Eco craze triggers natural tone trend for automotive colours

Paul Boughton

Coatings' designers introduce the trends for the cars on Europe's roads of tomorrow. Marco Benen reports.

n search of automotive colour trends of the future, designers are receiving a whole range of signals this year, including ecology, a shift in thinking, responsibility, urbanity, sustainability and new technology. Eva Höfli, BASF Coatings colour designer, said: "When we look at the broadcast frequency of current and future-related topics, we can see that things are being sent nonstop."

This is why the name of the 2010-2011 European trend collection is 'Rauschen' (German for 'signal noise' or whoosh). While many phenomena, such as the eco craze, have made their mark on colour trends for several years, ever smaller and more subtle tendencies are making their way in. For example, in the current BASF collection, these trends are being expressed via a larger palette of solid colours.

"The latest car shows in particular have shown that there is no getting around the topic of electromobility," said designer Mark Gutjahr. These new vehicles utilise a changed language of form and material and thus also require a new colour palette." Expanding the palette to include solid colours is particularly well-suited in this case.

'Colours of the masses', such as black, silver and grey, have also been affected by the noise in the world of colours. The spectrum of tints, effects and nuances is growing from year to year. Fusions of cool, technical silver with warm pastel elements help reach novel color ranges. Höfli said: "Our 2010-2011 collection redefines what is known and still has a number of surprises in store."

For the most part, the BASF colour designers identify four significant trends, from which they filter the respective colour codes.

- Defragmented Apparition. Ecology and technology fuse to form this trend world in which warm and cold colors dominate. Environmental awareness has gained in influence. It is important not only to utilise ecological resources, but also to establish the effects their use has from an economic and social point of view. The search for new materials has given rise to intersections of technology and design, from which a trend world with high standards for design and technology has been created. In this trend world, efficiency meets individuality and performance meets personality. Defragmentation brings out new surfaces that seem impenetrable and dense.

A selection of warm and rather light colours with fine to very fine effects combined with cool silver tones and blue hues make up the main colour directions. In addition, the 'new neutrals' have emerged here - cool, greyish beige and brown tones, along with the further development of white with a higher percentage of grey. Solid colors as well as exquisite effects are on equal footing in this world. Pastel colours, both with a high percentage of white as well as significantly chromatic, can be found along with finely tuned natural tones of brown and blue. These tones are the harbingers of an intelligently designed mobility of the future.

- Clearly Repeated. Today, innovation is essential. When it comes to mobility, it is also imperative to focus on making intelligent use of resources and bridging distances efficiently. Small cars and electric cars will vitalise the cityscape. Thus, there is no room for special effects in this trend world. The colours have to work everywhere and at all times. From this, the new 'bold solids' have developed, which will characterise the narrow roads of the future. Aside from the well-known, urban colour context of greys and silvers, these colours represent the high functionality of a 'here-and-now' mentality that has nothing to hide.

Everything is solid. The palette ranges from a strong grey-blue to powerful red tones and vibrant yellow and green. These primary colours are complemented by greyish beige and skin tones. Surfaces in dense urban structures are both high gloss and mat.

- Discrete Dubbing. Contrasts in this trend world set the tone; they redefine spaces, change perspectives dramatically and play with surprising effects and distorted proportions. This is all about the carefully calculated magic of dark and metallic tones. The depth of the colour, the radiance of effects and the viscosity of the liquid effect all make for particularly effective OEM paints.

The boundaries of popular colours such as black, blue and silver are redefined through extreme effects such as clear colour travel and colourful inclusions.

In addition, superfine silvers with a mat clearcoat create nearly haptic impressions.

- Harmonious Irregularities. Along with all the changes of the era of ecology, the adventure of the future, doubts, questions and an undefined fear of the unpredictability of everything new, humans need normality. We have to define this new normality: Balanced colour depths and well-dosed effects ensure that this trend world is in a safe state.

These colour codes are brown and blue tones that are not bound to tradition and nevertheless tie in with the familiar. A collection of earthen surfaces with rich colour depths, but also greyish nuances with a highlight of chromatic travel form the harmonious foundation of balanced normality.

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Marco Benen is with BASF Coatings, Muenster, Germany.

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