A countertop filled with vibrantly colored ingredients, with a person rolling out dough.

Color: The Heart & Soul of KitchenAid

The KitchenAid Color of the Year is an annual celebration of the power of color to create a mood, an emotion – it helps tell personal stories about who we are and what we dream about. It fuels inspiration and feeds self-expression. Color is the essence of KitchenAid.

We caught up with Jessica McConnell, Director, Whirlpool Color, Finish & Material Design and Brittni Pertijs, Lead Color, Material & Finish Designer for KitchenAid to discover the story behind the annual color of the year.

THE COLORFUL WORLD OF KITCHENAID

Color has been at the heart of KitchenAid brand’s success story since it first launched color products in 1955. The annual Color of the Year is an opportunity to connect with Makers on an emotional level, inspire creativity and open up new possibilities.

The selection of the Color of the Year is the purview of the KitchenAid Global Design team. The process of identifying and creating the Color of the Year begins about eighteen months before a new color is launched. The team starts by taking an exhaustive look at sociocultural trends and because the team is based in all the regions of the world there’s high-level input from every corner of the globe on fashion, design, food and more.

Once the trends have been studied and vetted, the team comes to the table with 2 or 3 topics and color choices that are balanced against the KitchenAid color portfolio. McConnell describes how the team considers the emotional power of color to help inform meaningful color choices: “Colors are so emotional – what kinds of colors will people want to fulfill an emotional need they’re having at the time.”

The periwinkle Blue Salt mixer being used to make ice cream.
Several scoops of pink blackberry ice cream in a waffle cone bowl.
Blackberry ice cream in a loaf pan, waiting to be scooped. A person working in the kitchen in the background of the Blue Salt mixer.

Blue Salt, the 2024 Color of the year, is designed to ignite positive and fresh new perspectives as it shifts in the light.

“We have a lot of fun trying to push and pull colors in different directions and see how far we can take them…”

BRITTNI PERTIJS
LEAD COLOR, MATERIAL & FINISH DESIGNER, KITCHENAID

BEHOLD: BLUE SALT

The newest color of the year is 2024’s Blue Salt, KitchenAid brand’s first-ever “living color,” exclusively available on KitchenAid.com.

Brittni Pertijs, Lead Color, Material & Finish Designer for KitchenAid, knew instinctively that they would choose a blue tone. While the team had been following a fairly warm color space for several years, Pertijs explains that: “We felt it was time to shift cooler…to reflect tones of nature like air and water. One image we drew a lot of inspiration from was a butterfly wing that revealed blue iridescent tones.”

Once the team determined the color was going to be a shade of blue, they began experimenting by combining different shades. “We have a lot of fun trying to push and pull colors in different directions and see how far we can take them before they become something else entirely.” Pertijs says. 

For Blue Salt, the team used a technique they hadn’t with past Color of the Year selections—nail polish. “We knew we wanted…an iridescent finish, so we began layering different shades of blue with chromatic nail polishes,” says Pertijs, until they achieved the perfect shade of periwinkle blue with a subtle, iridescent reddish-pearl finish.

The color is meant to ignite positive and fresh new perspectives as it subtly shifts in the light. Pertijs reflects that: “We want people to slow down and feel excited and optimistic by the whimsical tone. It’s a subtle sensory reminder to see every day in a new light.”

A vibrant pink shaved ice cocktail and a Hibiscus blender.
A Hibiscus stand mixer with the pastry beater attached.
 A man brushing a Hibiscus glaze over a galette with a Hibiscus stand mixer in the background and a top-down view of a vibrantly pink galette.

Hibiscus embodies the energy-boosting hues seen in contemporary art, pop culture and design.

“Hibiscus empowers the inner maker to explore.”

BRITTNI PERTIJS
LEAD COLOR, MATERIAL & FINISH DESIGNER, KITCHENAID

RADIATE JOY & A LOVE FOR LIFE WITH HIBISCUS

2023’s Color of the Year was Hibiscus, which was partially inspired by the rising global resurgence of maximalism — and its intersection with color, including bold prints.

Brittni Pertijs, Lead Color, Material & Finish Designer for KitchenAid, tapped into the trajectory of pink over the last few years, starting with Millennial pink, and arrived at something bolder for 2023’s Color of the Year. She said: “Hibiscus embodies the energy-boosting hues we are seeing in art, design and pop culture right now…For us, Hibiscus empowers the inner maker to explore. We hope people feel that way when they see the color.” 

Pertijs also saw Hibiscus as a color that can “play” with others: “Hibiscus can be styled in so many ways. We love pairing Hibiscus with a neutral kitchen to add a pop of color. Or, we love a maximalist pink and green combination! Don’t be afraid to pair Hibiscus with various textures as well.”

A Beetroot blender on a counter near two egg-topped bowls of food.
A Beetroot stand mixer.
A series of images, including a top-down view of two egg-topped dishes. A close-up of the Beetroot blender, with a woman turning the dial. A series of colorful ingredients, including beets.

Beetroot, the 2022 Color of the Year, was designed to tap into the confidence to re-emerge into the world.

“It’s both earthy and comforting, but also vibrant and full of energy and possibility…”

Jessica mcconnell
Director, Whirlpool color, finish & material DESIGN

UPROOTING THE ORDINARY WITH BEETROOT

The 2022 Color of the Year, Beetroot, was an opportunity to tap into the heart of 2022.

