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Are Color Trends Important in Product Design? Color can have a huge emotional impact on customers, but that doesn't mean you need to change your product line to follow trends. Here are the elements of color theory you should consider.

By Lara Kristin Herndon

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


Emotional resonance is key to successful design. Consider color: Its influence begins in childhood, when you probably picked your favorite. "It's really multilayered, the human reaction to color," says Courtney Garvin, an Atlanta-based graphic designer whose senior thesis at Yale concerned color theory. "There's the physical aspect--what happens optically, what happens in the brain. Then you have cultural associations, personal connotations and on and on."

Entire organizations are devoted to forecasting color trends; the best-known is the Color Institute, run by Pantone, whose color-matching system is the standard for printing and industrial design. The group selected Emerald as color of the year for 2013.

Does that mean you should have adapted your product line to feature the colors of Oz? Not if you ask Payton Cosell Turner, owner with Brian Kaspr of Flat Vernacular, a Brooklyn wallpaper studio that has been featured in Elle Decor. Chasing every color trend would be prohibitively costly for a small business like his, he explains; rolling out a new product line in the latest shades is an expensive experiment if consumers don't embrace the trend. Instead, Turner and Kaspr will test the green trend via a partnership with Scratch, a nail-art company, to produce a line of Flat Vernacular nail wraps--little patterned appliqués for fingernails. "Our initial output is nothing except creative content," Turner says.

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