Materials Science

Clariant ColorForward 2019 Inspires Mold-Texture Specialist

Clariant, a world leader in specialty chemicals, announces the completion of a collaborative project with Pel Plastic srl, an Italian company specialized in mold texturing and surface design. Inspired by the 2019 edition ColorForward, Clariant’s color trend forecasting tool, Pel Plastic decided to experiment with a radically different approach to product design.
A typical design project usually begins with a product concept and then proceeds quickly to drawings and prototype parts, all before selection of color and texture. However, after viewing a presentation about ColorForward 2019, Pel Plastic designers were inspired to ask Clariant to partner with them in taking a different approach.
“We saw that ColorForward is based on research into social trends and how they could influence the way consumers respond to different colors in the near future,” recalls Mirella Sala, key account sales manager for Pel Plastic. “This is something that we have been doing with textures and the idea of looking at textures and color together – so that one can support and help express the other – seemed like a very interesting project.
In consultation with Clariant, the Pel Plastic team began by picking one color from each of the four ColorForward 2019 themes. They created mood boards to help them better understand the potential interaction of theme, color and texture. In the end, the designers selected the Do Not Disturb trend theme and a transparent light green called “focus.”
Do Not Disturb
This trend theme is based on the idea that technology makes it very easy for people to become distracted. Overwhelmed by choice, consumers look for ways to consciously limit options to make decisions easier. For that reason, the color palette for Do Not Disturb – including the ‘focus’ green that Pel Plastic liked — is simple, serene, soft, and minimal.
The Texture
Having settled on their color, the Pel Plastic team began working on the texture that would be applied to the molded plastic. The result is very much in line with the trend theme, enigmatic, somewhat contradictory and distracting, but eventually resolving itself to bulls-eye focal point. The clear polymer – polycarbonate – and the transparent color are rendered translucent, almost opaque, by the texture. The exterior surface of the prototype – a standard shape Pel Plastic uses to evaluate textures – is absolutely smooth, while the texture is created on the inside or backside of the part. This construction creates depth and an almost pearlescent appearance, despite the fact that there are no pearl pigments in the color.
“Through this project, we learned that color and texture together can have a completely different effect than either one alone,” Ms. Sala says. “We will use the results in presentations to customers so that they can also better understand the relationship between plastics, color and texture. We appreciated the collaboration with Clariant very much and we would like to continue as a partner and develop more textures with colors in the future.”
Alessandro Pozzati, ColorWorks industrial designer, sums it up this way: “This is exactly why the ColorForward tool, and Clariant’s global ColorWorks design and technology centers exist. The collaboration with Pel Plastic shows how we can help designers, brand managers and product developers to better understand and appreciate how color – and, in this case, texture too – can move people and even influences their purchasing decisions.”