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The color cosmetics segment is largely influenced by fashion and ever-emerging yet short-lived trends; thus packagers are forced to deal with the requirements of current trends and to anticipate those on the horizon. Because these trends are often so short-lived, it is beneficial for packagers to stay ahead of their customers—spotting trends and then presenting ideas and proposals.
Like manufacturers of color cosmetics, packagers are looking 12–24 months ahead for trends, and the rate of new product introductions is pushing packagers to further increase the forecast range. Packagers must facilitate speed-to-market and consider the impact that trends have on tooling and mold costs; therefore, flexibility is crucial.
“Colorant schemes are very high on the list of priorities to be completed,” said Pete Prusak, director of technology, color business, PolyOne. “The danger is bad market trend data. If the ‘color of the year’ ends too quickly, a product launch could be in jeopardy.”
The early involvement of packaging engineers, use of digital prototyping and color consulting is key to maintaining speed-to-market. Ampacet launched a series of color consulting and design services for packagers. Future Color Intelligence (FCI) includes an annual forecast of both global and regional color trends, tailored reports that translate brand positioning to color concepts, and Kaleid-A-Vision—a real-time, interactive design tool intended to facilitate and accelerate color selection, effects and textural elements.
“Future Color Intelligence gives designers and brand managers new research on which combination of colors and effects will help them position their brands for success in the marketplace,” says Doug Brownfield, strategic business manager, Ampacet. “This unique constellation of packaging services begins with a global view of emerging colors and extends to color design for speed-to-market and high shelf impact.” As a preliminary step to color matching, Kaleid-A-Vision lets designers apply colors, surface textures, labels and special effects to CAD drawings of their package. The system is relies on Ampacet’s comprehensive database of colors and special effects.