Color is critical in marketing. It’s not just about making your products look great. Color helps to tell your story, too. It stirs your customers’ emotions. It reflects your brand. Just like fashion, however, trends in color change, so it’s important to stay current. To stay on top of what’s happening, here are five color “hot spots” to watch:

  1. Runways. When we think of color, we think of fashion. Most recently, models have been strutting their stuff in very bright colors—intense blues, vibrant oranges, and shocking yellows. We also see a secondary trend of softer, more muted tones, such as dusty pink, lilac, and coral.
  2. Home design. Interior design is another harbinger of the shifting trends in color. Trendy new colors show up on appliances, upholstery, walls, and even kitchen gadgets. Paint companies often publish color forecasts and make them available at no charge.
  3. “Car stuff.” The car you drive can be as much a fashion statement as a belt or a scarf. While the dominant colors in the auto market have long been black and gray, the trendier colors are brighter and more vibrant. These include lava orange, lime green, and popping yellow.
  4. High-tech gadgets. Just as in the world of fashion, we see strong, bright colors on our technology. Metallic green on iPods, teal on laptop cases, and royal purple on the iTunes icon. These are all colors we’ve seen on the runway, too.
  5. World of entertainment and celebrity. What are the stars wearing on the red carpet? How are they dressed for their appearances on talk shows? What colors are used for their set design?

Every market has slightly different color influences, so the trends will not be identical from one to the other. However, by staying current in each of these areas, you can develop a keen sense of where to take your design next.