WarPaint: 2012 Color Forecast


Color captures our attention and expresses our unrest and concern.

The world of color is currently experiencing a time of fiery reds and ashy grays - it is inspired by the burning desire for new direction, stability and change. 2011 brought the appearance and growth of the Arab Spring, Occupy Wall Street, the Tea Party, the Coffee Party, the Free Tibet movement, Japanese anti-nuke campaigns and European anti-austerity protests. 2012 promises to be an even more contentious year, as we see these global demonstrations and debates continue to gain momentum. The volatile global climate will cause colors to explode!

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Established bright liberal blues and fiery conservative reds will continue to do battle, but many people in the middle are becoming tired of the conflict. They are tired of retreating to the neutral gray position.  2012 will be a time for greater personal expression and taking charge of one’s destiny. Everyone will be immersed in floods of color as people apply their tribal war paint and express their most important concerns. A social, economic and political climate such as hasn’t been seen since the turbulence of the late 1960s will inspire brighter, multi-colored, expressive combinations. Strong, unexpected - even clashing color combinations will express individuality. The neutral gray morass will be brushed away with a few decisive and committed strokes. A dramatic multi-colored phoenix will arise from the gray ash of Middle-earth.

The fiery reds will burst into full flame. They will be transformed into bright oranges yellows and fuchsias. These hot new combinations are industrial and cautionary. They say “don’t mess with me” and “don’t you dare rain on my parade!” Clean bright glowing greens, teals and turquoise vibrate next to them. The rainbow is on fire and the secondary colors are rising to take the primary role. Bright purple establishes a new lead – it’s neither blue nor red, becoming the color of alternatives, hope, agreement, compromise and a new concordance.

The value and strength of the color story will now be more important than the hue. Unexpected and even clashing combinations will abound. Special effects will be used to add even more emphasis to the color communication. Color will be shouting as the masses go to war!

Battling Brights

2012 will bring strong and heated communications. The people will be shouting to be heard and seen. Battling Brights will serve them well.


concordance purple R84 G41 B227

shout it out orange R252 G113 B64

show me the green R9 G198 B84

listen up yellow R248 G216 B36

perfectly clear aqua R35 G156 B164

proclaim it pink R222 G91 B131

obviously orchid R190 G0 B234

make it right red R240 G14 B25

liberation blue R0 G81 B245


Seeing the Lights

Lighter, clearer colors will be used to express new ideals and vision. They are the colors of new dreams. White continues as the guiding light. Hope is eternal.


compassion R144 G175 B248

returning sunshine R237 G238 B135

dream cycle  R240 G180 B139

clear vision R152 G222 B225

new idea R186 G222 B131

in touch R253 G174 B170


No Longer Neutrals

Neutrals, especially grays, are ubiquitous. The growing need for personal expression in 2012 will challenge this neutral position. It’s time for the true colors to show!


borderline lavender R157 G159 B181

grabbing the gold R185 G166 B105

taking it teal R120 G160 B170

giving green R138 G178 B141

saving pennies R196 G120 B83


Defined Deeps

Black is the color of strength and resolve - it will be very important in 2012, but it will be combined with rich, defined colors that will give it even greater resolve.


loyalty R37 G10 B98

true blood R154 G44 B48

native land R65 G100 B50

solid gold R179 G123 B28

conviction R97 G14 B68


RGB color notations are used to maximize the color gamut. Set your high-definition monitor to the millions of colors mode and calibrate per your manufacturer’s recommendations

Forecast and imagery by Jack Bredenfoerder CMG

Published with the written permission of bv color strategy © 2011 bv color strategy