Insights, Ideas and Inspiration
Women wearing different outfits in hues of purple, yellow, green and blue.
Timeless, temporary and trending. What makes a colour fall in and out of favour
October 5, 2022

Some colours are timeless. No matter what generation you are—Boomer, Gen Z, Millennial—you’ve likely worn clothes, painted rooms, and seen logos in colours that never seem to change, such as black, white, red, dark green, navy blue and neutral grey.


But some colours are more associated with a particular time or season. For example, the purples, pinks, orange and browns that were popular in the 60s and 70s are combinations that come back every now and again. And we can always tell when holidays are coming around. As customers, we expect to see blacks and oranges in October and greens and reds to become prominent in December; it’s familiar, even comforting. Conversely, seeing those combinations in spring or summer can be jarring.


What makes a colour popular? Why were neon pink, purples and greens so popular in the 1980s but then fall (far, very far) out of favour by the turn of the decade?


Blame part of it on the trendsetting effects of fashion. It can take years to develop the colours that will come (or at least which the industry hopes will come) into widespread use. The fashion industry is a bit secretive about the hues and colours they’re banking on, but those choices are tested extensively before being launched, and are promoted heavily when released.


Fashion however is not the only industry where colours come to be in vogue. Hollywood plays a role as well. The khaki and neutral colours of ‘Out of Africa’, the Matrix’s’ black and cold metallic elements and the dark green velvets and rich metal tones of the ‘Lord of the Rings’ series, have all influenced colour schemes and materials to the point where fashion indeed follows the lead of the entertainment world.


As those colours become more popular, their use and combinations no longer seem so discordant. As they begin to find favour with the public, these trends trickle down to other areas, including graphic design.


What does this mean for your organization? Well, there is nothing wrong with sticking to timeless colours. But there is something to say for going with the times as well. Something like a website or a flyer–things with a relatively short shelf life—can be good places to use colours that are currently in vogue, reflecting current trends and perhaps being representative of the times we live in. Doing so can mean having to do more regular updates to your online presence, but that’s something that is good to do for useability and technology reasons as well.


We’re not suggesting you switch your branding every year based on the latest whims of fashion. But using appropriate colours can demonstrate an understanding of what your audience is looking for and ensure you’re not seen as completely dated and, dare we say, out of fashion.


Contact us to learn how you can leverage the power of colour as part of your overall marketing efforts. Yue’ll be tickled-pink with the results.