Spring Summer 2012 Trends

GCD caught up with colour consultants Global Color Research™ a few weeks ago at the Interiors show in Birmingham.  Global Color Research™ started in 1999 and has established itself worldwide by creating credible and applicable trends for clients in many areas.  At the show Justine Fox, the Creative Projects colour Researcher,  presented Psychology & Trends: What colours will we be looking for at home in Spring Summer 2012 and why? We take a look at what she had to say as well as explore the Spring Summer 2012 Trends from Global Color Research™ and Mix Publications.

Psychology & Trends: What colours will we be looking for at home in Spring Summer 2012 and why? by Justine Fox

Fox began by explaining that there is a clear psychology behind colour and it is very important not only to understand their individual meaning but also understand what it means in different cultures and areas of the world.  She gave the example of the colour green.  For Islam it is a sacred colour, in the UK it is an unlucky colour, citing that one is more likely to have a car crash involving a green car (perhaps hearsay!), while green is the luck of the Irish.  Added to this cultural symbolism is one’s own experience, one’s own personal symbolism which reflected in their publication MIX.

She went on to clarify that colour trends also vary tremendously between industries, saying that interiors is much slower than fashion for example.  However, the situations that affect these industries can reflect some global commonalities in terms of psychology.  Fox explains that the continuing economic crisis still makes people uneasy in decision making, globalisation has created a mass of digital natives, and personal security is uncertain and makes people want to return to childhood, at time when life was much less complicated.  From this viewpoint Global Color Research™ came up with the following colour forecast for Spring Summer 2012.


People are looking for personal enlightenment; disappointed with the establishment they are moving away from traditional religions.  The continuing economic pressure is murky and people are looking for clarity.  A range of grays in this trend is a sign of insecurity, or residual unsureness yet there are blue and lavender undertones.  The presence of soft yellow indicates a touch of optimism aside a ‘silver lining’ brought about by dusted metallic finishes.  This trend was heavily influenced by the Italian market, especially Milan, where the “distressed luxury” look is everywhere from buildings to monuments, this effect can be easily applied to the electronics world in the form of soft reflective tones.

There is tension between light and dark in Epiphany.  A need for spiritual comfort and contrast between one’s heritage and the present instability inspires “luxury vintage”.  Textures are soft/hairy and comforting, floors are getting lighter to create visual space; leathers and soft wools are used to make our surroundings more cosy.  This trend does also still look at products that can help the environment as part of the path of finding a new use for old things and personal enlightenment.


Creativity is the centre of this trend with the visual image of a whiteboard as its instrument.  Bright colours such as red, the main accent, make something from nothing more ‘fun’.  Purple is an important colour in this palette speaking of mysticism, luxury, and escapism.  All artistic mediums are explored such as etching, engraving, anything that makes an indelible mark.  Metals become dark with blackened silvers and steels creating rough and random energy.  Rebellion of the status quo is a definitive undertone.  Using technology in more creative ways encourages individual pieces, with rough treatments, and big textures in knitting…think Mr. Messy Fox says.  Soft rubber floorings fit into this trend as do Jackson Pollack splats and Mecano DIY.


Predominantly powered by pink this trend looks for pink tones in nature not Barbie manufactured pinks.  This is a reaction to the doldrums and aspires to a life that is a little more frivolous, like that if fairy princesses.  Masculine frivolity is not forgotten as mustard, camel, and aqua blues play into the trend as well with a kind of 60’s mix.  Shapes are delicate and voluminous as if to hide an object underneath frills and taffeta, airy but shapely with a determined volume underneath.  Random imperfections come alive with the use of powdered reflective surfaces and tinted transparencies using the aforementioned soft tints.  This movement is all about forgetting our day-to-day worries.


2012 is targeted as the year for digital reality with Photoshop celebrating 20 years and the next Avatar perhaps to be launched.  As the debate on how much print will go digital there is a focus on making the internet more colour savvy, and vica versa it will influence our colour palettes.  Real neon brights grounded in very soft cream tones is Fox’s direction with soft blues and jungle super real nature colour infusions.  Slick clean surfaces in architecture with a lot of glass injected into the equation.  In commercial spaces we will see the use of flatpack and inflatable furniture to allow for flexibility and adaptability in working spaces.  Refracted neon and lighting will create moods in spaces more readily by adding fluorescence to our environment.  The 80’s techno backlash continues as well for surfaces inspired by patterns and graphic formation that can change.  The use of holograms and 3D textile textures, as seen at the Interiors Show, breathe depth into furniture in a simple and effective way.  The debate of synthetic vs. natural continues posing questions such as the validity of generating new materials from natures scarce resources or using the synthetic ones we have and finding new ways to re-use them.  Fox spoke of a “futuristic tropical cocktail of colour” and jungle fauna coming into the world of colour, not real nature but a heightened virtual nature. “When we talk about Monitor its not only about the screen but also keeping an eye out”, she said in summary.

Our thanks to Justine Fox, Creative Projects, of Global Color Research™ and Mix Publications.

All images are courtesy SS2012MixTrends@GlobalColorResearch™Limited. All rights reserved.