Paint cans and swatches

Autumn may be the most wonderful time of the year, not just because it’s pumpkin spice, apple cider, and sweater season! It’s also the time when paint companies finally release their signature Color of the Year (COTY). All the top paint companies, including Behr, Benjamin Moore, and Sherwin-Williams, spend all year carefully watching trend forecasts, design news, and the minutiae of popular culture to select their colors.

Each company has a different process for selecting its COTY, but some broad trends include building mood boards to identify color stories. In 2020, the LA Times reported on PPG Paints’ 3.5-day working retreat to determine their color of the year. Color specialists spent days in meetings and clipping magazines, collaging between conference calls. Other companies follow similar patterns but almost always come to different choices for their Color of the Year, which is part of what makes the selection process so fascinating.

Pale green paints in cans