For Bree Leech, Interior Designer (Texture Design) and Dulux Colour Expert, colour forecasts both reflect and transcend societal fashions and values; they connect with popular design trends but also exceed them and encourage individual experience.

At the 2015 Dulux Colour Forecasting launch in Melbourne on 26 August, her enthusiasm and passion for what she called the “power of colour” wasn’t understated, and when she unveiled her team’s four trending colour palettes for next year she was obviously excited.

Architecture and Design has since caught up with Leech in a bid to better understand the process of developing a colour forecast and how architects and designers can use them as a source of inspiration.  

What is the premise behind the Dulux Colour Trend Forecast?

We are connected now more than ever before but are we connected to the things that matter; that make us happy? Society is examining its values and discovering which connections matter most and this is influencing the way we live and consequently design trends.

Our four trends reflect the connections that are influencing colour and design in 2015.

What does the process involve and how encompassing is the result?

Over the year, we collate, condense and sort global events, social moods and local design movements. We note key influences and colours and these are confirmed by our research at European trade fairs, such as Milan Design Week. We always have more trends than we can fit into our forecast but we carefully choose those we feel will be most relevant over the following year and to Australians, these make up the four trends launched this week.

Does Australian style influence the results?

Absolutely. Australian attitudes help us form the trends we think will be most embraced here and colour that will work in Australia’s light is an important consideration. We keep abreast of local design and architecture developments and visit local trade shows to keep watch on where design is heading and how designers and architects are using colour in our own backyard.

How difficult is it to release a forecast? How do you set a date to release it?

Each year, we have to consider when is the right time to release a forecast for the following year, there are many factors but traditionally around spring time is when people become interested in the year ahead, so this is an ideal time to release our findings. Any earlier and the information may not be relevant yet.

In what ways do architects and designers use colour forecasts? In what way should they?

From our discussions with architects and designers, we’ve found everyone will use the information differently. Some let it guide them and reassure them in their colour choices for current projects. Others simply absorb the information along with all their other daily inspirations. Our aim is always to inspire not to dictate. Colour trends are not a formula to follow. For Dulux, the purpose is to highlight colours and colour combinations that may not have been previously considered. We want people to continually explore the use of colour and consider it to be an integral part of their design process.

Why four colour palettes? Are they designed for different areas/types of projects?

They are not directed at particular areas or types of projects. We leave it to each person to interpret the use of the trend. Four trends is incidental – if we felt one year it needed to be three or five then that’s what we would develop, we choose the strongest ones for that year and more often than not four is the right number.

We have had years where we have developed six trends. It’s actually much more difficult for us to narrow them down to four – you get attached to the ideas and colours sometimes. We have found there are trends that aren’t as strong when there are more than a handful, narrowing them down allows us to concentrate and present the key trends more thoroughly – and four is a nice number don’t you think?