The 4 top colour trends for 2016

Studies have shown that up to 90 per cent of snap judgments made about products can be based on colour alone, so choosing the right one can be crucial – which means you need to know 2016's top colour trends, whether you use them or not.

Today, brands are going further than just using the right colour in a logo or product to be 'on trend'. From fashion to food and furnishings, colour is being used to entice, excite, inspire and engage consumers.

Here we'll provide you with four key colour trends for 2016, together with the key insights driving these palettes.

Discover the specific palettes that relate to each of these trends in an exclusive report by creative consultancy FranklinTill, in issue 248 of Computer Arts, on sale now (opens in new tab).

01. Less is best

Colour trends 2016 simplicity

Nuori beauty packaging by NR2154, NYC, photography by Peter Krasilnikoff

The trend for simplicity has evolved since 2013, with brands stripping back to stand out. Even packaging for fine wine is being stripped of anything extraneous.

The timelessness of 2016's modern neutrals will flourish and be able to stand the test of the time. Limited colour palettes of black, white and greys offer clarity in a sea of choice and visual (over)stimulation.

02. Blue hues

Trehalose Artifacts by Jaime Tai

Trehalose Artifacts by Jaime Tai

The battle to save the world's oceans has a bigger presence than ever across lifestyle sectors, and oceanic shades come to the fore in design.

The growing interest in these great expanses of blue and their desperate state is inspiring a new appreciation of the nuance, richness and meaning of the colour blue itself, from flat, deep blues and watery creeping marble bleeds to oxidised aquamarine and recycled denim.

03. Colour healing

Day & Night Light by Éléonore Delisse

Day & Night Light by Éléonore Delisse

Soft ombres and warm tones reign as an audience focused on wellness increasingly craves mindfulness, escape and relaxation. Our natural circadian rhythm is disrupted by our digital lifestyles and excessive connectivity as screen interfaces warp our body clocks, preventing relaxation and disrupting sleep.

Designers such as Éléonore Delisse address this imbalance by creating products that use the soothing, warm orange believed to counteract the cool, energising blue light inherent in digital interfaces.

04. Industrial pastels

Kampo Lounge by Studio ID

Kampo Lounge by Studio ID

Shifting from feminine to masculine, reflecting gender neutrality and equality, pink becomes the new neutral and soft pastel tones get an industrial reworking in 2016.

Mint green and powdered shades of pink become key and appear in large quantities and in expansive forms. Sickly sweet shades are neutralised by accents of bright yellow, warm grey and inky blue-black to create a palette that is soft, sophisticated and gender-neutral.

Words: Kate Franklin, FranklinTill Studio (opens in new tab)
Opening image: The Brutalist Playground by Assemble and Simon Terrill, photography by Tristan Fewings, Getty Images for RIBA

Read the rest of FranklinTill's 2016 colour trends analysis, and find out how to harness the power of 2016's top palettes in your design work, with Computer Arts issue 248 – on sale here (opens in new tab).

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