The choice of the color of the year is not random, it meets a desire of a collective unconscious and represents the feeling of an era. Find out what it is, who chooses it, and what it means. 

Every year, a practice takes place in the creative industry: the selection of the color of the year, which will literally set the tone for creations in the fashion, decoration, beauty, and lifestyle segments. But what is often asked is “how does this choice happen? Randomly? Based on personal taste of on that of a dominant group?” No.   

The choice of the color of the year is made through the feeling that prevails in the spirit of an era, the so-called zeitgeist. The desire of a collective unconscious, which manifests itself in different ways in the behavior of social groups, is probed, analyzed, and understood until it is transformed into a product, service, or even a color.  

The study of behavioral trends is committed to analyzing and deciphering, through much observation and multidisciplinary methods, consumers’ desires in an era. And it is in this interpretation of signals that companies map consumers’ behaviors and match them with products that meet their wishes.   

As we know, objects carry symbolic values and meanings, going beyond functionality. Therefore, it is in building meaning that goods gain intangible values. And, likewise, the color of the year meets this aesthetic dimension of reverberating meaning for those who want to consume some kind of emotion or affective benefit.  

The color of the year 2023: Digital Lavender  

After two years of chaos, uncertainty, insecurity, and fear, one could antecipate the color of 2023, a year expected to offer post-pandemic stability, to be something that responds to all that has been experienced.   

So, for the coming year, the chosen color was Digital Lavender. A lilac tone, with a light and calming touch, which represents the search for balance and a certain kind of calm and tranquility. Whereas before everything was foggy, lacking much visibility or 

hope for the future, now life tends to find (or attempts at finding!) stability. It is the time for renewed optimism, for fresh air and the possibility of some relief – after a period of so much suffocation.   

Looking at the color lavender gives the feeling of immediate calmness and of a certain joy, in view of such a rigid daily life. Not to mention that the color purple is connected with spirituality, restoration, and the connection of immateriality with the physical.  

Therefore, to observe the chosen color of the year is to understand much more about collective feelings than just about products that will be available on the shelves. Of course, after desire comes consumption, but consumer behavior trends have a lot to say about us, believe me! 

Who chooses the color of the year?  

This is a question commonly asked by those outside the creative industry. It is worth explaining that there are trend bureaus for fashion, beauty, and lifestyle consumer behavior that aim to decipher the zeitgeist and interpret it for different product and category applications.   

WGSN and Coloro, for example, belong to the same group and act in a complementary way. WGSN is responsible for mapping macro trends while Coloro, specifically, for colors. In other words: these companies understand what is common in the consumer’s collective unconscious and translate these desires into product and/or service directions. There is always a piece or a color that can respond in a symbolic way to the desires of well studied consumers. 

originally written by Andreia Meneguete to Sou de Algodão