Miller Paint's Color of The Year, Lioness


Woonwinkel and Miller Paint are teaming up over the next several months to celebrate Miller Paint's Color of the Year, Lioness. What exactly IS a color of the year, you ask? I asked the same thing of Puji Sherer, Color Marketing Manager at Miller Paint, when we sat down to discuss the project for the first time. I've come to know Puji over the years because, well, color nerds just find each other. When I come across a person who can wax eloquent about the versatility of ochre, or the emotional power of pastels or the method of mixing a color to achieve just the right undertones, well, I've found myself a kindred spirit--and probably a happy person, to boot. Color has the power to transform, and most color lovers know how to use it as therapy for the soul. Here's how our conversation went.

Kristin: Lioness is gorgeous. You don't have to convince me to help you celebrate it. But what exactly is a "color of the year"?

Puji: A Color of The Year is an emerging color that we see in the paint industry that we predict will have staying power in the home sector.

Kristin: Got it. What's your process for deciding it?

Puji: Miller Paint Company is part of an international organization called Color Guild comprised of other independent paint companies from around the world. We meet up once a year to discuss design trends that we're seeing from our unique perspectives and we arrive at consensus around which colors we see as trending in the home decor sector.

Kristin: Why did this color feel particularly right for the Northwest region?

Puji: Well, in the Pacific Northwest where rain is prevalent we can all use a bit more sunshine. Outside of the energy of the color, the Pacific Northwest is a hotbed for makers and artisans, many of who are reviving crafts like ceramics and fiber arts. Lioness 0864 is an earthy yellow that has a connection to natural materials and handmade goods. For example, the oldest pigment used to create color is ochre, discovered at a site in Kenya being used for this purpose 285,000 years ago. Also, the spice turmeric is used as natural dye to create a striking color similar to Lioness. Trend colors for 2020 continue to lend themselves to a need to slow down and live in the present, where our connections are real, not virtual.

Kristin: It's also a great partner to gender-neutral Millenial Pink which is the color of a generation. It's been standing strong for awhile and shows no signs of slowing. So many of the colors we see trending now are good complements to it because people have invested in it in home goods purchases.

Puji: So true. From a birds eye view- if you look at our larger 2020 color trend collection of hues, we are pairing Lioness 0864 with a majority of smokey pastels like sage green (and Millenial Pink fits in this zone, too), soft terracottas, and hazy neutrals. The idea is that color trends as a whole for 2020 are about contrast- how seemingly opposing colors like brights and pastels can coexist in the same space. And not only do they coexist- they look great together! 

Kristin: So it's "Lioness" not "Lion" there a reason?

Puji: Yes- words matter. There is a built in suggestion of femininity in the name of this color. The typical associations with femininity are gentleness, passivity, sweetness. By using a bold hue like yellow and attaching a feminine name, it suggests that strength, confidence, and power are also feminine characteristics. Color can be powerful.

Kristin: How do you think people will feel when they see Lioness?

Puji: You can’t help but notice yellow. It is the brightest color in the spectrum and is one of the most noticeable colors to the human eye. Brave, expansive and openly outspoken, Lioness exudes independence, generosity and light. As we continue to break boundaries and defy definition, we also discover new ways of relating in our search for connection. It is the contrast between individual courage to buck the crowd and the yearning to be a part of our pride that informs the colors of this year. Lioness is a strong yet welcoming hue that says, "Go ahead, roar a little!" Color doesn’t bite, but it does speak up and say "Hello"!


Our first celebration of Lioness is in our 10th Street Window through the end of 2019--come check it out and stay tuned for more.