A selection of DuPont color swatches.

As 2002 draws closer, members of the architectural and interior design communities are combing through a barrage of passing fads to identify the color and fashion trends most likely to emerge in the coming year. Similarly, in choosing what styles to manufacture or stock, floor covering manufacturers and retailers remain rigorously focused on projecting the tastes and preferences of next year's fickle consumer. Unfortunately, many designers and retailers find it difficult to put their fingers on the erratic pulse of such trends. To alleviate the guesswork, DuPont Antron has released its Contradictions & Dualities color and design trends forecast for 2002.

With the release of the forecast, Patsy Kuipers, color and design specialist for the commercial and residential flooring divisions of DuPont, strongly emphasized the importance of recognizing quickly changing color trends when decorating a home. "The speed at which new trends are adopted is influenced by changes in society and current events," she said. "The global access provided by computers has had a tremendous impact on the color palette."

According to Kuipers, flooring industry professionals and consumers need to understand the importance of color when decorating. "As members of the interior design community, we know people judge an environment or object within 90 seconds of initial viewing and most of that assessment is based on color," she explained.

For the upcoming year, Kuipers has identified several significant color trends. Shades of orange, ranging from rust to peach to bright tangerine, will be popular with consumers in upcoming seasons, she said. Blues will also be important, Kuipers added, and range from red-influenced to yellow/green-influenced hues. When trying to accent bright colors or warm mid-tones, she suggested including purple - in shades ranging from lilac and periwinkle to plum - in the color scheme. Although customers still consider greens fashionable, these shades will not be as popular as in the recent past.

Created to encourage designers to explore a variety of color combinations that range from subtle to bold, the 2002 color forecast consists of 30 colors divided into five "mini-palettes" named after major trends and societal influences. Unlike forecasts from past years that focused on individual colors, DuPont's 2002 forecast emphasizes new color combinations.

With colors like deep mauve "Smooch" and yellow "Artificial Intelligence," the Contradictions & Dualities forecast is based on a philosophy that color choices are often a balance of extremes. The color groups reflect this philosophy in both their names and the variety of shades they incorporate.

Each color group presents a different design theme that DuPont predicts will be popular with consumers. "Digital Speed" promotes the use of bright accents with mid-tones in decorating. The group's acid yellow, fresh green and bold salmon can be used as accents for gray-green, neutral beige and slate blue. The "Biotechnology" group of colors encourages new, and perhaps uncontemplated, combinations of foundational shades of brown and rust with red, terra cotta and turquoise accents. Various shades of purple, peach and yellow make up "Performance Materials," while the "Home Office" group of colors is decidedly neutral. "Face-Time Interaction" incorporates bright, more mainstream colors including aqua, brown and teal.

But how can retailers be certain that predictions about design trends and consumer preferences are accurate? "Color marketers may appear to pull trends out of thin air, but our creative process is grounded in reality," answered Kuipers. "Casual observations and intense discussions of social, cultural and economic trends are all part of the process of identifying color trends. If our forecasts don't mesh with what the world wants and can use, they are worthless."

In developing Contradictions & Dualities, Kuipers attempted to inspire designers and consumers and encourage them to try something new. "My objective is to engage people by putting an unexpected twist on combinations and to encourage them to extend the boundaries of creativity to develop their own combinations," she explained.

Copies of the Contradictions & Dualities 2002 color and design trends forecast may be obtained by telephoning (800) 4-DUPONT or by visiting antron.dupont.com on the Internet.