The Colour Cycle
The Economy
Economic conditions can, and do, influence something as personal as colour choice. In the hard pressed 30s house paints, fabrics and floor coverings were chosen to "last forever" and protect the owner's investment. The colour palette of buffs, grays and muddy blues and greens reflected this philosophy as they were less likely to show dirt.
Television & the Movies
The glitz and glitter of Dynasty, the most popular evening soap of the '80s had a direct influence on the home furnishing market. Metallics appeared in fabrics, wallcoverings and furniture finishes. Walls were treated with mirrors and light reflective metals. Blockbuster film hits such as Star Wars and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles became instant décor for every kid under the age of twelve in the form of posters, wallpaper, toys and even clothing.
Technology & Science
Technology has, and will continue to have, a direct influence on colour and design. Colours of the Victorian era were a result of the discovery of aniline dyes which were stronger and more harsh than previous colouring agents. Victorian colours, which today would be unacceptable, included Pompeii red, tobacco brown, buff, olive and maroon. During the '50s a revolution in the paint industry was spawned by the introduction of tinted colours. Up to this time, the choice of colour was limited to ready-mixed "safe" pastels and neutrals. The new tints gave the consumer the possibility of an infinite choice of colours for the first time.
Forecasting Colour Directions
The Importance of Correct Forecasting
1890 to 1920 - "The Revolt Against Things Victorian"
The Twenties - "Black, White and Silver"
The Thirties - "White to Bright"
The War Years - "Red, White and Blue"
The Fifties - "Paint the Town Pink"
The Sixties - "Flower Power"
The Seventies - "The Colour Naturals"
The Eighties - "Grey is No Longer Tattletale"
The Nineties - "A Return to Nature"
The environment and advances in computers and technology were the biggest influences on the decade. The attention to environmental concerns impacted both the way products were made and were ultimately disposed. Less packaging, recycled materials and recycling programs were seen throughout the world in an effort to reduce the impact on the natural environment. A return to nature was seen through the use of greens and warm beiges. The mauve cast neutrals, including gray and beige that first made an appearance in the late 80s continued through the 90s. Fabrics saw manufactured floral prints and metallics began to shimmer in architectural details and accents. The advances in computer technology saw the explosive expansion of the World Wide Web into businesses, schools, homes - even in 'smart' appliances. With the incredibly rapid changes from 92-99, colours were used to comfort and protect us from the chaotic world outside.
2000 and Beyond
As technology continues to mesh with our homes and workplaces, we will seek a balance between new and old. Colours that harmonize with the environment, comforting and protecting us. The layering of colours, glazes and metallics allow for translucency and depth to colour schemes. Nature will continue to play an important role as water becomes the dominant influence.

Special thanks to David Beech, B.I.D.

1. World Furniture -- Edited by Noel Riley
2. Art Through The Ages -- By Helen Gardner
3. Colour -- Edited and Designed by Marshall Editions Ltd.
4. Colour Marketing Group (CMG), Arlington, Va.
5. New World To Conquer -- By Frank Ogden, Futurist
6. Our Planet -- By David Suzuki
7. Couture -- Influence in the '90s -- By Pauline Ashworth