Color Trends vs Color Psychology

The timing was interesting. I had just given a talk on the subject of —“Is it time to update your brand?” when my 2022 International Color Forecast boards arrived in the mail. 

Color forecasting is an involved, year-long process, so the arrival of the final color boards is almost as anticipated as Christmas morning!

As I sifted through the color cards comparing the North American forecast with those for Asia and Europe, I was asked: “When you design a logo, do you choose colors that are “on trend” or is there some other criteria?”

Psychology? Or Trends?

That was such a great question that I wanted to share my response.

“I start by learning about the client’s values and the problems they solve for their ideal client, as well as what makes their business or product unique. That knowledge informs the basic color choices. The color trends may influence the specific shades, however. 

I’m currently working on a brand for a 5-star preschool and daycare. (Yes, there really is such a thing!) Their values are trust, educational excellence, inclusion and fun. Their ideal client is a working mom seeking peace of mind, knowing that her child is safe, well-fed, well educated and loved in a well-sanitized environment. The school is not religious in nature, so that doesn’t come into the question.

The answer is…

This profile told me to use a lot of medium to dark blue in order to communicate trust and excellence. Also to use orange to communicate physical activity and intelligence, a bit of green to evoke “peace of mind”, and a splash of yellow to provide the “happy” component. As an added bonus, the combination of blue, green and white should elicit the concept of “cleanliness”.

The client asked if it might be appropriate to use yellow and purple in their logo. The yellow—absolutely! However purple is associated with being artistic and spiritual. Thus it would not communicate the desired message. So… no.


At this point, the color palette was loosely defined and ready for refinement. That’s when I referred to the newest color forecast. The 2022 palette is filled with vibrant brights paired with soft, soothing clean shades. The colors couldn’t be more perfect for a high-functioning Daycare and Preschool!

And that—skipping over a lot of research into the client and the colors and thinking through how they would all work together—is how we work through color choices in light of the balancing act between color psychology and color forecasting!