colours & Materials. Available at: (Accessed: 11/01/2017).

(2016) Pantone 2017. Available at: (Accessed/downloaded: 11/01/2017).

Pantone (2013) 50 Years in Colour. Available at: (Accessed: 11/01/2017).


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