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120 Iconic Colours and their story

Colours are part of our awareness of life, our memories, and our sense of style. A team of trend researchers, art historians, interior designers, and colourists established by Caparol dedicated itself to the exciting topic of zeitgeist and the culture of space. The research included art, music, architecture, literature, design, technical progress, fashion, people, ideas, and revolutions that have lend our colour culture its various identities. This resulted in 120 modern, elegant colour icons of the CAPAROL ICONS collection.

Every single colour is a tribute to time: moments of colour history with cult status that give colours a timeless and emotive character.

Longing for Innocence

The 1950s

The desire for a new beginning was reflected in a trend towards light, powdery shades reminiscent of sorbet shades. Soft, delicate pastel shades symbolise blossoming optimism. The Eames couple designed their cult classics. The whole world looks towards America’s lifestyle . The age of space travel starts to exite peoples imagination along with with iridescent colours.

New Lust for Life

The 1960s

The economic miracle gave people and colours a new self-confidence. Rock 'n' roll, sexual liberation, and a general urge for change were omnipresent. In the Swinging Sixties, London became the epicentre of the revolt against the establishment. The creative restlessness of the youth culture was asking for  new ways of living. Colourfulness, too, emancipated itself. The best example for the new taste for provocative bold colours is the Pop Art movement.

Freedom and Cosiness

The 1970s

Disco fever and counter culture conquered the world. The hippie movement proclaimed free love and psychedelic experiences – the new individualism clashed with the communitarianism of the 1960s: being famous, even if only for 15 minutes... At the same time, economic and political uncertainties led to a cocooning effect.  This dilemma  of a desire for security and new experiences at the same time was reflected in clashing colour combinations such as  green and pink purple and orange . 

A Synthetic World

The 1980s

Walls were falling. The new technologies of personal computers, video games, synthesizers, and the first mobile phones created an artificial, achromatic world of cool colours. The trend colours were neon, metallic, and grey. Designers such as the Memphis Group presented stark contrasts in colours and patterns. A new androgynous self-image was celebrated on the streets of the big cities and documented with graffiti art. 

A New Awareness

The 1990s

The ecological movement made people aware of the fragility of our environment. Natural colours and materials were introduced into homes: delicate shades of green and warm beige replaced the former rational austerity in design and architecture. The result was a luxurious purism that required soft, subtle colours. Materials such as wood, natural fibre, and concrete were harmoniously combined with a maximum of off-whites and nude shades.


The 2000s

Globalisation and the Internet made information and images omnipresent. Social media, apps, and computer animations shaped a new visual aesthetic full of strong accents using lots of red and blue shades. A new ecclectic sense of style demanded extravagant hues as a statement of individuality. Opulent imagery and fetish culture provided intoxicatingly intense colours. At the same time, values like understatement, a return to local traditions and a focus on sustainability are reflected in tradional classic shades.