Sherwin-Williams recently announced its 2020 Color of the Year: Naval SW6244, a rich navy hue.  While we’ve always loved this versatile color, we couldn’t wait to talk with Sue Wadden, director of color marketing at Sherwin-Williams, to find out how and why Naval won this coveted title.

How do you decide the winner from literally thousands of colors?  

I have a design background. So, for me, the overarching theme for color choice is that it’s usable for interiors, whether that be for a wall, kitchen island, cabinets, or whole room.

We have our Annual Forecast Meeting in February, where we present research and talk about color trends we see coming. And there’s always one color that emerges. For example, after we chose Cavern Clay SW 7701 last year, we saw terra cotta everywhere from furniture to products and fashion six months later. This is a wink to consumers that this is a color that’s coming to the marketplace. 

Where do you see color trends?  

My team and I travel the world to research and identify key trends that influence the way we interact with color. We attend Salone di Mobile in Milan; Maison et Objet in Paris; Heimtextil in Germany; IDS in Toronto; NeoCon in Chicago; and High Point in North Carolina. There are several smaller, indy shows that we attend too.

Any new ways to pair Naval?

Sure, while it’s easy to lump Naval into the nautical category, we’ve been reading reports and seeing furniture that’s decidedly Art Deco. In fact, there’s a lot of emerging design that reflects the high style of the 1920s. Think super, gilded gold, and deep, dark jewel tones. Naval really comes to life when paired with mixed metallics. It sparkles. 

How interesting that design in 2020 will reflect that of 100 years ago?

We’re predicting that the next decade in color is going to be bold. This year we saw the return of the ’70s, and next year we think the vibrant energy and luxurious design of speakeasies will make a comeback. 

All Photos Courtesy of Sherwin-Williams