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Are you colour coded this year?

It’s decided. Last year it was aubergine; this year tomato puree and pink champagne are on the menu. And some bits of sky blue. With that, we don't mean things to eat or drink, but just that these are the hot colours for everything — from cars and gadgets to fabric and make-up — for the new year. Ruchira Hoon reports.

india Updated: Jan 09, 2010 23:58 IST
Ruchira Hoon

It’s decided. Last year it was aubergine; this year tomato puree and pink champagne are on the menu. And some bits of sky blue. With that, we don't mean things to eat or drink, but just that these are the hot colours for everything — from cars and gadgets to fabric and make-up — for the new year.

You don’t have to be a therapist to know that yellows make you feel cheery, greens calmer and greys, well, a little dull. Colours evoke emotive responses and are perhaps a choice we make everyday. Which is why, if you follow trends, then it’s the call of the colour forecaster that you have to hear.

It’s a tough job, say colour forecasters who predict colours for the upcoming season, for no one really wants to take them seriously and yet are heavily dependent on their judgment to see whether the trends tick.

According to Latika Khosla, design director of Freedom Tree, a trend and colour consultancy, “Colours are a way to live, a way to express yourself. Every industry, from fashion, interiors, gadgets or even cars, tries to pick up what the consumer is feeling at that point and then bridge the gap,” she says.

Colours are lifestyle choices, which affects the way consumers feel about a product. “We’ve all heard about men going through mid-life crisis and buying a red Ferrari, but a canary yellow car can only be bought by a person with a sense of humour,” says Ruchika Tanwar, a colour specialist with a leading fashion label.

So how does one decide what’s going to be ‘hot’ the coming year? “Ideas are put together almost two to three years in advance,” says Khosla, who also works with the Colour Marketing Group, a company that forecasts colour. “We try and imagine how people would like to look in the next couple of years. And people from over 40 different industries including that of cell phones, scooters, toiletries, watches, linen etc get together to brainstorm and decide on what they think is the next big thing.”

For the Indian market, colour forecasting is heavily dependent on the industry it’s catering to.

For example, fashion and makeup colours are mostly decided internationally and then are tweaked to suit the Indian skin. Interiors, gadgets and clothes are pretty much decided by individual teams who know what Indians will like.

But finally, it’s the films that do the talking. “Bollywood is the single biggest trendsetter today,” says image consultant Shagun Oberoi. “If the walls are painted tangerine in the biggest blockbuster of the season, then you’ll see a spate of shades of orange. If Katrina Kaif is spotted wearing black nailpolish, then goth it is.”

Yet, auto analyst and expert Ronojoy Mukherjee believes that Indians believe in playing it safe mostly, at least when it comes to cars. “We can give people as many shades of greens or reds, but they are only going to buy silver or gold and white. Which is why some colours just die a natural death and companies have to find new colours to show what they’ve come up with for the next year.”