Color trendsetter ecology
Münster/Tokyo/Detroit. The debate on climate protection and heightened environmental awareness is impacting color trends for cars. “The worlds of color reflect a sustainable symbiosis of nature and technology,” declared BASF Coatings color designers Michaela Finkenzeller and Mark Gutjahr (Europe), Chiharu Matsuhara (Asia/Pacific), and Sandra Mathia (North America) at the presentation of the 2008 color trend forecast for the automotive industry. The new palette of colors, inspired by ecological developments, ranges from new blacks, the trend color white in its multifaceted variations, rich blues and greens, all the way to pastel colors. And the new silver is nothing like the silver of yesterday, which for years was the dominant color for cars all over the globe. Its frosty and cool or highly reflective surfaces (Liquid Metal), as well as its ethereally tinted nuances, are absolutely inspiring.
“Ecology has become the trendsetter of the future, and in a number of areas has brought about a complete shift in thinking. Whether it's buying habits, research, or driving, sustainability is the name of the game,” said Finkenzeller and Gutjahr, who base their assessment of current trends on their observations of society. They added that the triangle of tensions involving individualism, ecology, and technological progress is leading to new worlds of color that exploit their potential down to the last nuance.
The new worlds of color at a glance
Silver, white, and blues and greens – A color palette inspired by ecology
Silver is seeing huge changes. The sheen of the up-and-coming eco-efficient technologies is nothing like the technical silver of yesterday. Here, the interplay of physical states unfolds, challenging the senses. The colors range from ethereal tinted silver nuances, in some cases with frosty and cool surfaces, to highly reflective liquid-metal effects. These colors visualize new technologies of the future that we can only begin to dream of at the moment.
Of course, when it comes to seamless functionality and maximum efficiency, the trend color white in its multifaceted variations is indispensable. This is where technology and the aesthetics of purity and perfection become one.
Ideas of purity and clarity, together with associations of crystal clear water and fresh, pristine air, are the inspiration for the healthy and rich colors of blues and greens. “These are the original colors they sing about in ballads. They tell of an ideal world and the harmony between man and nature,” Finkenzeller and Gutjahr explained.
Black – Fear and fascination
When it comes to the future, fear of the unknown is often lurking in the background. The extent to which this can be expressed is demonstrated by the new color palette that stretches from fear to fascination. The need for protection is at the very core of the dark metallic colors. Cool yet mystically gleaming surfaces command awe and respect. These new blacks in deep graduated shades, with subtle effects, offer extraordinary emotionality at outer limit of the color spectrum.
Sheer pleasure with colors – New effects
In contrast to black, a countertrend is sending the message “Colors should be fun.” New effects, aluminum flakes, and extreme sparkles seem to need no more than a smidgeon of light to unfold their full radiance. The flakes and pigments practically set off fireworks on the surface.
Color oasis with a feel-good factor – Pastel colors
Seductive softness makes these light colors, which have a high percentage of white, irresistible. Linked to all aspects of physicality, haptics, and wellness, these colors call up a sensation of luxury. They’re colors for the senses!
White, specifically pearl white, is extremely popular in the Asia/Pacific region. In the Asian culture, white stands for purity and innocence. In addition to this traditional image, white evokes luxury and has become popular as a classic color. Furthermore, in recent years white has taken on a nearly futuristic image and stands for progressive technologies, and evokes environmental friendliness and cleanliness. In Japanese market, which has a long history of white pearl, floating white pearl with nuance and romantic interference will emerge. This color symbolizes the mixture of our expectations and anxiety for the future.
Evolved black, silver and grey
There will be an evolution in black, silver and grey. This everlasting color area in automotive colors will be reborn by the new technologies. The variation will be slightly brighter shades or muted, iridescent and silky effects.
Surface effects are gaining in importance. “Three-dimensional” effects are in demand. Colors like Liquid Metal, with major iridescent effects, deep and especially bright colors, and special, futuristic surfaces such as magical semi-transparent surfaces will be commanding attention.
White is simple. White is clean. White is changing. New white concepts show mat finishes and tri-coat applications with slight hue shifts, which bring forth a yellow-gold influence.
Silver evokes the sparkle and glitter of Hollywood. Adding large, coarse flakes to extreme liquid silver evokes a technical and futuristic realm. New grays will show added hints of cool color in the form of steel blues, fashion pinks, and deep purples.
Black is evolving with new effects. Adding flakes to a basecoat changes everything, bringing forth dark rich jewel tones of deep cherry red and midnight blue. Midnight blue is expected to peak for model years 2009 - 2010.
Red is still hot. New reds have hues ranging from yellow to blue and from sport to luxury. A resurgence of tinted clears paired with red is expected for future model years.
The color blue stands for nature and is considered to be a soothing element. Blue is safe, serene, and spiritual. Blue continues to ascend in popularity in all hues and depths. Some of the most popular blues for 2008 include ice blues, spa blues, and navy blues.
In the automotive color world, green plays only a minor role. However, the future of green should not be underestimated. Green speaks of life and nature. Green evokes the environment and sustainability. Today’s green has staying power by reinventing itself. And when paired with blue to create the effect of a stormy sea, green may be unstoppable.
The percentage of neutral colors is likely to increase in the next few years. Warm, earth-based neutrals with hue movement will also increase in popularity as they are influenced by the environmental movement and Hollywood trends. They reflect the matte gold of fashion and jewelry. Richer mahogany colors are influenced by dark wood furnishings. The warmest of earth-toned neutrals range from vibrant orange to smooth copper and brilliant bronze.
About BASF Coatings
BASF Coatings, the Coatings Division of the BASF Group, develops, produces and markets a high-quality range of innovative automotive OEM coatings, automotive refinishes and industrial coatings as well as decorative paints. BASF has significant market positions in the Coatings sector in Europe, North America, South America and the Asia/Pacific region. In 2006 BASF Coatings achieved global sales of about 2.3 billion euros. The internet address of BASF Coatings is www.basf-coatings.com