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Generations of Color

In Uncategorized on October 6, 2009 at 12:56 am

Here’s a very interesting article from Sherwin-Williams regarding generational paint color choices:

Generations of Color

generations_of_color

Choosing appropriate colors for the right audience is an important part of the equation. While color preference is often highly personal, research has made it possible for color experts to make general observations about the color preferences of the major demographic age groups.

Here is a look at the four major age demographic groups and their color preferences:

The Mature Market

The colors that surround people have a profound effect on mood and well-being. Individuals over 65 compose the Mature Market, and because they may be retired or less active, they often spend a great deal of time indoors.

To meet the needs of the Mature Market, it’s important to seek out color combinations that are functional, enjoyable and comfortable. Instead of muddy colors like khaki, fresh and cheerful ones such as buttery yellows, clear blues, fresh pinks and warm whites are preferred.

Don’t avoid all greens, though. Studies show that people report less stomach upset when surrounded with lush foliage colors even while under stress. For the Mature Market, cleaner hues of green jade, for instance, are preferable to avocado.

The Baby Boomers

Leave it to the Baby Boomers — the 76 million people born between 1945 and 1964 — to seek self-expression and spirituality from their color choices. For Baby Boomers, home is a sanctuary, a place for artistic expression and relaxation as well as inspiration. Baby Boomers are drawn to soothing colors that cool and refresh the spirit: sky blue azures, cleansing blues enhanced with purple tones, and intense, iridescent blues with the slightest tinge of green.

Favorite neutrals are chameleon shades that take on the undertones of colors around them. These could be grays married with plum or green, or perhaps yellow-green undertones that bridge the gap from gray to beige.

Generation X

Generation Xers — those born between 1964 and 1980 — are old enough to remember the fall of the Berlin Wall, but have primarily lived in a global economy. So it’s not surprising, as they experiment with styles from around the world, that Gen-Xers show strong acceptance of the global color palette.

For this age group, popular colors include violet and indigo hues, or exotic greens from the Australian landscape. Asian reds also add drama to neutral spaces awash in contrasting textures.

Generation Next

For teenagers, cool sophistication is the design goal. Faux finishes can be useful in teen rooms to hide a multitude of sins and add drama and sophistication to the décor. Children delight in rich, tropical hues and neon-like colors, especially green, yellow and purple. Sports team colors and flower garden shades are always popular for children’s spaces, as are murals and other whimsical color and decorating ideas.

There has even been research on the visual preferences of babies. High-contrast colors and simple patterns that encourage scanning, focusing, orienting and pattern recognition are not only favorites, but also help to stimulate physical and cognitive development. Studies indicate that reds and blues are the colors preferred by infants.

Though reactions to color are psychologically and culturally induced to some degree, age does make a difference in how people respond to color. That’s one reason why color preferences change over time as people move through the life cycle.

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