Dulux sticks to neutrals with Sweet Embrace

Karen Haller 01
Karen Haller
dulux coty 2024 sweet embrace launch karen haller

It’s the beginning of the Colour of the Year season and Dulux UK is always one of the first ones out of the gate.

I have to be honest here and say that I don’t follow trends but I am fascinated by how trends originate and the psychology behind our reactions and responses to them.

And because I look at the Colour of the Year from a colour psychology perspective, I usually don’t give my thoughts until around 4-6 months in as I watch to see how it’s taken up by designers, the media and who the colour is ultimately for, the consumer.

But this year I thought I’d do something different and share the immediate reactions and response from those at the launch.

It’s always wonderful to be invited especially when my dear colourful friend Marianne, Dulux Creative Director for UK and Ireland is hosting.

And the Dulux UK 2024 Colour of the Year is…

And the colour is… Sweet Embrace

Dulux has continued their run of picking a soft, muted colour for their Colour of the Year. This time it’s what I would call a barely there soft pink.

It’s oh so quiet.

Marianne says when life is complex, when we need to decompress and step back from the complexity of life, when we need to find quiet moments of calm, home is the perfect place for us to unravel the tangle.

And she believes that Sweet Embrace is just the colour we need to embrace the quiet.

dulux coty 2024 sweet embrace colour karen haller
Dulux UK Colour of the Year 2024 is Sweet Embrace, a soft pink.
dulux coty 2024 sweet embrace marianne shillingford karen haller
Interviewing Marianne Shillingford, Creative Director of Dulux UK and Ireland for my Instagram Reel (click on the image to watch).

The responses are in. What did the invited guests think of the colour of year?

The announcement of Sweet Embrace was met with applause. One journalist said it’s certainly a colour that will stay for years to come while another believed it would become a firm favourite.

There were lots of very happy influencers and bloggers gushing with one saying that she almost burst into tears she was so happy because it, along with the palettes are exactly the colours she loves.

dulux coty 2024 sweet embrace audience karen haller
Marianne Shillingford, Creative Director of Dulux UK and Ireland presenting the Dulux Colour of the Year Sweet Embrace.

I was speaking to a friend yesterday saying wouldn’t it be funny if it was pink given the phenomenon of Barbie pink this year.

Dulux decide on the colour 18 months before hand so they weren’t influenced by Barbie.

And you couldn’t get a more polar opposite pink with Barbie pink being vibrant, lively and loud and Sweet Embrace being an almost barely there pink, one that is soothing, gentle and a quiet whisper.

Looking at the past Dulux Colour of the Year from the last 10 years or so, the colours have been soft and muted so they do seem to have a theme going here.

I can see how Sweet Embrace could be the antidote to the hectic, digital, overwhelm of life. It’s feels instantly soothing, relaxing and encouraging you to slow down.

Being surrounded by it this morning, it made me want to whisper. If you know me, you’ll know I don’t have an inside voice. I can see my friends wanting to buy this colour by the truck loads!

From a colour psychology perspective some of the positive traits of soft pinks are nurturing, compassionate, empathic. It’s caring and supportive. It soothes us on a physical level. We feel relaxed and comforted like a warm embrace. If cuddles were a colour, it would be pink.

And for those wanting to move away from grey or white, this soft pink, yes it’s already being called a ‘neutral’, is a safe option.

dulux coty 2024 sweet embrace interior karen haller

The real test is still to come. Will the general public, the consumer embrace this colour and bring it into their homes? Only time will tell.

Longevity of colour trends

The very nature of trends is that they are cyclic. Unless of course they become so popular that they enter the mainstream and become the norm.

There is a discussion to be had around how we can create a balance between the human desire for new and minimising our disposable, throwaway culture.

Sustainability, psychology and the impact of trends are all things I talk about inside my upcoming “Everything you have ever wanted to know about colour trends” course which is coming out soon. You can join the wait list here.

Colourfully yours,

Images 2 and 5 courtesy of Dulux UK. All the other images are my own.

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