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Each year, I review the trend world with one major quest: to answer the question “Why” behind color and design trends. If you understand the big picture trend story, then the parts and pieces of design and color come together with ease, interest and texture.

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The ColorVoyant Watch

Color Trends Watch

6.3.2012 12.00

Color Clustering refers to the combination of colors grouped in a small space still having vibrancy to stand on their own. Color Staccatos are reliant upon one another to cover the surface with impactful color. Color Blocking canvases large areas of the surface. Internal color: The heat is on with the glow of the brights into the color spectrum.

Color Trends Watch: Color Clustering—Color Staccatos—Color Blocking

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Clustering is the combination of colors grouped in a small space but still have vibrancy to stand on their own. This image shows hand-worked cross-stitch at Passagen’s “Jack in the box” warehouse exhibition 2012 in Cologne. Camel naturals are becoming the newest of naturals to support the vibrant clustering of color accents. 

S400 from Tikkurila's Symphony color collection is the perfect camel canvas upon which these vibrant colors sing. S400 is accented with K381 (a blued lime green) + M343 purple + G340 lavender pink + K365 (sea diver’s blue).

Tikkurila S400Tikkurila K381Tikkurila M343Tikkurila G340Tikkurila K365

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Pedro Santuro and Paulo Franco of Sao Paulo, Brazil cluster color staccatos for vibrant and animated color “texture”.  Ooh La Laa & Co. uses buttons to collage staccatos of shimmering color for furniture surface treatments.

Staccatos of color are reliant upon one another to cover the surface with impactful color. They generally act as vibrant dotted color texture as seen in these images above.

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Blocking of color canvases larger areas of the surface than the color staccato and clustering techniques. Color blocks are continuing to trend. At Sculpture Jeux: A Mondrian-inspired table is designed with color options that can be selected depending upon the mood and décor. This color technique builds in the flexibility of color, shape and texture for any interior accent and makes it easy to coordinate wall color. 

Tikkurila colors are inspired by the organic solid table color combination in the above image.

Tikkurila N388Tikkurila J367Tikkurila V449Tikkurila M503

Color Trends Watch: Internal Color

The heat has been turned up with the glow of the brights back into the color spectrum. With neutrals all abound in the past several years, now is the time for optimism and activity—one of renewed hope and vibrancy. The influence of volcanic activity and the yearning for more vibrant lifestyles also drive this trend. Hints of fiery and glowing color will glow even hotter in the year to come… not always red-hot, though. Consider deep aquatic blues and greens that have energy.ColorTrendsWatch 07

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Internal Glow: Cooled off neutral color exterior recedes as the internal chroma vibrates and glows. Top left: David Trubridge of New Zealand lights a fire of color from within with his orbital lighting @ Wanted Design 2011 NYC. Top right: Passagen, Cologne 2012. Ceramic cups “fired” with an internal color heat. They are vibrant and organic hues bubbling from within.

Tikkurila colors on the inside from the Symphony color collection

Tikkurila L316Tikkurila M327Tikkurila L372Tikkurila K303

Tikkurila colors on the outside from the Symphony color collection

Tikkurila X395Tikkurila S400

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Internal Metals: At the imm Cologne show in January, Spal Tart by Klaus Wangen Design (, innovatively turns up the internal color heat by using metallic glowing accents shining through wall installations. Natural finished wood fragments are contrasted with minimal, yet intense shine peeking through.

Tikkurila metallic colors from the Taika color collection

Paint goldGold glaze
Gold KM (paint)
Gold KL (glaze)
Primer recommendation X393

Copper paintCopper glaze
2079 Sole KM (paint)
2090 Cordelia KL (glaze)
Primer recommendation K408

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Pillow image on the left: Italian company Poemo Design at Maison et Objet in Paris ( The next three images: The draped color natural fabrics are from Teixidors of Barcelona, Spain:

Color Naturals: And a word about the ever important naturals that have been sustaining us throughout these economic times… they have a staying power and allow us to focus and to rest. The influence of subtle chroma will shift sustaining naturals into colored naturals—reminders of cosmetic powders that are universal.

Whites are softened with a mellowing effect, taking off the edge that has been around for a while.

Tikkurila color from the Symphony color collection

Tikkurila F485


Tikkurila "color naturals" from the Symphony color collection

Tikkurila K470Tikkurila H477Tikkurila J439Tikkurila S481Tikkurila K487Tikkurila S471

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Chroma Naturals: Skrivo of Milan showcased their softened natural color clocked chair at the imm show in Cologne in January. The idea of combining chroma-infused colors into one design gives way to many translations within the interior: blocks on the wall, multiple colors in one space….It’s about options—and opportunities.

Final words

Next quarter, I will be reviewing Milan Design Week 2012. This year’s focus at iSaloni at the Fiera will be EuroCucina. Other sections of the city, Ventura Lambrate and Zona Tortona plus more, will be highlighted with world renown and discovered new design talent and leading trends. 

Stay tuned for more insights with The ColorVoyant® Watch!

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