And the color of the year is … a salad?
Well, no, it’s actually a green field.
When the Behr Paint marketing team emailed that the company would announce its Color of the Year (COTY) and palette via a virtual cooking class with a celebrity chef, I was intrigued.
Like most major paint manufacturers, Behr announces its choice after its color experts have predicted what the “in” color will be for the coming year.
As artificial as these announcements are, the chef’s point of view has given a yawn of a story a new twist. Celebrity chef Curtis Stone ran a group of design reporters on how to make a 15-ingredient salad while talking about color.
“As chefs, we think about color all the time,” he said. “When we see a multitude of colors on a plate, it screams ‘Fresh!’.”
At the end of the demo, Stone’s elaborate salad was tossed brightly into a camera-ready masterpiece while my ingredients weren’t even in the same bowl. Everything so that I could experience the color of the year.
So what is it Well it’s a bunch of mixed greens. Several companies have announced their 2022 COTY in the past few weeks, and while their selections are unique, they each hit cool soft greens.
Behr, a brand sold exclusively at The Home Depot, chose Breezeway (MQ3-21), “a silvery green shade with cool undertones,” according to the press materials. “Breezeway evokes feelings of coolness and peace, while at the same time representing the desire to move forward and discover new-found passions.”
Sounds more like a cruise ship than a paint chipped off.
PPG, a leading paint manufacturer based in Pittsburgh, named Olive Sprig (PPG1125-4). “This color is an elegant, grounded, versatile and extremely adaptable gray-green. This color represents regrowth in a post-pandemic world and mimics nature’s resilience, ”PPG spokeswoman Amy Donato said in a statement. “With our society in a state of thought, hope, and optimism, consumers tend to choose more colorful choices like Olive Sprig.”
In its forecast for 2022, Farrow & Ball, a more expensive UK paint brand, marked Breakfast Room Green (# 81). Noteworthy: each of these brands combine their chosen green with shades of creamy beige and retro brick red. Behr shows Breezeway next to Whisper White (HDC-MD-08) and Perfect Penny (S180-6). Farrow & Ball includes School House White (# 291) and Incarnadine, a rich purple (# 248).
So what should we think of this trend?
While this COTY deal seems like a marketing gimmick, the predictions don’t come out of nowhere. Color researchers from around the world meet annually to discuss what is going on in the world socially, artistically, and politically, and then to predict which hues consumers will prefer. This helps designers and manufacturers stay in step and make goods that go together.
Does the market anticipate what we want or do we want what is in the market? It’s a chicken and egg puzzle. What I know is that these color campaigns are meant to get consumers to think about painting or repainting their homes.
However, they are just trends. Don’t rush to redesign your home the color of the year unless you are planning a remodel and you love the new color. Being aware of the COTYs is like seeing a fashion show on the catwalk. Just because models wear fur-trimmed neon hot pants with suspenders doesn’t mean you have to change your wardrobe.
Look beyond the paint at the palette. Just as certain wines go well with certain foods, the color depends on the society that fosters them. Color companies are exceptionally good at creating palettes – clusters of colors that work together to bring out the best in themselves. As with a good salad, there is a successful color in the mix.
Marni Jameson is the author of six books on household and lifestyle, including Downsizing the Family Home – What to Save, What to Let Go. Contact them at marnijameson.com.