Clariant has launched its ninth annual colour forecasting guide for the plastics industry – ColorForward 2015. The annual tool from Clariant’s ColorWorks team is designed to identify the trends that will attract consumer attention and pave the hue palette for 2015. Essentially, Clariant sees it as offering a ‘head-start’ on harnessing colour in design in order to influence and guide consumer purchasing decisions.
It does incorporate a lot of marketing lingo, but nonetheless, the ColorForward guide has been shown to offer a genuine and thought-provoking look ahead at what’s to come. Added to which, its previous predictions have been shown to come to fruition.
“As a natural element, colour has the power to transcend and translate cultural, political, religious and social influences. As a tool, it has the power to communicate emotions and stories as succinctly as possible. And in the world of plastics, it acts as the ideal marketing driver to steer consumers’ purchasing choices for the future,” said Judith van Vliet, Designer at ColorWorks Europe/IMEA.
The group says that its ColorForward ‘colour predictions’ are based on intensive research of the most influential societal trends around the world. The process includes in-depth presentations from ColorWorks centers all over the world, where regional trends and influences are explored. Experts from the world’s major trend-watching organisations, and colour experts from diverse creative industries contribute to the process.
For ColorForward 2015, colour, design, marketing and polymer specialists congregated at Clariant’s new ColorWorks center in West-Chicago, Illinois, USA to identify the trends and to develop colours that best reflect each trend. The palette selected for 2015 is inspired by four societal trends expected to have the most influential global impact in the near future. Although not specific to the actual colours, we’ve tried to deduce what some of the ‘trends’ may mean for plastic product design in 2015 and beyond.
Tune In, Space Out
This perceived trend has been formulated based on the rise of digital technology and devices, and the requirement for shutting the world off. In 2015, Clariant predicts that there will be an emphasis on privacy, silence and switching off digital connections. This trend also appears to incorporate an inter-planetary element, based on the use of the earth’s resources.
The second trend is based on the idea that the next generation of workers are motivated by more than just work - heralding the end of the ‘live to work’ concept. This - admittedly idealistic - notion hones in on the profitability of creative thinkers. Technology is referenced in this capacity - perhaps a hint towards the recent surge in 3D printing on a personal level.
In addition, work is referred to in terms of a ‘game’ - with Clariant picking up on the fact that motivation is often incentivised. This competitive thinking is set to be reflected in consumer design, even in applications which may not necessarily be inherently competitive, according to Clariant.
Essentially, this trend is based on gender and orientation. Clariant’s description identifies the movement towards “a human being who should be considered as an individual that excels beyond the limits created by prevailing and selfish man-made cultures, which have been artificially built over the centuries and are detached from freedom-pervading nature.” The reference to ‘Eden’ and ‘nature’ gives a hint at the decorative motifs that Clariant anticipates. The group asks the question “Does it really benefit human beings to expect each and every one of us to fit into a preconceived and conventional scheme, rejecting the acceptance of human nature as a collection of infinite shades within the concept of a person?”
The phrase ‘infinite shades’ is another clue, hinting at more diversity, variety and choice.
The final trend looks at the (already noticeable) return in taste to natural, un-refined items, materials and even food. This is perhaps the most observable movement, as demand for applications with natural elements increases. Clariant doesn’t reference bio-materials specifically, but it’s likely that more work will be done to explore the use of bio-materials in a decorative, rather than just functional sense.
Also referenced are ‘blood and bruises’ which Clariant believes ‘are the new badges of courage’. Naturally this implies dark hues of red and crimson.
Finally, the ColorWorks prediction looks back on the rise of ‘extreme’ branding, as is often seen on beverage packaging (presumably Clariant is referring to energy/sports drinks). The description says that the colours involved here will see greater prominance in 2015.
To read more about what the ColorForward predictions could mean, readers can visit the dedicated microsite www.colorworks.clariant.com. Clariant also offers seminars at its four ColorWorks locations as well as at selected conferences and at customer sites.