You'll likely use the Pantone system, a system that standardizes colors. In doing so, different manufacturers in different locations can all refer to the Pantone system to make sure colors match without direct contact with one another.
One of the more interesting things the company produces is called the PANTONE VIEW Colour Planner. It predicts specific trends 18-24 months prior to a specific season and shows designers how to strategically apply those trends to their products and goods based on color.
Though this was published months ago, I thought it would be interesting to look at what Pantone's summer predictions are since today is the first day of summer. The Spring/Summer 2009 edition focuses on "independence," and is interpreted in seven palettes. One can expect to find these color trends reflected in several design areas including women’s wear, menswear, active wear, cosmetics, interiors, industrial design and graphics (via Pantone):
- Female-ism: medium pastels with a tinge of retro glamour
- Classic-ism: almost devoid of color except for one medium blue accent
- Independent-ism: tart, bold and gregarious colors
- Today-ism: deep, dark shades of reddish blues and brown
- Absurd-ism: combines disproportionate color hues and values
- Fetish-ism: "a carnal inspiration and desire for experimentation"
- Surreal-ism: "plays with scale, combination and expectation to create unexpected, and even strange, creations"
You can purchase the whole report for $750 (or just enjoy the brief synopsis that I've provided for free).