Keeping it in the Color Family in 2012

Sherwin-Williams 2012 color forecast explores earthy origins of primary palettes

ORLANDO, Fla. (February 8, 2012) – The Sherwin-Williams 2012 color forecast proves a color palette doesn’t need to stray far from its roots to make a big impact. Whether drawn to the intensity of red or to the balance neutrals offer, consumers can experiment with the colors they love and find a natural complement within the same color family.

The 2012 color forecast features 40 hues that stay close to home with earth-inspired, color family groupings: Reds, Blues, Neutrals and Greens. It also features the Color of the Year: Argyle, one of the hues featured in the Green grouping.

“Pairing colors within the same color family is a dominant trend and you can discover a fresh array of combinations within color families — be it fiery reds, watery blues, grassy greens or organic neutrals,” said Jackie Jordan, director of color marketing for Sherwin-Williams. “Our color of the year, argyle, is influenced by fashion, nature, ecology and the economy. We selected it this year as it represents nostalgia, the color of commerce and the country’s anticipation of greener pastures ahead.”

Forget the expected tone-on-tone pairings. Sherwin-Williams color experts drew inspiration from fashion-forward color combinations to experiment with hues within color families to create four vibrant palettes. They also embraced the sustainable landscape — which has become an enduring influence on all aspects of décor and design.

Reds Burn Brightly

Red is the color of love, fire and the earth’s molten core, and it stirs raw emotions ranging from the deepest passion to the softest femininity. This vibrant palette includes hues of brilliant flowers and glowing embers. It isn’t a single red, but a deep gradation of fuchsias, red-oranges, violets and delicate pinks.

“Red has a renewed dominance,” Jordan said. “But the old taboos about mixing reds with oranges and purples don’t apply. Our red palette is as bold and free-spirited as the color itself.”

Blues Not Washed Out

This soothing palette celebrates a pair of functional and treasured blues: denim and water. It explores the darkest indigo to faded-jeans hues, some with violet undertones, as well as the calm, shimmery shades that reflect rivers, lakes and seas.

“As we seek economic blue skies, we’re rediscovering denim, the rugged fabric of the American worker,” Jordan said. “Clean water is another essential commodity, from oceans to tap. Our serene blue palette pays homage to both of these treasured resources.”

Greens Firmly Planted

Representing a shift from some of the yellow-tinged greens of the past, this eclectic palette focuses on greens that are lush, moody and complex. It showcases the depths of the sea and forest; leafy motifs; rustic natural textures; and organic elements such as algae, moss and seaweed.

“We’re serious about going green, and our green palette honors our sustainable lifestyle,” Jordan said. “This trend is observed everywhere, even in dense urban areas, where rooftop and kitchen gardens flourish.”

Neutrals Provide Balance

Raw materials continue to influence color trends, especially the more subtle hues. Picture a field of grain, pile of pebbles, weathered wood and earthen clay. Gold tones embody the sun and soft metallics — and warm up this understated yet refined palette. Textural elements, such as linen, unfired porcelain and mixed woods, provide subtle variations.

“Steely grays have given way to our neutral palette of warmer gray and natural tones that create a balanced look,” Jordan said.

Color Resources

Whatever color family fits your personal style, there are several ways to interact and find inspiration with color selection tools from Sherwin-Williams.

CHIP IT! allows users to select any image on the Internet and instantly identify a palette of Sherwin-Williams paint colors that correspond to the colors contained within the picture. Consumers can now use online images that inspire them to help make paint color selection easier.

ColorSnap® is a free color-matching mobile application for iPhone, Blackberry, Android and the Android Galaxy tablet. Available for download at, this free color-matching app allows users to quickly and easily match hues with more than 1,500 Sherwin-Williams colors.

Browse existing images or snap a new photo, scroll around to locate the exact hue to match and ColorSnap will display the closest Sherwin-Williams color and coordinating palette. Consumers can also find the nearest Sherwin-Williams store or capture hues in “My Saved Colors” for future reference.

Sherwin-Williams interactive Color Visualizer offers the option to upload your own home interior or exterior images to discover and experiment with hundreds of color options for your space.

In addition to interactive color tools, Sherwin-Williams offers off-line help as well, including COLOR To Go® paint samples and Sher-Color™ Advanced Color Technology system for fast, accurate color matching. Color swatches and inspirational cards also are available at local Sherwin-Williams stores.

Color families of the 2012 color forecast

Reds Blues Greens Neutrals
Burgundy (SW 6300) Undercool (SW 6957) Basil (SW 6194) Bosc Pear (SW 6390)
Fabulous Grape (SW 6293) Dynamic Blue (SW 6958) Lagoon (SW 6480) Believable Buff (SW 6120)
Marooned (SW 6020) Lupine (SW 6810) Argyle (SW 6747) Universal Khaki (SW 6150)
Kimono Violet (SW 6839) Lobelia (SW 6809) Kendal Green (SW 6467) Spalding Gray (SW 6074)
Red Bay (SW 6321) Upward (SW 6239) Refresh (SW 6751) Creamy (SW 7012)
Gingery (SW 6363) Denim (SW 6523) Really Teal (SW 6489) Totally Tan (SW 6115)
Red Cent (SW 6341) Soulful Blue (SW 6543) Still Water (SW 6223) Latte (SW 6108)
Sunset (SW 6626) Bracing Blue (SW 6242) Tidewater (SW 6477) Relic Bronze (SW 6132)
Smoky Salmon (SW 6331) Naval (SW 6244) Cocoon (SW 6173) Overjoy (SW 6689)
Daredevil (SW 6882) Honorable Blue (SW 6811) Turquish (SW 6939) Collonade Gray (SW 7641)

Ask Sherwin-Williams™

As the nation’s largest specialty retailer of paint and painting supplies, Sherwin-Williams is dedicated to supporting do-it-yourselfers with exceptional products, resources to make confident color selections and expert, personalized service that’s focused on unique project needs. Sherwin-Williams is committed to environmental responsibility in both manufacturing processes and finished products, and in 2011, earned the EPA Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award. Sherwin-Williams products can only be found at its more than 3,400 neighborhood stores across North America. For more information, visit or join the color conversation at