The key to meaningful color for product success is in here…

Over 200 colorful brains got together this past week in sunny, and strangely super windy, San Diego at the Color Marketing Group’s 2015 International Summit to exchange inter & intra-industry non-competitive directions of their company’s big ideas. Together through facilitated workshops (forecasting for 2017, 2018, and beyond) distilled those down into “little” stories of color. It also seems that we exchanged airborne germs as I returned home with a nasty cold, spent the last 4 days fighting between wanting to work and wanting to stay in bed (bed won), which is why this post is going live US time late on a Friday night when everyone is off work and enjoying their weekend, but I digress.

Screen Shot 2015-11-20 at 10.16.39 PMNow, if you are in trend forecasting, trend spotting, CMF design or color marketing and specialize in micro elements such as color, material, finish, print, pattern, texture, you may certainly argue that these are not “little” things. But for comparison, in a tri- or bi-level forecasting process we use the Mega, Macro, Micro approach, which eludes to Big, Medium, Little. In fact, and I agree, in most of our industries these “little” things have just as much impact on sales and are as big, as the “big” things (such as new innovations, technologies, manufacturing processes, scientific discovery, etc, etc). Why? Because a trend right color can make or break your product at market. In today’s world, a consumer will often choose color over functionality.

Color is up to 85% of the reason a shopper buys! 85% PEOPLE!!


[2 CMG members work through validation of the 2016 colors] image courtesy of CMG

When done correctly any micro trend should (I say “should” to be nice, but really it MUST), through it’s story, be linked back to an over-arching macro and/or mega catalyst. Thus connecting a new color introduction to the inspiration of that new manufacturing process your company is implementing, or that new special effect to a newly discovered organic mica mine found deep in the ocean. Those are the drivers of future colors. If you are still asking your designers “what” the new colors are and not “why,” or if your designers can not answer “why,” then you will miss the opportunity to make a color connection with your consumer. The connection that will ultimately convince them, in an instant, to buy your product.


[CMG workshop board showing buzz words of color stories from Mega to Macro to Micro including supporting colors] image courtesy of CMG


[CMG workshop board showing buzz words of color stories from Mega to Macro to Micro including supporting colors] image courtesy of CMG

I see this happen with many corporations who use the online based subscription “trend services.” Which, don’t get me wrong, are good for many reasons. Designers log-in, see a trend theme, some samples, some colors and an eye catching collage and BAM they get inspired by this beautiful denim blue from the runway. So they put that blue on a new shoe they are designing. A shoe that won’t even be out on the market for another 18-24 months. Ehhhhh **sounds like one of those “wrong answer” buzzers from The Price is Right. STOP! If it’s already on the runway, it’s too late for your product. What is the story?? Where is the color coming from?? What impact will that color have on your sales?? Is that color right for your product? Is it the right time?


[CMG Special Effects, Materials, and Finishes workshop showing future colors applied to samples for future products in innovation, ideation, and development stages] image courtesy of CMG

All of these questions are why I love the Color Marketing Group, our workshops, our conferences, our international summits, and most importantly the people and their brains. We are the only non-profit, volunteer, international organization where every single member has a voice and an opportunity to contribute to the future color forecasts. It is all about teamwork, collaboration, and communication. We dig for the WHY! We make the connections, we link the stories, we observe, and we apply. We take these colors back to our own industries, corporations, consultancies whether it be Pantone, Sherwin Williams, Electrolux, Nissan, Dell, Clariant, Sunbrella, for example, or like independent me, Colour Couture, as I am attending and representing cross-industry clients in almost every major product category. We create our internal color forecasts, color palettes, color stories. We use inspiration and direction from our Color Marketing Group colleagues, experiences, and reports. We, as a color forecasting organization and individually as color designers, apply meaningful colors to products to create a meaningful experience for the end user.


[CMG workshop forecasting color for 2018 and beyond] image courtesy of CMG


[A few of my CMG workshop participants, me as the Facilitator feverishly typing as David explains new innovations in plastics technology for the airplane and transportation industries] image courtesy of CMG

I have been a member of CMG for well over a decade. I’ve been Chair of almost every major Committee in the Organization and I have sat on the Board of Directors. It is absolutely true what they say, “the more you put in…the more you get out.” I know my clients would agree. It is my job to show companies the real value of color and trend forecasting. It is organizations like CMG that allow me to do it. CMG is the KEY or at least the place to start the process where color forecasters can come together to sort out the “why.” I hope to see you at the next CMG event!


3 thoughts on “The key to meaningful color for product success is in here…

  1. Pingback: The key to meaningful color for product success is in here… | levin's linkblog

  2. Great, great colors! I’ve been posting about these all year and using the SAME words to describe the colors that we NEED in the home like: Hope, family, new beginnings, joy, virtual reality, senses and most of all “Connection” which boils down to brown by the way. THIS is the direction that color for the home, retail and fashion needs to go. No more white. No more gray. Our lives need color, healing color, now more than ever. Let finally use color the way we should. I’m really looking forward to your results. Thank you.


  3. Pingback: Color Is Starting To Unfold – Finally Does Someone Get It? | Decorating by Donna • Color Expert

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