Using colour to identify customer preferences

  • Opinion
  • March 15, 2016
  • Piritta Törrö
Using colour to identify customer preferences

“Many people have asked me over the years where I get my inspiration for the color forecasts I do each year at the show,” says Eiseman.  “There is a fundamental group of moods that you can go back to, a thread that runs through.  Identifying these major lifestyle moods will help you to both understand and appeal to varying consumer needs and aspirations.” 

            That’s not to say that housewares manufacturers or retailers should be using the same palettes over and over again. Adding new colors and constantly tweaking color groupings is important to keeping offerings fresh and attracting the consumer’s eye.  That is what provides the basis for Eiseman’s nine on-trend palettes she presents each year at the Show.

            Eiseman also reminded attendees that it’s not just about individual colors, it’s about creating a palette or mood with a variety of different hues. What’s more: “You never want to do a palette that doesn’t have both cool and warm tones to complement each other. We need to have something for the eye to balance out, whether we’re aware of it or not.”

            The general moods or themes presented are:

            Tranquil – “This as an over-anxious world we live in,” said Eiseman.  The predominately cool and calm colors in this mood help consumers escape by connecting them to the sky and sea.

            Nurturing – This is “the yang to the yin of tranquil,” with predominately warm colors like toasty browns and mellow yellows evoking a feeling of comfort or nurturing.

            Romantic – This category is for those consumers who want a “gentle touch” in their homes. It may include mauves, french blues, ecrus and whites.  It can be styled formally or more casually to fit with the still-popular shabby chic look.

            Contemplative – Consumers who prefer simplicity but with a Zen-like take are drawn to the Contemplative theme.  Classic neutral colors are used, but there can also be an interjection of color to bring some excitement or inspiration. 

            Traditional – “I rarely do a forecast of nine palettes when I don’t include one traditional palette,” said Eiseman.  The colors in this mood stand the test of time, such as true reds and hunter greens. “Yet if you do traditional the same way all the time, people will walk on by,” she pointed out.  “Purple is the color that has drawn attention recently in the traditional mood.”

            Dynamic – “This theme is meant for the adventurous and gregarious person who loves drama and needs to be surrounded by it,” according to Eiseman. Black and white is emphasized by bold, energetic colors. Lately, chrome yellows are gaining attention here.

            Sensuous – Some people crave opulence, so this theme incorporates predominately warm, exotic colors such as brandies, cognacs, whiskeys, hot pinks and red oranges. “Even if this is not to your own taste, remember that everyone is different,” said Eiseman.

            Whimsical – This mood also frequently is represented in Eiseman’s annual palette forecasts. For the young or the young at heart, “we’re living in a discordant world now… we need to reflect it perhaps with a little sense of humor,” she said.

            The next set of themes is inspired by the beauty of nature:

            Beach Scenes – The beach is the number-one nature inspiration for consumers; colors represent “warm sandy beaches and billowing sails.”

            Dawn and Dew – This palette takes mid-tones and grays them down a little to create a mysterious feeling inspired by the early morning hours.

            Foraging the Forest – “With all the interest in the outdoors and bringing in the outdoors in, as well as the pursuit of wellness and healthier diets, the green family remains a sturdy mainstay for many consumers,” shared Eiseman.  The challenge here is presenting this palette in a different way.

            Rustic Remembrances – “Regardless of where people live, they like to remember places they’ve been, or places they’d like to live, if they had their druthers,” said Eiseman. A predominately warm palette reminiscent of weathered wood comes into play here, though she suggests purples, fuchsias or pinks like Cactus Flower to freshen it up.

            Au Naturel – This mood remains incredibly popular and pulls in some of the neutral tones of Rustic Remembrances but in a way that is “a little smoother, a little more sophisticated.”

            Travel is another area that inspires color and design directions at home:

            Parisian – Paris is “a melange of inspirational styling from classic traditional to art nouveau and art deco”; it can also be done with more of a modern take. This mood is always elegant and may involve aubergines, royal purples and mauves.

            Multi-Cultural – This theme is not dedicated to any one look; the color range is diverse.  It pulls in many different ethnic styles.

            Back to the Fuschia – “With a movement to self-expression in décor, two of the most complex colors in the spectrum have come together and hit a responsive chord for the more creative consumers,” revealed Eiseman.  Blue/turquoise/yellow-green can work together in more youthful markets or for the more sophisticated adult.

            Last but not least, Eiseman ended her presentation by mentioning “the household hue that manages to cover a broad area of lifestyles and moods:” white.  White is the “essence of clarity” to all the colors in the spectrum; it is clean and classic, not to mention, a steady seller.

An audio recording of the program will be posted on IHA’s website at

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