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The Trends Affecting Color

By: Clariant's ColorWorks team
Posted: March 29, 2012, from the April 2012 issue of GCI Magazine.

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People are feeling a need to join together with others who share the same interests and values. This is a drive to create communities of kindred souls that Clariant has named Communication. These social networks, aided by rapidly growing communication technologies, will be both local and global. They will provide real benefits to members by enabling people to call on each other for assistance, for a cause, or simply for companionship. Another aspect of this trend is the interest in things produced and sold locally with special appeal for the "home-grown" and "hand-crafted" of true quality.

Classy Austerity

It seems people have finally learned that accumulating possessions is not the route to happiness. Today's new generation feels they can enjoy life more by having less. This global shift from collecting stuff to choosing what we feel is essential, is a trend Clariant titled Enough... Is Enough! The downturn in the world economy, the "green" revolution, the desire for a less pressured lifestyle—these all contribute to the new attitude against conspicuous consumption. We are willing to pay more for better quality, and we want our things to provide a meaningful experience.

Color Collaboration

Through their dedication, depth of experience and true collaboration, not to mention a healthy dose of intuition, the worldwide Clariant ColorWorks team has developed a range of color palettes that harmoniously resonate with each trend’s influence. The color palette for Scien-Sational represents a sense of the mystique and the joy of scientific discovery. Foodture's palette is very organic and brings to mind a bright, fresh, healthy and tasty salad. Communination offers a warm palette that's clean, direct and grounded, supportive of our communal outreach. And the colors of Enough... Is Enough! foster a sense of quality and durability along with our desire for an emotional connection.

The color palettes of these trends are quite varied and will give designers much to think about. "But that's the idea," says Cristina Carrara, designer at ColorWorks Europe and a member of the Clariant Masterbatches global ColorForward team. "The colors are conceptual ideas. They are meant to inspire the imagination." Carrara also points out that the colors can be mixed and matched, and freely adapted to the needs of local markets or blended with regional influences.

ColorForward’s color predictions are based on intensive research of the most influential societal trends around the world. Uncovering the most significant trends and the colors they engender is not a simple task. Each ColorForward forecast package is based on a yearlong effort that involves hundreds of plastics industry and trend analysis experts from around the world. Color specialists from industries as diverse as architecture, textiles, packaging, housewares, automotive and fashion all participate in the process. Many trends are considered, but only the ones with true global impact make the final cut. It's an exhaustive but rewarding process that culminates in a five-day marathon of deliberation, debate and, ultimately, consensus, which recently took place in Milan and at the Clariant's ColorWorks facility in Merate, Italy.