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The Trends Affecting Color

Clariant's ColorWorks team

Color is a powerful communications tool with the ability to convey emotions and stories. It has deep connections with cultural, political, religious and social influences, as we all respond to color psychologically and intuitively. In a world filled with conflicts and pressures, the impact of color, whether conscious or subliminal, can bring value to our lives by positively influencing our moods. It can take us from sad to happy, tired to alert, anxious to calm. In knowledgeable hands, valuable guidance can be provided for applying color to real-world challenges to achieve desired outcomes. In the world of plastics, that guidance comes from Clariant's ColorWorks and its ColorForward color design tool.

ColorForward is a dedicated color forecasting service in the plastics industry, now in its seventh year. ColorForward’s predictions help define what colors consumers will respond to in the years ahead. The service has proven to be of great value to manufacturers of all types of products, giving them a head start on using the power of color to influence consumer purchasing decisions.

The color selections for 2013 are based on four powerful societal trends that are deemed to have the strongest global impact in the near time frame.

Science Superhero

Climate change, diminishing energy supplies, feeding a growing global population, pollution of land and oceans and new disease threats are monumental challenges we wake up to daily. But, there is hope in a trend Clariant calls Scien-Sational. It represents the growing sense of optimism we have in the capabilities of science and technology to find the best solutions. We fully support our scientists and believe their experimentation and explorations will yield amazing breakthroughs and achievements that will improve the quality of life for everyone on earth.

I’m Loving Eat!

Our food supplies have entered center stage. Food has taken on a greater meaning than mere sustenance in our lives. It's a trend Clariant calls Foodture. We live in a global society where what we eat, how it's grown and where it comes from are important issues. TV channels dedicated to food, celebrity chefs and cookbooks by the score, and culinary tourism are examples of our obsession with what we eat and the search for new tastes. Urban vegetable gardens are commonplace. And new technologies are developing ways to produce food closer to where people live.

Meet You There

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.

Anyone interested in learning more about ColorForward can visit and click on the Color Trends tab. Clariant also offers seminars at the seven ColorWorks locations, as well as at selected conferences and at customer sites.

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