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Color Predictions for 2004

Color changes with the seasons. Generally we associate spring with soft pastels, while the fall ushers in shades of reds, golds, and browns. Yet, there is a lot more to color than that.

Colors are dynamic. They are ever-present elements in floral design. The predominant shades change from one year to the next.

How can floral designers know what to expect? Recently I received an email asking for the names of the groups involved in making color predictions.

The colors we see in any given year are the result of predictions made well in advance. Using these predictions, apparel makers, textile designers, and others begin planning for production of items for consumers, such as home accents, featuring those predicted trends.

There are several organizations that specialize in color prediction. In the U.S., we have the Color Association of the United States.

There is also a Color Marketing Group. This organization has over 1500 members. Their predictions may be made up to three years in advance to give all the product designers the lead-time they need. Members of the Color Marketing Group receive this information as a membership benefit, while others have to pay in order to receive the color palette.

Plant breeders often respond to market demands in the long term. Experts say that cool colors may be making a comeback. So now the breeders will probably adapt their breeding programs to take full advantage of the trend. Some years ago bulb breeders were able to respond to the demand for pastel flowers by creating many new varieties of bulbs with pastel blooms. They couldn’t do this overnight or in a single growing season because breeding work does take several years. However, they can follow long-term trends to meet consumer demand for a given color palette.

Cut flower breeders can also follow the same long-term trends, and come up with colors to meet the needs of floral designers.

For 2004, the Color Marketing Group forecast showcases several dozen colors. Among the colors you will see is Crystal Sky, Coppertunity, and Good Earth—an earth toned brown.

In case you’re wondering, colors from the past can return. Apparently teal, which was popular some years ago, will return for another season.

What other colors might we see in 2004? I can hardly wait for the season to unfold and present us with the answer

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