27 July 2010

Sherwin-Williams' 2011 color forecast, part one

Sherwin-Williams just released its 2011 color forecast and this year, the forecast is broken into four palettes. I'll be highlighting the first of the four today. Sherwin-Williams titles this one Bold Invention.

In Sherwin-Williams' own words:
The city never sleeps. Neither do its colors. These high-energy hues vibrate with spontaneity and rebellion. Neon bright, graffiti bold and digitally enhanced to 3-D luminosity, they’re the colors of technology, of avant-garde art and of the entrepreneurial spirit that celebrates shaking off dull routine to do what you love. The eclectic global influences range from the Cynical Realism art movement of urban China to the carnaval spirit of Rio de Janeiro, host of the 2016 Summer Olympics. Anything goes, and self-expression is the new metropolitan mantra.
I'm fascinated by these annual color forecasts. They are not a prescription for the color schemes people are obligated to use or specify of course, but the trend research that goes into them is as exhaustive as it is impartial. This palette and the three that follow are a snapshot of contemporary life and a hedged bet about how things will look in six months.

While not a definitive look at culture, they are fascinating snap shot.

The central image that sums up Sherwin-Williams' Bold Invention is this:

After having read the description above, the image makes sense and definitely gets across the global, experimental nature of the culture shifts it summarizes.

As intriguing as the underpinnings of this trend are, the palette leaves me somewhat cold. Despite its claimed now-ness, it strikes me as a bit nostalgic. I think it's an attractive palette, I just can't see the futuristic nature of it. Here are the colors.

SW 7589 Habanero Chile

SW 6938 Synergy

SW 6947 Tempo Teal

SW 6711 Parakeet

SW 6445 Garden Grove

SW 6963 Sapphire

SW 6800 Something Blue

SW 6696 Quilt Gold

SW 7664 Steely Gray

SW 7036 Accessible Beige

What do you guys think? Am I missing something here? Now that I can see the colors in order I'm beginning to think that maybe it's the inspiration image that's throwing my eye. So, is Sherwin-Williams onto something with this palette from their 2011 color forecast?


  1. I'm not a design professional, just an enthusiast...so maybe that's why these choices make no sense to me....but if I visually cut off the top three colors, the palette looks a lot more appealing to me personally. Thanks for this info.

  2. It's the red that gets me. I usually react badly to red and turquoise combos.

  3. I LURVE color forecasting! I think their description and intent is dead on for this one but the palette is watered down... but I don't really look to Sherwin Williams for cutting edge trend colors. They have to identify a trend and then "market" it to THEIR customer. Looking forward to the other palettes!!

  4. I may be the only one, but Sherwin-Williams is my go-to brand when I'm specifying color. I think they're palette is as broad as it is deep and it's flawlessly, wonderfully organized. Benjamin Moore may have more colors in its palette, but I don't think they help me do my job.

    Sherwin-Williams does these forecasts twice a year and I'm fascinated by them. They manage to spot trends pretty accurately and they flesh them out in their magazine, Stir.

    Pick up a copy and you'll be a believer too.

    How've you been by the way? I miss our fireside chats.

  5. If you start with the neutrals, the chile looks darker, definitely better. If you start with the inspiration image, the chile and blue greens make me think of 1983. Not good.

  6. Leigh: I think the inspiration image is what's throwing me about this whole palette. The light fixture and chair are what seem retro, not so much the colors. Or so I say at any rate.

  7. Adrienne Burt27 July, 2010 08:58

    I read your blog on Google reader and at first glance, I thought this was a post from Retro Renovation! It's definitely an updated 50's color palette. BUT- I do like it. That quilt gold is pretty much all over the West Elm catalog (which I guess means that color is NOW, not a forecast). Splitting hairs here.... I like it. I'm gonna go order the color trend cards ASAP.
    And I agree with you on how helpful Sherwin Williams is as an Interior Designer. Better tools, easy sample ordering, Stir magazine- it's all great.

  8. I hope so. I'm ready for the grey-dreary current Restoration Hardware look to go. You react badly to red/turquoise combos (not me), I react badly to grey.

    I am intrigued by the names paint companies give their colors. Porter Paints is very big here (pretty much really bad colors, but good paint) and they have the worst paint names. A good majority of them reference food. Food and paint = yuck.

  9. *pulls up chair by fire* I miss them (you) too! Trying to get back in the swing of things... ; ) I think SW's colors are thoughtful and user-friendly. However b/c I'm really picky about color I like BM b/c they have a billion more options for me to play with. Sometimes I don't want user-friendly! But I'll def check out SW's magazine!

  10. Adrienne: Hurray! I'm not the only one. My Sherwin-Williams chip binders are some of my favorite possessions. I received these forecasts in a press release a couple of weeks ago and the new issue of Stir is in the mail if you haven't received it yet. Stir has its own website too: http://www.swstir.com/

    Sharon: The name thing does amaze me. SW's are actually funny from time to time. They grey palette you don't like has some of their best. I want to paint my bedroom Sherwin Williams 7017, Dorian Gray for the name alone.

  11. Saucy: Awww, thanks! This has been a hectic couple of weeks all around. I'm home for the next couple of weeks and then I start jumping around the country again. In the meantime, there's an online version of Stir at http://www.swstir.com --an no I don't get a dime from Sherwin Williams. They are however, encouraged to consider paying me for my endorsements. Hah!

  12. Paul I love these colors and the names as well.....very fun and fresh!

    Art by Karena

  13. I just received my first issue of Stir last week but haven't had a chance to read it yet.

    These colours are quite similar to Sarah Richardson's colour collection for PARA. There are only 75 colours, and they all seem to be variations of the same 15 colours.

    Personally, I love Synergy, Parakeet, Sapphire, and Steely Gray. But not crazy about the overall palette.



  14. Tomorrow's will be better, I promise. Friday's palette is a purely Kelly James palette though.

  15. Oooh, looking forward to Friday!! I left my issue of Stir at the cottage to read next weekend, so it's not around to tempt me to peek!!


  16. I used to have a red and turquoise house, which made me ill. So, I'm not too fond of this palette.

  17. Red and turquoise is an unsettling combo.

  18. I love that teal and "parakeet" combination.. but since I've been loving that colour combination for a few years now, I'd have thought it would be over by now.

    I'm totally with you on the red and turquoise though, blech. That's medieval colour coordinating at it's best.

  19. I'm with you, Paul. This seems "retro" rather than "forward."

  20. Although I have to say that Accessible Beige is a lovely color and a likely candidate for my living room one of these days. No red and turquoise for me though.

  21. I'm with Nim - I actually used a palette with the teal, "parakeet", "garden grove" and greige in a student project, inspired by images from a hiking trail in New Zealand, nearly four years ago. Teal is still trending?

    I've been taught that colour trends are on an approximately 30-year cycle, so the 1920s-1950s-1980s look of this grouping makes sense to me.

    The 80s can keep the yellow and turquoise as far as I'm concerned.

  22. Teal's still with us yes, although nowadays it sneaks in under the guise of turquoise. I can't think of the '80s and not think of fuchsia.


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