Dulux’s colour of the year and key colour and design trend predictions for 2016

Dulux is pleased to announce the launch of ColourFutures 16, the annual colour and design trends forecasting publication, which this year encourages us to celebrate opposites and duality with the theme ‘Looking Both Ways’. Created by a select panel of global colour and design experts, the publication reflects emerging social, economic and design trends around the globe.

The launch of ColourFutures 16 introduces four key trends and the Colour of the Year – each inspired by one overarching idea of ‘Looking Both Ways’. Louise Tod, Senior Global Colour Designer at Dulux says: “The theme for the 13th edition of ColourFutures is ‘Looking Both Ways’, encouraging us to both anticipate the future and appreciate the past. Digital and modern techniques are certainly here to stay, but we look for inspiration from the past to be able to design for the future. This theme of duality is the driving influence for 2016 and opposites are seen in all of our colour and design trends this year”.

See below for some of the key tones from the trend colour palettes for 2016 and our pick of accompanying, complementary lighting designs.


The launch of ColourFutures brings with it the hotly anticipated announcement of the 2016 Colour of the Year – ‘Cherished Gold’; a gold influenced ochre which is both bright enough to attract attention and combines well with other tones.

Rebecca Williamson, Senior Colour Design & Content Manager at Dulux, comments: “Gold and tones of gold are being used everywhere in the design world. It is a recurring colour and material at design fairs and in graphic design as well as in architecture, fashion, beauty and interior decorating. We feel that ‘Cherished Gold’ is a beautiful next step, a natural evolution and transition from ‘Copper Blush’, the Colour of the Year of 2015 as metallics continue to add that little touch of glamour to our interiors”.


‘Cherished Gold’ Colour of the Year 2016


Behrens Gold Leaf Renwick Gold Leaf


Pompidou Gold Leaf Antique Pisa Gold Leaf



For 2016 we see a muted and sophisticated palette which centres on soft mid tone shades. The overall feeling continues to be warm, but with greater subtlety. Bright colours have moved away from primary to something more interesting. Think coral, not orange; ochre not yellow and midnight, not blue. This is a friendly palette but with a dark, mysterious side.


By looking at the past we are able to design for the future. Celebrating ones heritage lends an authenticity and credibility that cannot be faked, provides a sense of longevity and also helps to shape the future. One should take inspiration from the past to gain confidence in the next steps forward. This colour palette sees reds that reflect our rich heritage, but also have a bright contemporary feel that points to the future.

’50YR 65/056′ Part of the Heritage and Future Colour Palette


Eugenie Rose Gold Esther Rose Gold



We live in an age of visual saturation with every moment captured on social media. Words, whether spoken or written, are forever being condensed in our fast paced lives. Words are restricted and shortened on social media, whilst we increasingly communicate using pictures alone. This trends celebrates the pairing of words and pictures and the corresponding colour palette uses the blue of ink and grey of graphite in contrast to tones familiar with smartphone and social media filters.

’70BG 56/061′ Part of the Words & Pictures Colour Palette


Mae Vintage Blue Esther Vintage Blue


Celebrate the night by enjoying the mystery and beauty of the dark. Research has proven how light pollution affects us all – it is important for a restful sleep, to recharge and regroup without the disrupting influence of light. Many of the colours in this palette blend seamlessly together, recalling the tones of both dusk and dawn during the ‘golden hour’. This is also reflected in the ombré inspired paint effects featured in the trend.

’30BB 05/022′ Part of the Dark & Light Colour Palette


Bari Antique Ebony Hericus Antique Ebony



We are increasingly seeing the appeal of going ‘off grid’ in order to find oneself in the modern world – seen with the likes of office workers participating in morning dance parties before going to work. But it’s tricky to live offline and go off track without a frame of reference. Freedom is only understandable within the context of a framework – or in other words, you can’t break the mould if you don’t have a mould in the first place. Hence the colours in this palette are vivid and playful, yet still held back by the black and white of the grid. This trends also sees a number of graphical painting techniques at play to represent the grid.

’50YR 32/460′ Part of the Grid & Letting Go Colour Palette


Otranto Coral Woodstock Tangerine