The Color of Happy

I was privileged to attend Colormix 2016 yesterday at Dallas Market Center. It was a gathering sponsored by Sherwin Williams — a gala event that included displays from the market’s  furniture and decor showrooms as well as lunch. The business of the day, of course, was the unveiling of new color trends for the coming year.

Attended by more than 600 designers, style-setters, architects and merchandisers, it started me thinking about the effects of color — on our moods, in daily lives, in table settings, clothing, furniture and even food. I also considered how the color palette affects the palate as I read the luncheon menu. The tablescapes were impressive, decorated with freshness and verve. But there was a distinct color choice in the menu:  20151013_120250

  • Ancho chicken roulade, with spinach on a purple corn tamal cake
  • Golden corn salad, with purple tip romaine, purple cabbage, yellow grape tomatoes . . .
  • Purple cauliflower soup shooter
  • Lavender panna cotta with edible flower garnish

Can you see the direction this is going?

The subtle menu theme extended into the four individualized color schemes with the names, Pura Vida, Mas Amor Por Favor, Nouveau Narrative, and Trajectory. Each has at least one color that leans toward purple, lavender, plum or a grayed and mysterious color of dusk. There are brights as well. Explore the rationale    behind the collection and check out the full spectrum: It’s a treat!

As Paula Deen is fond of saying: “First you eat with your eyes.” Nutritionists recommend that we fill our plates with color in order to fuel our bodies properly in a natural way. Increasingly, mental health specialists study color in our natural and built environments to explain our moods, encourage wellness, spur creativity and create calm.

It is also obvious that we rely on color to express ourselves: Just consider “feeling blue,” “in a black mood,” “a sunny expression,” “in the pink,” “seeing red,” and “as clear as black and white.”

Does color have a single meaning?

What is this thing called color? Scientists tell us it has to do with the way light is refracted. Artists tell us that color is personal. And we know that different people see and experience color in different ways. We speak of the absence of color, of nuances of color, and of colorful language.


The paint company does a great job of answering some of these questions. Predictions for 2016 are based on tradition, the economy,  environmental influences, the artistic climate, technology, and a multitude of other factors. The way in which new color palettes are determined and introduced is as creative and fascinating as the colors themselves.

So what is the Color of Happy?

For the coming year, according to Sherwin Williams, colors are  influenced by many factors, among them:

  • Fresh mindfulness
  • Vintage workmanship
  • Social engagement
  • Technology and materials that seem to come from out of this world.

The overriding theme of yesterday’s presentation, evident in everything from tablescapes to the audio-visual presentation, was the “passionate pursuit” of a shared color consciousness.

Here’s to adding a bit of color to your life next year, in whatever manner you choose to do so!

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