Bill Schaffer AIFD, AAF, PFCI and Kristine Kratt AIFD, PFCI
Color inspiration comes from many places, emotions and imaginations. As our world has become intimately connected, our horizons have broadened and become more insightful, more influenced and definitely more colorful. In this time of global connectivity, world cultures create color trends and style inspirations more than ever before. Images of exotic travel destinations, the excitement and anticipation of Olympic venues, social and environmental awareness and even pop-culture locales influence cultural trends. Cultural Colorscapes easily inspire as they tend to blend earthy neutrals with accents rich and vibrant in hues that define their location on the globe.
As much as we have recently been making a study of soft almost “colorless” colors as U.S. trends, we are seeing an addendum of brights adding contrast to our neutral “greige” and blushes thanks to the influence of our connected world. Playing off the “new neutrals” of camel, millennial pink, and navy, we are seeing pops of vibrant color that give contrast and excitement to modern design palettes.
The colors of deserts of North and Central America are still trending with their sandy golds and grays, greens of every shade and hue, and subtle reds and plums. Think succulents, tillandsia and cacti with the natural earth-tones of river stones and terra cotta pottery.
New to our world-map of color is the southern Mediterranean region. The Iberian Peninsula with Barcelona, Spain, and Lisbon, Portugal are among the latest influencers in color and interior trends. The laid-back styles focus on embracing traditional handicrafts and community experiences such as street festivals and outdoor dining on late summer evenings. Fringed textiles, woven textures, crochet, brightly glazed ceramics and rustic pale wood tones tell the tale of the lifestyle of people enjoying humble and sun-drenched days by the sea. Colors focus on blues, intense shades of dusty pink, bright orange and kumquat citrus tones.
Less than 10 miles due south of Spain we explore the next trending continent; Africa. Inspiration is everywhere in this land of deserts, grasslands and forests. A dynamic blend of deep, Saharan mid-tone colors are sparked by an array of saturated Bakongo brights. African craft techniques are modernized through unexpected color applications and a fusion of organic and synthetic materials. Intense color combinations and a bold graphic edge inject contemporary design. Ancient traditions collide with modernity blending a creative mix of dynamic textiles and surface textures. Neutrals such as warm browns and terra-cotta combine with reds and coral, rich blues, bright grass-green and warm gold.
One last Cultural Colorscape leap and we arrive in Japan, who’s cultural aesthetic has always been inspired by an appreciation of nature, art and design. Japanese tradition meets a sleek modernism. Handcrafted elements are essential alongside minimalist architecture and spherical patterns and prints. Trending in decor, we see abstract, watercolor strokes and floral patterns, calligraphy characters, and the retro stylings of traditional Japanese imagery. Neutrals of black, indigo blue and white contrast powerfully with bright saffron gold, red and burgundy, rich plum, soft latte and foggy grays.
Just as that very first flower may have been picked for sheer beauty and color, the world continues to have that same passion. As trends shift and merge, one thing we can be sure of … the culture of color will always inspire.
Originally published in the October 2017 Issue of Florists Review