Nippon releases colour forecast for 2020-2021

An NIFT professor along with Nippon Paint has come out with colour predictions for 2020-2021 based on human emotions and thought processes

It looks much like a coffee table book; with pages and pages of colours that will dominate the décor and design world in the year to come. But there’s more: there are also interesting stories woven in to categorise these colours based on human emotions and thought processes. The Nippon Paint Color Vision book, which aims to be a reference point for the design community, was conceptualised in March 2018 and is a result of over six workshops that had people from various professions participate — musicians, filmmakers, bikers, food bloggers, architects, environmentalists, fashion designers, design educators, media experts, entrepreneurs and even toy and craft experts.

The brainchild of Kaustav SenGupta, associate professor, NIFT Chennai and a colour expert, and Mahesh S Anand, president (decorative division), Nippon Paint (India), the Color Vision book took months of research to be put together. “About four years ago, we first collaborated with NIFT when we wanted to launch our designer finish series called Memento. We asked students to use various tools at their disposal (household items) to design paint. The results were astounding, they used everything from tissue papers, hangers, hair brushes, toothbrushes, gunny bags and ribbons to create a range of designs. Of these, 10 were finalised and released as designs for Memento in India. It was during the course of this that we met Kaustav SenGupta and that is how the colour forecast came about. His team on the project has been a range of NIFT students,” says Mahesh.

(right) Mahesh S Anand during one of the focus group activities  
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special arrangement

When one discusses colour of the year, one naturally thinks of the globally renowned Pantone Color of the Year. However, this they insist is starkly different. “While Pantone releases one colour for the year, the Color Vision goes beyond a single colour trend. It maps human emotions and the way society is evolving as a whole,” says Kaustav, “And emotions cannot be categorised under a single colour.” So the book lists various colour stories, each signifying a category of emotions and depth of consciousness pertaining to three essential groups — youth, North and South.

“It is not a geographical but a mindset segmentation. There are 15 stories in all — seven for youth, four for North and four for South. These stories are key and will have an impact in the next two years,” says Kaustav. The stories range from Sloli (the need to live a slow life), Flawsome (celebrating flaws), Purpassion (to have passion with a purpose), Lo+ve (Loving positively), to N.O.W. (listening is more important than seeing), Space (giving space to everyone) and Soul Code (the need to focus on self and not just on one’s career).

(left to right) Kaustav Sengupta with Mark Titus of Nippon
 
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Each of these stories has different colours associated with it. For instance, under Deep Sleep, there are muted colours, while Innocensuality has a range of innocent yet sensual colours such as dragonfruit, a playful coral shade. Blendentity which features under South stories features orange pop, gold and greens, while N.O.W. which features under North stories has more muted white lilac, violet whisper, Caribbean cruise (a muted blue). The stark contrast in the colour stories for the North and South, says Kaustav is thanks to the differing thought processes. “For instance, people from the South are finally speaking up and making their voices heard, while in the North, they seem to be turning to introspection and are looking to become better listeners. The colours are a reflection of these mindsets. The youth on the other hand are looking to celebrate flaws and a life with purpose; the colours here are a mix of bright shades, some with muted undertones and even shades of grey and black,” says Kaustav.

“Colour is a very subconscious element. You might choose whatever appeals to you at that moment; you may not be able to pinpoint what it is about the colour that attracted you to it. Unless you really delve into it and are very self-aware,” explains Kaustav. These stories emerged from the workshops and discussion groups they began conducting since April 2018. The results of these activities were then run through the Munsell color system, a colour image emotion association model and a consciousness mapping system (the latter two have been developed by Kaustav) to arrive at the final colours, that were then further categorised into the aforementioned stories.

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