Monday, March 2, 2009

Ultron Color Trends - Los Angeles Designer Event Insights

In this post, brace yourself for fascinating insights from designers in Los Angeles about color and color inspiration...

“Color is about art and architecture……"

Ultron Color Trends - Designer Workshops gives you background on these amazing events. Ultron carpet fiber brought together seasoned designers in a first-ever series of four workshops to discuss color trends. The events took place in 2008 over an eight week period in four cities around the country: Los Angeles, Seattle, Chicago and New York.

Eight to 12 designers were invited to each event and asked to bring inspiring color chips, samples, magazine articles, photos and swatches.

Ann Hurley acted as facilitator and guide for the sessions.

Here follows color family details and insights from the Los Angeles session:


Stark white has been seen everywhere in the past 10 years in a very “60’s mod” style, usually paired with bright orangey reds and blacks. This is an icy blue/white, very cool but without the harshness. Pair it with jewel-tones of a warmer hue.

White - The print and digital industry is now using interesting textured paper to print large scale graphics to create more dimensional neutrals and art prints. White is still associated with peace and hope as well as purity - it balances any color in contrast and will therefore always remain a necessity.

Metallic Silver - Technological advances are allowing greater diversity in materials and use. Hospitality is not the only industry embracing this use – Aviation lounges, terminals, institutional/educational are adapting this high tech feel without the “coldness” of the 1950s military era.

BMW Black. Timeless, pure with no metallic flecks and no other color mixture -- simplicity, formality, finality. This color can be juxtaposed to any color in almost any application - and in carpet it can be blended with any color thread. It means different things worldwide – usually very good or very bad!

Concrete-like, warm neutrality. A good “medium” hue that blends well with lighter or darker colors. Good with black, white or colors. It can be used on floors, walls, ceilings, both exterior or interior. Can be on counters, furniture, fabrics, flooring, etc. It’s modern yet “clay-like” (gray clay).

Blue - Greens

It inspires Nostalgia. Most color trends are variations of previous color trends, generally within the past 20-40 years. This color is a softer, more muted shade of lavender than was prevalent in the early 80s. It is reminiscent of the purple and white floral prints that were everywhere in the early ‘80s, but with less pastel-y quality. Pair it with a soft milky white. There have been shade variations of orange, green, blue, brown and pink in recent years, but purple has not been as popular. It will return this season.

This color is a softer, more muted cornflower blue. It evokes memories of sitting rooms, tea rooms painted cornflower blue and adorned with Delft painted ceramics.

It inspires Nostalgia. The soft minty and leaf greens are a variation of both 50s inspired hues, as well as Chinese art deco. Pair it with very soft, very muted pale yellows, grays and pale pinks, in interiors as well as for garments.

Simplicity in a crystalline mood, the power of tranquility and simplicity. The importance of light.

The aqua blue is another color on the heels of fashion/80s influence. It goes extremely well as a compliment to the yellow greens – oranges. Perfect for water related concepts, and more edgy in retail than a navy or purple/blue.

Again, mid century modern is still big – especially in S. Cal. Warmer wood tones are slowly taking over the dark espressos that have reigned the last 2-3 years. It’s also an eco friendly green color, as bamboos and cork are more sought out these days.

Yellow- Orange- Red

It references the imperial yellow glaze found on dynasty-era Chinese ceramics, as well as Moroccan tile. Pair it with brilliant blues, whites and rich chocolaty browns.

For its chameleon qualities: is it green, is it yellow. It can be used on various surfaces. It blends well w/brightly hued colors. It can be used for retail, commercial, residential, hospitality, healthcare.

The yellow green has been here for a while but it won't be going away in the next year yet. It shows up in product, interiors – everywhere. This mid century color is especially popular in LA/California because of the architecture here and trend factor. Used more in retail applications.
This red thread was found in a China factory using centuries – old techniques. Admire the "freshness” of the color. It's amazingly visible with minimal quantity and best used as an accent only and definitely sparingly. For bolder areas – could be used more generously.

+ A respect of the intrinsic identities of other cultures
+ A blend of ancient and futuristic roots
+ The power of international style

Orange - Diversification in cultures and influences of the sun still make this color universal. As foreign countries “westernize” their projects the sunset is still universally understood. This color appears in graphics still as a predominant request for high tech companies, but softer accents for residential and hospitality.

The warm orange/creamsicle color is still here to stay. Used mainly as an accent color, but works well in a variety of projects. It’s inviting, and not too trendy, but being used a lot in retail.

Next, the findings from the Seattle workshop.

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