About CMG’s Key Colors

By November 3, 2021World Color Forecast

Color Marketing Group®  – Key Colors 

By Montaha Hidefi, CMG’s Vice President, Color Forecasting

History and Background

In 2011, Color Marketing Group® (CMG) introduced regional Key Colors for the World Color Forecast™.  Each year since then, the Regional Forecasts include a Key Color selected during the regional color steering.  Taking into consideration the evolution and proliferation of color consumption in various market sectors, and the deepened understanding that a single color does not occur in isolation, but rather concurrently with other colors and within spaces and environments shared by many, it became apparent to revisit the notion of Key Colors.


To this effect, for 2023+, instead of a single Key Color for each region, CMG’s Executive Committee introduced a compendium of three Key Colors per region.  While each selected Key Color represents one of the three Color Stories of the Forecast, together they establish a color harmony that works well in combination or as a stand-alone color.

The color harmony is an exclusive CMG member-benefit only giving members the advantage to introduce products in one or more of the Key Colors.

CMG will continue announcing one Key Color known as CMG’s “Main Key Color”, while the other two colors will be called “Supporting Key Color”.  On the printed and digital collaterals, all three colors appear with the same caption, “Key Color”.

Key Color Selection Process

The regional Key Color is selected out of the 16 colors included in the regional forecast. The choice is made based on the color direction of the forecast, the importance of the color family to the forecast, the significance of the specific color to the color direction, and how the color best represents the Color Stories or the general mood of the stories.

Before the final choice is made, various colors are shortlisted by the steering committee. The shortlist is based on various parameters, which may include one or more of the following:

  1. The number of times a color was submitted by participants during a ChromaZone®. Sometimes, it’s not the exact color that is submitted various times, but variations of it.
  2. The color was selected as a ChromaZone®  Story Key Color or ChromaZone Key Color.
  3. The most predominant color family in the Forecast. This is based on the number of colors within a color family.
  4. The most unexpected color in the Forecast, but closely related and representative of the general mood of the Color Stories.

Shortlisted colors are discussed one by one with an explanation of what they signify and symbolize, and why they will be important to represent the forecast.  Following discussions, the committee votes on the colors until one color ends up with the most votes.

For more information about Color Marketing Group, or our Key Colors, please contact sgriffis@colormarketing.org

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