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Why design innovators are going blue in 2024

What blue’s prominence as a 2024 color trend means for building and design decision-makers

As the construction industry moves toward a new year, building material makers have kept a close eye on color trends emerging from the design world. Earth tones are set to make a big splash in 2024, moving from couture to building design as homeowners convey their personalities and identities onto personal spaces. One color is already a standout.

Innovators in the design world are feeling blue ahead of the new year. In fashion studios, pastel blue has been expressed in a variety of forms, from rich knitwear to light, gauzy garments, according to L’Officiel. In Pantone’s Fashion Color Trend Report, the spring color palette includes the “easy vitality” of Chambray Blue, as well as Marlin, a watery blue evoking temperate and tropical seas. Dark blues, appealing to possibility and adventure, have been pursued by paint brands like Benjamin Moore

Connection, relaxation, and play are ideally expressed in residential spaces. People want synergy between what they wear and how they appoint their homes.

If the distance between the catwalk and the home still seems like a stretch, consider fashion editor Diana Vreeland’s observation that “the eye has to travel.” The human brain is designed to make connections, even creating them where they’re otherwise absent. Accordingly, a broad range of fashion houses from Fendi to H&M long ago strayed into the territory of lifestyle accessories, home textiles, and design accents. When interior designer Cara Newhart expressed confidence that “moody colors” would play a large role in 2024 color selections, she could have just as easily been talking about what people wear as the spaces they live in.  

Companies are taking their cues from these trends. Industry innovator Glen-Gery, one of North America’s largest brick manufacturers and a Brickworks North America company, recently unveiled Blue Smooth Ironspot as its Brick Color of the Year for 2024. A dark, extruded-face brick, it is bold and dynamic, beautifully reflecting both natural and artificial light that hits its surface.

In the same way gauzy gowns or luscious sweaters make statements, brick is a vivid style choice for physical space. It immediately draws viewers’ attention, and invites curiosity.  Glen-Gery is skilled at crafting brick products that meet both innovative design challenges and highly demanding construction specifications. Blue Smooth Ironspot, which is a part of the company’s dark blue-black Sioux City Blues Series, is no exception.

The company observed growing customer interest in darker bricks in its collection. Brighter shades will feature next year, but deeper hues will be integral in balancing out lighter palettes. 

Blues are consistently popular, and a well-trending design color according to Google Search data. They frequently poll among Americans’ favorites, regardless of regional and urban or rural differences, amid a wider trend away from the safety of neutral paint colors. Because blues pair well with a variety of colors and settings, especially other bright palettes, other project components are less restricted. 

“Blue tones have always been a popular choice precisely because of their utility,” said Denise Smith, marketing manager for Glen-Gery. “There is already a timelessness to brick that draws people in, but blue-black bricks, like Blue Smooth Ironspot, are particularly effective at awakening the senses. Their luster and sheen are brought out by all kinds of lighting settings and even weather conditions, which gives customers a very versatile backdrop.”

The tableau of a room can strongly influence the moods of people in it. Context and nuance are everything for a color’s psychological impact. Different shades or even placements of the same color can go a long way toward how that color is perceived, with viewers judging from the gut whether something looks or feels “right” to them.

With that in mind, Glen-Gery’s team looked closely at outside environments when deciding on brick colors. Their goal was to draw organic and natural palettes indoors with rich and sensual colors that remind viewers of natural scenes, contributing to a feeling of balance and tranquility.

This impact is not confined to residential settings. It is equally worth noting the appeal of blues in commercial and office environments. Evoking space, sky, and sea, blues are an invitation to knowledge and reflection. In astrology, blue represents trust and peace. Researchers note that a calm mind is likelier to make better decisions, including in high-powered business settings.

In the example of Glen-Gery, the company already had experience in ensuring that its color selections landed within the current context. Last year’s Brick Color of the Year, the Pitt Cafe Series, was specifically crafted to help designers and homeowners incorporate anticipated color trends. 

It helps, of course, that Brickworks Design Studios, with three locations in New York, Philadelphia and Baltimore, and more than two dozen Brickworks Supply Centers are all part of the same family, ensuring a seamless flow between initial brick specifications and direct retail. The studios foster a shared space for architects, designers, and homeowners to decide on products and collaborate on projects, while the supply center locations enable fast and direct distributions to make those projects a success.

“We’re already seeing a great deal of excitement for Blue Smooth Ironspot,” said Glen-Gery’s Smith. “The balance of timelessness and modernity can be really hard to strike, so when it succeeds, the resulting product becomes an instant favorite.”

Glen-Gery’s 2024 Brick Color of the Year is available for purchase at 26 Brickworks Supply Centers and Glen-Gery’s vast distributor network across the U.S. Anyone interested can visit www.glengery.com/2024-coty to learn more. 

Even as a builder, an easily overlooked way to stay ahead of client expectations is to keep a close eye on color trends. This is especially true for those trends coming from couture studios, landing in living rooms, bedrooms, and offices. In particular, blue shades show up almost annually in trending colors. This persistence and staying power gives designers more challenges to relish, and more options for creativity and ingenuity. The only real limit is designers’ imagination. 

When it comes to good design, “feeling blue” isn’t so bad after all.

Registration is now open for the LBM Strategies 2024 Conference