ColorVoyant 2016 Preview

The ColorVoyant Watch

Welcome to The ColorVoyant® Watch!

ColorVoyant 2016 holds a hopeful preview of thought-provoking trends. This forecast is outlined in four separate themes (different than that of previous ColorVoyant forecasts) that will cause your views to delve deeper into global color influences: Anonymous, Atmospheric, Happy and Home.



Humanity is being assimilated into a central thought, one of control and of individuality. The duality of this is displayed in saying, doing, and resorting to anonymous actions that are compromising the structure of our cultures. Thanks to the Internet, the “need” for facing each other has been changed, as if we were all wearing masks. In China, bathing means covering every inch of your skin to denote social status. The swimwear industry translates this cultural influence into the latest swimwear design promotions: The latest swimwear dons head covering, influenced by Chinese bathing habits.


The idea of “saving face” sends a strong message as a new communication wavelength. The eyes are the gateway to the soul. Without eye-to-eye contact, non-verbal communicative cues are lost in translation and are seen as “anonymous”. The novelty of talking, person to person, has become a lost art.  Images:

Buzz Words: Saving Face, Fade in, Fade out, Blocking out, Internet feed, Painterly, Soulless, Masked

Texture: Defined and Abstract, Painterly, Spackled, Covered

Italy acknowledges workers who’ve lost their lives for the sake of progress in an anonymous march on the streets of Milan.


With universal application, Milan’s Triennale Design Museum exhibition by Toyobo Co Ltd: Breathair® is a cushioning material of highly elastic monofilament formed into a random-coil shape. Being 95% air, the material is lightweight as well as durable, maintaining its elasticity.



Shrouds of evidence surround us revealing only what we want to expose.

Christian Zuzunaga textiles at Ventura Lambrate in Milan.
Unemotional color reflects the blocking out of the head, eyes and soul. The gray scale wraps around white to void black with warm to cool shades. Glimpses of aluminum and silver against the matte color provide monochromatic color texture.

Colors from the Tikkurila Symphony collection






Image Map


Image Map


All eyes are on the Northern Hemisphere. Imagine a new frontier of exploration that will bring politics and economics to the top of the world. As the polar ice caps melt, it exposes a new frontier to be explored, where oil has been discovered. A tidal wave of cross-polar ship traffic, from the Atlantic to the Pacific, with over 400 cargo transports, increases from the original 2–3 ships/year.

Countries bordering the Arctic Circle will be vying for land, and control of the Northern passages. New hubs of influence will draw life to a once barren territory. In design, the influence of the Northern Light’s horizon on color and texture will be subtle, yet noticeable. Volcanic and frozen formations are interpretative fire and ice translations. The horizon’s sunsets have a linear and ombre dimension, casting an array of Nordic color. Image from the websites:,
Buzz Words: Nordic, Lightning, Horizon, Fire, Ice, Beyond, Frontier

Texture: Crystal, Ice encrusted, Translucent

Color: Violet blue, Horizon yellow, Sunset red, Blue white, Powdery and Wispy, White smoke, Charcoal and Ash, Iceberg blues


Horizons of the Arctic Climate trending as the new frontier.


Atmospheric vistas from “above the earth” to “on the earth“ have the same, uncanny repetitive layering that is indicative of nature.

Horizon of color influence texture and pattern: ombre and gradated effects.



Swarovski glowing crystalline forms create atmosphere. Tord Boontje’s Ice Branch (close-up crystals highlight the dimensional texture of his design).


Iridescence of color play if reflective and translucent… Blurring the color boundaries.


Volcanic activity comes more alive, showing its true innermost color heat against the barren landscape.

Bottom image sourced from web. Top image from Ventura Lambrate “Everybody Is” Master Design Studio.

Hope eternal… Always new life springing from within the volcanic flow.

Fire and Ice are polar opposites, yet similar in their intense need for hot and cold. The Nordic skyline tempers these two extremes with a middle ground gray influence of color tints.

Colors from the Tikkurila Symphony collection


Image Map


Image Map


Image Map



We strive for laity and release from the world’s tensions. Improving the quality of life is essential for going forward. To help spread the ‘happy wealth”, the United Nations proclaimed an “International Day of Happiness” on March 20th 2015. This movement was coordinated by Action for Happiness: A non-profit movement of people from 160 countries, supported by like-minded organizations.

According to The Independent, the happiest countries in the world live in Scandinavia! High GDP, progressive tax, good healthcare and education, as well as beautiful natural landscapes create stable lives. The Netherlands and Austria are not too far behind, with above average happiness in the UK, Germany and Poland.

Pharrell Williams’s Happy tune from Disney’s “Despicable Me 2”, runs viral on YouTube and Bobby McFerrin’s Dont Worry, Be Happy has become a classic. Out of the happiness springs new life, indicative of “greener” pastures. Image from Bloom Magazine Issue 22 “Luscious Brazil” Tropical Wave.  Art direction Sergio Machado and photography Rogerio Cavalcanti. Fashion Runway: Elie Saab

Action for Happiness:

Pharrell Williams:

Bobby McFerrin:

Buzz Words: Happy, Joy, Fluid, Breathe, Expressive, Fresh, Contour, Outward bound

Texture: Smooth, Lightweight, Tactile

Color: Fresh, Juicy, Vibrant, Clean


Feminine pinks embraced by lively greens create happier surroundings.



Vibrant oranges reflect energy.


Decorative greens speak with simplicity.

New life in UK landscapes.

New York City’s Highline has enlivened this tired elevated railway into rejuvenation of the city. Nature will continue to dominate over what humans try to do, in vain!

New Life, Cheerful, Juiced up and Refreshed describe Happy color. Primaries are welcome, but it’s the secondary intense palette that livens our surroundings. New Life tonal greens become a welcoming new direction.

Colors from the Tikkurila Symphony collection

New Life

Image Map


Image Map



Comfort, stability, and rest enhance our well-being. Feeling rooted becomes a necessity in handling the external pull within our lives. Home is a quality of life that stems from wanting quiet times and silent spaces. Home is a direct link to happiness. Tactile surfaces are important for experiencing dimensional depth. There’s no place like home.

Buzz Words: Comfort, Peace, Quiet, Rest, Family, Stability

Texture: Dimensional, Tactile surfaces, Knits, Pattern-on-pattern patchwork

Color: Organic, Anchored, Rich and layered, Grounded

For some, a large body of water and mountains speak of home and renewed vistas, such as Lugano, Switzerland. Or…

…the restful surroundings of Lake Como in Italy.

Human touches need not be grand… A Milanese bike stand: A homespun covering softens the hardness of street life.

Belén by Brecht Duijf & Lenneke Langenhuijsen. Bluered… a series of interior surfaces in collaboration with Tinctoria in Milan.

Svenja Keune’s Emotional Dialogue. Living and breathing (interactive) wall sconce.

Home is where the heart is… warm, comforting and livable. Earthen influences of the “peas, corn, and carrot” color combination are reinterpreted classics, embedded into the mix. Brown, red and yellow layering of color tones give a richness and depth to each color. It’s the “commitment” to each color that brings them together with harmony.

Colors from the Tikkurila Symphony collection

Image Map

Image Map

Image Map

Final Words

Milan Design Week 2015 will be next on The ColorVoyant Watch radar. Euroluce is the focus of the exhibition, plus reviews of the spectacular design venues all over the city. Stay tuned!


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