Clariant, a world leader in specialty chemicals, together with its Masterbatches business unit, is announcing plans for a major revision to its pioneering ColorForward trend-watching platform, which is used by designers and brand managers to forecast colours for use in plastics products and packaging. The changes will take place with the ColorForward 2019 edition, due to be launched in early January 2018.
“The 2019 edition of ColorForward will be the 13th we have published,” notes Maurizio Torchio, Global Head of ColorWorks®, Clariant’s global network of colour design and technology centres. “When we began this mission to help our customers better understand the link between global trends, consumer preferences and colours, it was the first of its kind in the plastics industry. Since then several other companies have begun to copy our concept. That’s one of the reasons we decided to update the package. We also want to ramp up the ‘WOW’ factor.”
ColorForward springs from the minds and experience of Clariant colour, design, marketing and polymer experts from all over the world. Each year they come together for a week-long workshop during which they share what they have observed over the last twelve months about consumer trends and interests. After much discussion and debate, they distil all the ideas and input and eventually agree on four trends that seem to be truly global in scope, and which can be expected to influence consumer behaviour in the near- and mid-term future. The ColorForward team then selects different colour aesthetics that evoke an emotional response related to each trend.
Torchio notes that this basic approach has been very successful and, therefore, will not change. “We will be changing how the trends are presented,” he says.
In the past, Clariant has published three different versions of ColorForward — the classic edition for consumer products and packaging, an Interiors editions for the fibre and textile market and a third edition for automotive customers. “What has become very evident recently is that, even though they make use of plastics and polymers in different applications, there is not much distinction in how these different markets look at trends and colour,” explains Torchio. “They are very open to ideas that transcend specific industries and applications.”
With that in mind, the new ColorForward package will include elements from all three versions, including prototypes specifically tailored to the interests and requirements of the different markets. The ColorForward 2019 kit will include a smaller box of colour plaques that can be used by itself when required. Overall, the package will be 20 % smaller in volume, making it more portable, and easier to use.
At the same time its scope will be expanded and it will get a new subtitle: Society | Trends | Aesthetic. These three words encompass the essence of ColorForward, which is based on the idea that ColorForward’s observations of ‘Society’ worldwide are contextualized into four major ‘Trends.’ Those societal trends are then translated into tangible form in coloured plastic materials.
“How those colours can be applied to products and packaging represents a new ‘Aesthetic,’” Maurizio Torchio explains. “ColorForward helps us gain a better understanding of how consumer emotions are shaped by the complex world around them and how those emotions influence their preferences and the choices they make in day-to-day life. That understanding, in turn, helps designers and brand owners harness the power of colour and other visual cues to help their products stand out in the marketplace. This is what has made ColorForward so successful and why the new design for 2019 will be even more valuable.”