Forecasting trends in colour tints and shades

Setting the right tone in powder coating

As a powder coater we are heavily focused on trends in colour and texture, two of the most important architectural design elements. As expressed by the powder manufacturer Axalta, “colour and effects give identity, add significance, express quality and maintain value”. 

A changed world

Design draws on detailed research to develop a deep understanding of people, their unique and shared perspectives and through this, an anticipation of their future preferences and needs. This insight is informed by a range of influences which include culture, economy, the environment and well-being.

The last two to three years have thrown up an unprecedented set of influences on a global scale. Many of the widespread psychological and societal repercussions of the pandemic are clear.  Alongside this shift in our consciousness there is the overriding concern of global warming, now at a critical stage. Destructive violent war in the east of Europe adds to the sense of unease in the West.

Perception and design

The architectural and interior design world tends to reflect accurately the collective psyche as these are matters quite literally ‘close to our hearts’; they determine the surroundings in which we live and work, fundamental to our everyday existence. Our homes provide a haven from the world, our workplaces give us a sense of achievement and pride.

Here I am seeking to summarise some of the forecasts from eminent powder manufacturers such as Axalta and Sherwin Williams, and also the preferences that Powdertech detects in its own conversations with clients.

The outer shell


For exterior surfaces the emerging trend leans towards bold, bright and uplifting colours, inspiring confidence, an antidote to worries and fears. A building with a colourful, striking façade will exude certainty, assurance and security. The colours forecast to be in demand are oranges, golds, bronzes and the jewel-colours of amethyst, deep emerald, sapphire and garnet.  Axalta’s colour of the year is ‘Royal Magenta’. These bold bright colours also tap into the underlying nostalgia for times past – the 1970’s being a popular “Pause & Rewind” era (Sherwin Williams).

Turning back to simplicity and nature

There is also a tendency towards minimalism, with sleek functional designs on from perforated steel and aluminium. These pared-back designs are transformed by finishes using tones that reflect the natural world.  The human instinct to turn to and connect with nature, termed biophilia, is strong in terms of how we choose to decorate buildings. Stone and wood convey stability and impregnability; for millennia our forebears’ simple dwellings could only be constructed from these natural elements. At the same time, the need for preservation of the earth’s resources drives architects and designers to look for sustainability in building materials. Powder coatings enable plentiful (and re-cyclable) resources such as aluminium to resemble other, less abundant materials including stone, wood and terracotta. These finishes are becoming amongst the most popular for Powdertech’s customers.

Celebrating the beauty of metal itself is another growing trend; beautiful metallic effects lift the somewhat sober palette of natural tones. Powdertech Corby has recently launched ‘Satellite’ a range of finishes with rich colours in a deep mid-sheen finish reflecting vibrant flashes of light.

Powder technology to aid the natural world

A powder coated surface can bring other benefits to the sustainability table, in terms of energy conservation. Pale shades reflect heat but there is a noticeable trend for powder coating manufacturers to perfect ‘cool chemistry’ technology for all shades, even black. Coatings, such as Interpon Cool Chemistry, AkzoNobel Eternity Collection and Alesta Cool, contain reflective pigments that deflects infrared light, and its heat, away from the coated substrate.

The inner sanctum

Colour as comfort

The tones and textures of interior surfaces appeal to different sensitivities in different environments. In the home calm with cosiness is the desired ambience, offering a refuge from the outside world. Tones here will offer a sense of space in which to relax and clear one’s mind. The trend is moving away from whites and greys to warmer pastel colour shades – pale terracotta, pale yellows and greens. Sandy shades, earthy tones, stone and wood shades will bring the desired connection with nature.

Axalta predicts that the subtle metallic effects in elegant bronzes and coppers will enter the home space too bringing a sense of luxury which evokes security. Powdertech’s own ‘Aged Metal’ finishes are increasingly being used for interiors.

Out in the world

External workspaces will aim to invigorate their occupants and instil new energy and optimism. The vigour of deep teal and the optimism of yellow are predicted to rise in popularity, also sea blue, rosy coppers and the grounding connectivity of red clay.

In hospitality, a trend for rich deep shades is becoming apparent with burgundy, dark terracotta shades, deep teal, brass and dark stone, combined with opulent velvets and thick woollen fabrics. Comfort from the past will again be sought through the 1970’s palette of orange, bright blue, yellows and the more muted mustard yellow, and browns.

Can powder technology truly help with hygiene?

Cleanliness and hygiene are now high on the agenda for public spaces. Technology based on bestowing the long known anti-microbial property of silver which inhibits the growth of bacteria, into the powder will no doubt be more in demand, but whether or not this will also be ‘anti-virus’ depends entirely on the physiology off each particular virus.

The impact that colour, light, natural elements and aesthetic pleasure have upon our overall well-being has become far better documented and understood over the last 10-20 years and its influence on architecture and design can be seen This is an absorbing topic and one which will continue to inform designers and product developers in all sectors.

Thanks to Axalta and Sherwin Williams for specific colour forecasts.                               


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