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Asian Paints celebrates 20 years of ColourNext

  • ColourNext Trends
By Ela Das
6 min read
Mar 02, 2023
Asian Paints ColourNext 2022: Transcendent Pink

As the colour forecasting initiative by India’s paint giant celebrates its two-decade milestone, we look back at its early beginnings and vivid history

As India’s paint giant that’s dominated the industry for eight decades, Asian Paints has witnessed, as well as anticipated, trends and style movements that constantly evolve with the times. With its comprehensive forecast team, ColourNext (the only initiative of its kind in the country) comprising creatives across architecture, interior design, art, fashion and consumer goods, Asian Paints develops trend forecasts and a ‘hero’ known as the Colour of the Year. These colour and trend selections are presented to help consumers create styles to update and freshen up their spaces in hues, materials, designs and styles that also reflect the zeitgeist of their time.


Year after year, as a part of its forecast process, the ColourNext team at Asian Paints maps consumer behaviour, consumption patterns, socio-cultural sentiments and lifestyle shifts. Working across several institutions, and with prominent figures and professionals in the industry, the team holds competitions, interviews and workshops to finally create the colour forecast. For 2023, the Colour of the Year is Silver Escapade, which symbolises a fluid interaction between time and space—both virtual and physical, through the past, present and future.



In 2003, after being in the business of decorative paint for decades, Asian Paints had the advantage of having a unique window into consumer preferences with key insights in how their environments affected their colour choices. With this unique opportunity, the company created this platform to analyse and represent colour choices and intelligence from an Indian homeowner’s perspective. The initiative focusses on identifying the zeitgeist of the times, which is represented visually using tools of research and colour psychology. Eventually, a foray into forecasting materials a few years ago was a natural extension of being a part of the landscape of home décor in India.


ColourNext began as an exercise in thought leadership—the only initiative of its kind in the country—with a panel of seasoned experts in the fields of colour, design and consumer choices. Globally, there have been colour forecasters for the fashion, home décor and graphic design industry—but there was nothing representing India, where colour is truly democratic and cuts across all demographics. Asian Paints had something unique to offer at the time (two decades ago), and, today, ColourNext still continues to engage and generate interest in the design and architecture community. Experimenting with processes over the years, the paint giant has created an opportunity for the finest minds in design, business, politics, technology and culture in India to exchange their views and experience.

Asian Paints ColourNext 2015: Coral Radiance
Asian Paints ColourNext 2016: Madder Red


A panel of seasoned experts are picked by the colour marketing team at Asian Paints, who are chosen for their diversity and cutting-edge creativity. With an incredible mix of secondary research, interviews with tastemakers and innovators, and core group discussions and deliberations that last for days at a time, the ColourNext team arrives at the direction they need to follow for the forecast of the year. Each story is then mapped by keywords, emotions, and colour and material qualities to arrive at the final forecast. This clearly points to one colour—the Colour of the Year—which represents the overarching story of that year.


Socio-economic, political, environmental and cultural aspects of the current times are observed to cull out patterns that are forming across industry and human interaction. As not just a paint but also a home décor company, Asian Paints has a lens into stories that are relevant for a living space, that represent the core idea and designs of a functional Indian home. The group chosen for the ColourNext forecast team are quite diverse, too, with a range of distinct perspectives and experiences.



No entity in any industry in India—be it across fashion or interior design—forecasts trends at this scale with an intricate investment in time and resources. The ColourNext team’s interactions have led to a realisation that each forecast is used by various industries from automobiles to consumer goods, especially when MNCs are considering foraying into India.

Asian Paints ColourNext 2017: Intense Ocean
Asian Paints ColourNext 2018: Passion Flower


The country’s rich and varied craft heritage, its geographical and cultural diversity, and the shared values of our society at large makes forecasting for India an intricate and intensive process. The ColourNext forecasting process is mindful of ensuring representation across all age groups and demographics in its research.


As early as February of the previous year, the ColourNext team begins its forecasting journey for the next Colour of the Year, with trends and colour palettes being inferred by September. This follows planing for various channels of communication and exhibits, before launching it in January or February of the following year. It is a fairly arduous process, similar to global forecasts.

Asian Paints ColourNext 2021: Cherish
Asian Paints ColourNext 2022: Transcendent Pink


Over two colourful decades, quite literally, each team has gotten bigger, its span of reach has expanded, and there have been more and more learnings through an iterative process. This has created a fine art of picking up on an idea or concept at just the right time—after it’s gone past its embryonic phase but not before it can be considered mainstream. The ColourNext team has trained instincts and clear markers when an idea is just about to take off, and one can tangibly see each prediction come alive across the country—sometimes even globally!


While many consumers believe they don’t follow trends or that their sensibilities are unique—which is broadly both true and false—by virtue of living in our current society at this point in time, there are subtle but concrete influencing forces one is subjected to daily. For example, the paradigm shift to digital payments has eventually affected us all. So, as a forecasting team, ColourNext doesn’t invent these patterns or changes but identifies them, which opens up a spectrum of interpretations from the same idea.


Asian Paints sees a far and wide reach of the ColourNext forecast in the field of interior design—from colour and material choices to styling cues, and even sparking thought-provoking conversations. Seeing the forecast tangibly come alive when design practitioners interpret it in unique ways makes the entire journey worth it!


The Asian Paints Colour of the Year for 2023 is Silver Escapade.


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