ALTANA

The Colors of Tomorrow

Colors mirror moods. The more nuances a color has, the more differentiated it is in the eyes of people. As a result, the design of a product can be tailored more precisely to target groups. To achieve subtle nuances, it is not enough to mix light and dark shades.

With coatings and plastics, pigments based on metal or tiny glass flakes produce particularly subtle colors. Warm or cold shades can be created, as well as the properties that make coatings attractive: gloss, glitter, and sparkles. “Our passion is to create these shades,” says Marina Distler. “Because they are what produces the “wow” effect that paints have to elicit.”

Distler works as a laboratory technician in ECKART’s Industrial Coatings - Marketing and Technical Service team. Her tasks include developing color shades based on customers’ exact specifications that are used, for instance, in plastic coatings for consumer electronics devices or household appliances. Just as important as Distler’s work is the Color Marketing Group. It forms the basis of the annual trend color book issued by ECKART.

Trends Geared to Specific Industries

In the international Color Marketing Group, designers and color experts from various branches of industry join forces. Marina Distler is one of them. At the workshops, they collate the insights they have gained and analyze how social and cultural developments affect consumers’ color tastes. The Color Marketing Group uses the results to make forecasts about future trends in the European, Asian, and American markets. But the ECKART team does not only use this data. “We also analyze sources from the fashion and automotive industries, as well as sales trends determined internally, to prepare the information for our customers geared to their specific sector,” explains Distler.

Subsequently, the team defines five series of colors, each with six shades, and develops corresponding pigment recipes. In the process, the team ensures that the recipes are oriented to the different coatings systems. “We have formulations for wet and powder coatings, as well as mixtures used to color plastics,” says Distler. “So we can show customers how pigments can be utilized to realize one and the same color shade in different applications.”

Effect Pigments Enhance Coatings

This service has met with a very positive response. Some customers take ECKART’s suggestions for their coatings exactly as they are, while others use them as inspiration to create their own color creations. “In any case, they get an impression of the variety of our pigments and how we can enhance products,” says the laboratory technician.“

But the question remains: which colors will be in vogue in the years to come? According to Distler, powerful colors like red and green are becoming more important. Green in different shades, including moss green, emerald green, and turquoise, symbolizes people’s longing for harmony, balance, and naturalness. Bright red stands for dynamism, which is reflected among other things by the fact that older generations are remaining fit. Both colors obtain a special shimmering effect in coatings thanks to our metallic, glass, and pearlescent pigments.