year of color 2017

Printers and designers better GET READY for 2017 because everywhere I look I see COLOR.

Something’s in the wind. Things are changing. People NEED color.

They CRAVE color.

The other day I looked around my living room and thought, “Yuck, this is DRAB!”

Feeling overwhelmed by blah-ness, I went to my favorite home decor magazines and websites and made note of the rooms that spoke to me.

Speaking loud and clear were the rooms with color.

So if I’m right (and I think I am), this year we’re going to see print following consumer preferences in retail, home furnishings and fashion. Color is going to be big, BIG, BI-I-I-GGGG!

I predict 2017 is going to be the YEAR OF COLOR. 

With all this color flying around, these are trends impacting the design and print community:

  1. COLOR is going to be clean and clear, with no gray, yellow or brown undertones. This is going to require color integrity, because something that’s even one shade off isn’t going to hit that emotional note consumers are craving.
  2. PAPER is going to be white. Bright white, chalk white, bone white. Think of coated papers and white-white uncoateds. This isn’t the blued whites we’re used to, where the blueing makes the white look whiter. This is raw white.
  3. TYPE is going to be black, font sizes will be large and readable, messages will be spare and clean, and typography is going to be impeccable. We’ll have to teach our customers to be concise and clear in their communications.
  4. INKS may require PMS call outs and extended gamut to hit the right tone. When shopping for digital presses, be sure to print samples in the newest color combinations.
  5. SHEET SIZES will be large. Tabloid publications will re-emerge. Wall art will be eye popping. Floor coverings and textiles will combine vivid palettes.
  6. PRINT QUALITY will be flawless. Consumers will fall in love with color on everything.
  7. LARGE FORMAT COLOR will predominate. All around us, from transit advertising to vehicle wraps to window displays, our colorful world will be more dazzling this year.

This isn’t the color palette of yesteryear.

The way I see it, these will be clear trends in consumer preferences and their effect on printed color:

OUT: Dusty hues, pastels, beige.

IN: Bright pinks, vivid Kelly greens, crisp cobalt blues, fresh yellows and true reds that all look great together.

Read about the 2017 Pantone color of the year here 

OUT: “Good enough” color, unattractive visuals, muddy shades.

IN: Color coordination (not necessarily color matching) between advertising, packaging, POP. Color alignment across multiple substrates. Planning for color perception in the end user based on the characteristics of the substrate and the viewing conditions.

OUT: Grayed type, pointless messaging, the jaggies.

IN: Simplicity, stark san serif typefaces, no ornamentation.

OUT: Printed materials that are ambiguous, boring, ugly and pessimistic.

IN: Honesty, clarity, and transparency in communication.

Summary: refresh your spirit with clear, clean color that POPS!

pantone rev it up 2017
Pantone Rev it up colors for 2017

As you prepare for the “Year of Color,” ask yourself:

  • Is your company prepared for customers asking for more color?
  • Will you know what to say when someone asks you to “match this.”
  • Do you have a process for customers who want to print files from device color or files created in RGB?
  • Are your software, workflow, presses, and color viewing stations up to date?
  • Do you know how to sell color? Are your salespeople ready?

Are YOU ready?

I hope so because COLOR IS HERE.

P.S. My teenager has worn black t-shirts, pants and shoes since he was in kindergarten. Today, he bought shirts in startling pink, saturated turquoise and eye-blinding chartreuse. Any doubts about the power of color in 2017?

P.P.S. Look at this amazing pink velvet sofa.

See more from Sandy


Sandy Hubbard is a marketing strategist for printing companies. She builds marketing programs that can be sustained over the long haul, with affordable tools and your own people…and without stress! Find @sandyhubbard on Twitter each Wednesday at 4 PM ET, assisting #PrintChat host Deborah Corn @PrintMediaCentr  with a lively online discussion for printers and those who love print.