The need to stay authentic in a world where technology continues to blur the lines between reality and artificiality is the driving force behind the BASF’s 2018-19 Automotive Color Trends theme – “Keep it Real”.
As innovations such as artificial intelligence, autonomous driving and robotic industrialization take hold, the return to the human element – people’s needs and emotions – becomes increasingly important. The designers at BASF’s Coatings division translated these observations into a collection of 65 colors for automotive surfaces.
Dark colors, blue hues and complex effects represent the omnipresence of technology
Advancements in digitalization make technology become less visible and more intertwined with reality. Augmented reality applications and smart gadgets that simplify everyday life merge the real with the digital world. People seem to spend more time on online platforms, striving for perfection on social media, than in the real world. This omnipresence of technology is reflected in the Automotive Color Trends. Shades of gray and blue are the focal point of the collection. Achromatic colors are combined with complex effects that add colorful and natural accents and represent the merging of reality and the virtual world. Blue hues – mirroring the color of screens and digital light – appear as strong saturated colors. Natural textures and color effects symbolize the search for human qualities in a virtual world.
Shifting functions – new mobility concepts will influence color choices
Car sharing concepts, ride hailing services and autonomous driving will shift a car’s function from a personally-owned object to a more public mode of transportation. For cars that are designed for sharing, color pallets with a universal appeal will play a significant role. The trend collection shows how elaborate textures and intricate effects can make each color truly unique.
In addition, BASF addresses future mobility with the continued development of functional colors. Select colors of the collection feature a coatings system that mitigates heat buildup on the vehicle surface which reduces the rise of the temperature inside the car. Further innovations include colors with state-of-the-art functionality, increasing reflectivity for enhanced LiDAR detectability, without compromising their aesthetic appeal.
Asia Pacific – Quest for quality in the real life
Asia Pacific is the birthplace and test environment for many innovative technologies. People are open to new seamless solutions that collect and use personal data for creating new experiences and make life more convenient. Artificial intelligence enables users to enter into a dialog with their devices which creates an emotional bond that lets them consider gadgets not only as tools but as friends. New technologies bring solutions and joy to the automotive industry, including in electric vehicles. Fresh greens and blues with a digital influence attract active young people to express their individuality.
At the same time as people celebrate technological progress, the fast changing and super-efficient digital communication wakes a longing for real-world interactions and to “keep it real”. Gray Ambivalence, a brand-new gray, embodies the ambivalent status of technology. A glaring metallic gray which stands for the integration of high performance technology in everyday life is balanced by solidity that connects to the real world. Among many Asians who pursue a better quality of life and greater emotional satisfaction, living in the moment is prized, according to the saying “If today is good, the future will be better.” Golden Sheen, a sophisticated beige gray from China with a quiet shine, expresses the human touch and cozy modern life.
North America – Expanding color horizons
The dismantling of public heroes makes room for new idols. Flaws are accepted as part of being human and diversity is celebrated. A new enthusiasm for science and especially space travel draws attention to far away worlds. The connection of the real and virtual world as well as the relationship of earth and space is captured in BASF’s key color in North America, Atomium Sky: a deeply saturated blue with a medium coarseness that transitions to a softer, semi-opaque hue in longer grazing angles. The color exudes playfulness and demonstrates a futuristic spirit and forward-thinking. This is the second consecutive year that BASF has selected blue as its key color in North America, which is a result of its growing prominence in the region.
EMEA – Life in urban spaces
In the EMEA region the use of public space is changing, with real places taking on new value. They invite people to take a break from the digital world. Gray nuances build on this trend. With their associations with concrete, they stand for urbanity and – combined with haptic effects – allude to the significance of what can be experienced for real. Extraordinary effects symbolize the desire for attention. The metallic anthracite “The Urbanist”" stands for the urban, globally networked cosmopolite. At the same time, it represents the blending of humans and technology.
South America – Transformation of classic color spaces
The colors for South America offer a visual connection to the diversity of the region. Two of the most popular color spaces in the automotive market – black and white – are transformed into elegant, eclectic coatings for cars. Coriolis Force, the region’s key color, reflects on care and respect of traditional crafts and knowledge handed down over generations. The dark hue exudes a luxurious effect, which is created by using a reddish gold flake. Under a strong light source, it creates a genuine aesthetic for the region.
Color expertise of the Coatings division
The designers of BASF’s Coatings division observe technological and societal changes and use them as inspiration and starting point for intensive research into future trends. Every year they translate their findings and predictions into a collection of 65 new colors that reflect on global trends and developments within the regions of Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), Asia Pacific (AP) and North America (NA).
» Further information on the 2018-19 Automotive Color Trends
About BASF’s Coatings division
The Coatings division of BASF is a global expert in the development, production and marketing of innovative and sustainable automotive OEM and refinish coatings, decorative paints as well as applied surface treatments for metal, plastic and glass substrates in a wide range of industries. The portfolio is completed by the “Innovation Beyond Paint” program which aims at developing new markets and businesses. We create advanced performance solutions and drive performance, design and new applications to meet our partners’ needs all over the world. BASF shares skills, knowledge and resources of interdisciplinary and global teams for the benefit of customers by operating a collaborative network of sites in Europe, North America, South America and Asia Pacific. In 2017, the Coatings division achieved global sales of about €3.97 billion.
Solutions beyond your imagination – Coatings by BASF. For more information about the Coatings division of BASF and its products, visit http://www.basf-coatings.com/.
At BASF, we create chemistry for a sustainable future. We combine economic success with environmental protection and social responsibility. The more than 115,000 employees in the BASF Group work on contributing to the success of our customers in nearly all sectors and almost every country in the world. Our portfolio is organized into five segments: Chemicals, Performance Products, Functional Materials & Solutions, Agricultural Solutions and Oil & Gas. BASF generated sales of €64.5 billion in 2017. BASF shares are traded on the stock exchanges in Frankfurt (BAS), London (BFA) and Zurich (BAS). Further information at www.basf.com.