Color Trends: Real or Fake News?

Have you ever heard of the color “First Lady Pink”? I personally had never known about it until a few days ago. I was taking a workshop with a Color and Materials Designer from Kohler during class on Wednesday. She was discussing the basic progressions of color trends in kitchen/bathroom plumbing throughout the past few decades.

More often than not, people tend to think trend forecasting – an integral part of CMF design – doesn’t mean a whole lot. Or that it’s totally fake. Well, I’m here to tell you I’ve found the best example yet.

Mamie Eisenhower, during her time as the First Lady, had renovated her bathroom in the White House all pink. She had done an interview with the news after it was completed, sharing her one-hue palette. Needless to say, all of the women in the States heard this interview, and within the next few years, bathrooms everywhere – and I mean everywhere – turned a Pepto-Bismol shade of pink.

Now, I’ve been in several of these period-correct bathrooms that have stood the test of time – their shade of bubblegum still bright as ever. You see, I had personally noticed this shade in bathrooms, but chalked it up to being the fashion at the time. I never thought more of it. Until this Kohler designer pointed it out. She said through the company’s research, they found that fixtures, tiling, etc. in the very specific shade of blush during the 1950s skyrocketed directly after this interview of Mrs. Eisenhower (just look at the advertisement I found above!).

The shade became officially known as First Lady Pink after that. I think it’s absolutely fascinating to finally make this connection (even if I learned it from someone else). It’s the connecting of dots like this that show you how trends in pop-cuture effect a vast majority of products and people. Forecasting in the art and design world is an extremely difficult thing to do. Now whenever the next person asks me to describe part of my work, I’ll be able to give a concrete example to help visualize something that quite often sounds like nonsense.

Unpredictable Weather

If you have lived in Michigan for more than a year or two, you know how unpredictable our weather is. There’s memes online that feature a snowy morning and then a balmy afternoon, captioned: “Michigan today.” And after a while, you live day to day. Checking the forecast online or on your phone is useless. My roommates and I have an apartment downtown Detroit, and since we moved in two years ago, we have nailed down a technique for weather forecasting. It’s called the “walk out onto the balcony and tell me what it feels like right now” technique. Usually gets you through a couple of hours before something else happens.

@SEmichigansnowfall

And as someone who is constantly frustrated with how meteorologists always seem to get it wrong (middle schoolers and high schoolers were promised way too many snowdays they never got) I was hesitant when my dad freaked out this morning and told me they promised 11 inches of snow were falling downtown tomorrow morning. We haven’t had much snow this winter (cue the global warming sirens) so I’m actually fairly excited to receive some crisp, white fluff to cover up this gross, wet, brown nonsense.

However, if I am told there will be more than 10 inches of snowfall, there needs to be more than 10 inches of snow on the ground. Weather forecasters seem to have the easiest job in the world — even when they are enormously wrong, they get paid. Must be nice, huh?

I recently came across a guy on Facebook — his page is called SE Michigan Snowfall — and have heard from multiple sources he is way more accurate than what we see on TV. He has over 120k followers, so I doubt he’s off his rocker. He claims there will only be about 6 inches of snow in my area. Which is actually really interesting. With the age of the internet, talented people are able to reach hundreds, thousands, and sometimes millions of people that they can share their message with. More than ever, consumers are able to gain access to people and ideas that are thousands of miles away. How incredible is that?! Our world seems to be getter smaller (but also more vast and impressive) every single day. Cheers to tomorrow’s (hopeful) snow! And another day of writing!