BASF have revealed their predictions for the colours of 2018 – something of a self-fulfilling prophecy or else whistling down the wind. By that I mean that the “prediction” could shape preferences, in which case it’s not a prediction but an influence on the market. Alternatively, people will choose their colours regardless and BASF´s prediction will be disproved.
What do they say?
BASF’s collection has a name, “translucid” and behind it is a story about how customers are resisting the opacity of the digital world (which is a lot to ask of a coating). According to BASF this collection shows customers’ preferences which are formed by the way they grapple with
digitisation, data privacy and their position in a world of Instabook, Facegram and Snapped-In. This manifests as a form of nostalgia – for the analogue world of the 70s, apparently. I can see some of the claims being realised already in the increasing occurrence of warm metallics – I am fairly sure Peugeot’s brown metallic shade on the 1007 is identical to the one on the 604 of 1976. And if it’s not the same, it looks the same which is the important part. BMW, Hyundai, Fiat and Kia have been good about these warm shades in recent times.
BASF have three ranges under the “translucid” umbrella. The Asia Pacific market’s going for white, dark red and grey; EMEA will be pining for orange-red, pale gold and a light metallic green that was last in favour around 1995. North America will plump for pearlescent grey-white, mid-grey blue and a bright blue that Ford called Bimini Blue on the 1993 Ford Probe (and also appeared on the Ford Focus Mk2, series 1 for a while).
Absent from this range are very many greens (there are three) and much by way of pure yellow. Only one gold colour nods in the direction of this, the freshest of colours. Deep green and flat yellow are absent plus flat shades like mustard, avocado or Holland blue. BASF’s colour range is certainly in line with the recent automotive shows where yellow and green have not been among the most frequent choices. And that is odd, as I would have thought they’d be noticed. But perhaps designers are shying away from colours which they think will be poorly received?
In counterpoint, PPG have a more varied selection of 64 colours for 2018. The most energetic sub-palette is called “Hyper HD”, two of which are yellow (making up a bigger proportion of the 13 colours). They have two oranges, a paler one and a richer one, a lime metallic such as was popular on the last Mazda 1 and three blues: pale metallic, a vibrant UV blue and a slightly pearlescent lightish navy blue.
[Slide show source.]
Another sub-palette is “IM Perfect”. I like this one. It’s got some subtle shades such as autumn foliage, copper and brass metal. The gold colours are simply luscious: a beige gold, an orange gold and a shade not unlike Citroen´s famous Brun Scarabi. This range is what I would be splashing on Lancias if they still existed to any serious degree. They could also be used to great effect on BMW, Audi and Mercedes mid-sized coupes.
The Knight’s Watch palette is more serene and sombre: ideal for S-classes and 7-series cars. Of note is the bronze metallic, the orange deep red and a dark-reddish brown (S-class coupe?).
In amongst the statistics from PPG, white is revealed to be the most popular coating – 31%. Black nabs 18% and grey or silver making up 28%. Other colours account the rest (blue’s uptake is increasing). That is a deeply boring palette and says a lot about the effects of austerity and uncertainty. People are thinking about resale values. I think that a sure sign of a contented society is vibrancy in the colours they are selecting. We live in troubled times – the hues admit as much.
And those greys and neutrals are popular. Sure enough, Axalta, another automotive coatings supplier has declared “Gallant Grey” to be the colour of 2017. They said “this luxurious colour is enhanced by blue and silver flakes that produces a unique sparkle effect and dark undertones that enrich the finish, adding sophistication”. It also has hints of green and “exemplifies modernity and elegance”. It’s the new silver, they claim.
If only to cheer ourselves up, I hope some of the predictions by BASF and PPG are borne out by customer preferences in the coming years.