Help Your Customers Find Color Inspiration

Contractors can leverage Sherwin-Williams Colormix® Forecast and Color of the Year selections

As a painting contractor, you often are a bystander when it comes to color selection, which is typically the work of an interior designer or a decision that’s already been made by the homeowner.

That said, there can be cases when your color advice might get a project started faster. And you also could have the opportunity to raise the value perception of your services and take your customer to the very forefront of current color trends and research. Sue Wadden, the Director of Color Marketing at Sherwin-Williams, is tasked with the vision for color futures and along with a talented forecast team, they create the annual Colormix Forecast and select the Color of the Year. She says contractors who leverage this color research can differentiate their services.

“Contractors sometimes get nervous talking about color in this way, and it’s true that this level of color discussion might resonate more with an interior designer audience,” says Wadden. “But for a contractor, a little education could go a long way for their customers. I invite them to see how we think about color and learn why we love the colors that are featured in our 2022 Colormix Forecast and the Color of the Year.”

Evergreen Fog emerges

Creating the forecast and selecting the Color of the Year, which for 2022 is Evergreen Fog, is no small undertaking, according to Wadden.

“Our forecast team is comprised of subject matter experts from all our divisions,” she says. “Architectural, industrial, general industrial, Performance Coatings, Latin American team, European team, consumer brands – all of the segments that comprise Sherwin-Williams. In a normal year, we’re all traveling the globe going to design shows or seminars, and we’re observing and learning things.

“Then, usually in February, the forecast team gets together and workshops for three days about what we learned and everything that’s going on, from politics to the global pandemic, and where we see design going. We take all those mountains of information, lay it all out and discuss it in relation to color. And over the course of three days, you see patterns emerge and we come up with a color forecast.

“It’s an amazing, fascinating, organic process that digests all these influences and just gets to the crux of what’s going on in color.”

Nature drove 2022 selection

The 2022 Colormix Forecast is comprised of four color palettes, and the Color of the Year is selected from one of them.

“We talked about how nature is impacting design this year,” she says. “Coming out of the pandemic, we found that nature really helped people, whether they were going out and working in their garden or bringing nature in. And this whole movement, the personification of nature, drove our color selection process.

“From that big theme we started pulling in the colors that make sense. So it was about selecting a nice beige, and a warm brown, and a great green and natural colors, and then you pull a palette together.

“And usually there is one color theme that keeps threading through all the palettes — that was sage green. People always love blue and green, year over year. And for the last couple years it’s been really dark greens.

“But now we’re seeing that because people are embracing color, green is almost acting like a neutral. In cases like Evergreen Fog, if you look at it in a light, it can feel sort of like a gray, taking on this interesting juxtaposition between a neutral and a color.”

Social sites such as Pinterest supported the notion that people were definitely keen on green, according to Wadden.

“We knew we wanted to do a green, and it became about finding the right one. And I think we found that Evergreen Fog just fit the criteria. It’s not too blue, it’s not too gray, not too yellow, not too dark, not too light. It’s just everything that we needed it to be. It’s really a beautiful color, very ‘lifestyley.’ It’s a great exterior siding color and door color, too. It’s definitely not just restricted to interiors.”

Validation of the team’s work will come in the future if the forecast was on point.

“For homeowners, I want them to go into Pottery Barn or Target this time next year and see that color. That’s what a forecast does. It’s a glimpse ahead of what’s coming in design. It gives them a sneak peek into the design industry.”

Contractor COTY connection

Wadden notes that some contractors might not be interested in the mechanisms behind Color of the Year selection, but their customer might. And being able to have a color conversation and recommend and talk about the 2022 Color of the Year to a potential customer might build credibility and be the juice that lands a sale.

“For contractors, if you understand the whys and whats of the forecast, this can help guide homeowners,” she says. “You can give them the story behind Evergreen Fog if you’d like, but you can also just say to a homeowner, ‘People are painting green on trims, on cabinets, they’re using it in their mud rooms, they’re using it all over. You might want to consider this instead of Agreeable Gray.’

“That would be an interesting conversation for contractors, and our work might help them be less intimidated about steering a customer to this type of color discussion.”

Even contractors uninterested or uncomfortable in pursuing the color conversation can leverage Sherwin-Williams multiple color resources, including the new Color Toolkit on the Sherwin-Williams PRO+ App from which you can request a free online session with a color expert. Additionally, you can share colors via text or email, see more of what’s trending in color, and order free color chips online, not to mention order paint and supplies, access exclusive savings, and create professional bids.

“Just kick it back over to our virtual consultants,” she says. “We have so many color resources available. Contractors don’t have to do the heavy lifting.”