McConnell reflects on the idea that in 2022, we were all still seeking comfort and spending more time than ever in our homes, but the idea of emerging into the world, or nature, was really taking over. She and her team loved how this root – which is pulled out of the earth into the world – symbolized this desire to reemerge.

“We wanted that to come through with the color – this idea that it’s both earthy and comforting, but also vibrant and full of energy and possibility…” says McConnell.

It takes confidence to take that step forward, and the team found that confidence embodied in the rich purple of Beetroot. KitchenAid tweaked the color though, to make it a color that’s not only confident, but restorative and uplifting.

 A honey blender filled with bright green ingredients.
Cauliflower drizzled in golden honey.
A honey stand mixer.

Honey, the 2021 Color of the Year, addresses the emotional need for maintaining connections in a complicated time.

“The story we wanted to talk about was people caring & showing empathy for each other & reaching across aisles, or reaching across differences to make the world a better place, to build a brighter future.”

Jessica mcconnell
Director, Whirlpool color, finish & material DESIGN

celebrating sweetness with honey

The team knew they wanted to tell a story about connection and empathy for the 2021 Color of the Year. The rich, uplifting and comforting color with golden-orange undertones was a reminder of the sweetness that comes from making together in the kitchen and a celebration of those connections and the warmth they bring. 

A bright green smoothie bowl with various ingredients.
 A stone pathway lined with tall, green bamboo stalks.
The Kyoto Glow stand mixer and blender on a white countertop surrounded by ingredients and prepared recipes.

Kyoto Glow, the 2020 Color of the Year, was designed to turn the kitchen into a refreshing sanctuary where makers could recharge and replenish.

achieving balance with kyoto glow

The 2020 Color of the Year was inspired by the quest to find balance, tranquility and wellness in our homes. It was a wish for health and wellness that became more relevant as the year continued and the pandemic began. The color was bright enough to recharge and replenish, yet soft enough to provide sanctuary from the demands of life.

The complete set of Bird of Paradise small appliances.
A cocktail tray with bold yellow, blue and pink ingredients.

The inaugural Color of the Year, Bird of Paradise, embodied an exotic getaway in color as it evoked a lush, tropical adventure.

escape with bird of paradise

The first KitchenAid® Color of the Year was Bird of Paradise, a high gloss vibrant coral inspired by the tropical plant and chosen specifically to ignite the desire to be free; to travel and explore exotic destinations.

Each KitchenAid® Color of the Year taps into an emotional need the world is experiencing, tempered by trends—yet it also serves to tell a human story; one that continues to build year over year.

 An image showing the progression of Colors of the Year, from left to right, represented by the Bird of Paradise flower, greens, honey, beetroots, hibiscus flower and blue salt.

“...Tell me a story and it will live in my heart forever…”

Jessica mcconnell
Director, Whirlpool color, finish & material DESIGN

telling a story through color

Choosing the Color of the Year is a multi-faceted decision. Not only does the color tap into the emotions of the year, but careful thought goes into ensuring that a color isn’t duplicated or only slightly different from a color that already exists in the KitchenAid® palette.

The team reflects that the choice is fueled not only by the color space but also by whether or not it is a story the world is ready to hear. Ultimately that story will always have an optimistic spin with energy and action because, as McConnell explains, “...that’s what we’re about, making and action in the kitchen.” She goes on to talk more about the importance of storytelling through color: “...Tell me a story and it will live in my heart forever – that’s what we’re doing here, through color – these kinds of things are what people ‘bookmark’ in their hearts and minds. Even if they don’t buy that color, or they buy a different color, it’s a moment where they can see that side of the brand and they can experience an emotion and be inspired.”

McConnell reflects that color is key to creating the vibe you want to feel while you’re in your kitchen: “...That’s why we have so many colors, so you can choose – everybody has a different perspective and something different they want to say. We think of a stand mixer as a throw pillow or exclamation mark in the kitchen. It celebrates who you are. It shows your personality...and it should inspire you to make or do something you love in the kitchen.”

The Blue Salt stand mixer and blender.
Stacks of blue ceramic bowls on a light berry pink background.
A series of images showcasing light periwinkle blues in items from cabinetry, tilework, denim, salt and more.

A series of images of blue items, showing how hues like Blue Salt can come to life in the kitchen.

Dreaming in color

The team is already deeply entrenched in creating next year’s Color of the Year. So what does the future of color look like for KitchenAid? The team has this to say: “...Our vision for the future is to make these colors even more human-centered as a design team and think even more deeply about the cultures of people and feelings and how we can bring more of the Maker into our stories.” 

The next Color of the Year is a tightly held secret. Only a few select members of the team know what that color will be at this point. But one thing we can predict with certainty – it will have heart, it will have soul and it will inspire people to dream about how they want to tell their own story. And KitchenAid will be right there to help them tell it, in bold, beautiful, hopeful color.

A person adding ingredients to their Blue Salt stand mixer.
 The Blue Salt stand mixer against a white tile backsplash with periwinkle colored grout.
A person stirring a vibrantly purple ingredient next to a Blue Salt Stand Mixer.

BREAK THE MONOTONY WITH BLUE SALT

The latest Color of the Year is an iridescent, subtly shifting periwinkle that reminds us to break out of our routines and add a pinch of new perspectives to each new day.

Destination: Design logo

Two Storytellers.
One Enchanted Destination.

Where will the path to inspiration lead? Join a journey of design discovery and see how
KitchenAid brings two unique perspectives to life in unexpected ways.

Yummly recipes

Related Articles