Clariant ColorForward 2021 palette yearns for human contact, searches for authenticity

The colour experts at Clariant ColorWorks have identified four societal trends that can be expected to influence consumers in the next few years. ColorForward 2021, the 15th edition of the annual Clariant colour forecasting guide for the plastics industry, recognises that genuine human contact is actually becoming a luxury in the digital era, and that people crave authenticity in a world of deep fakes. On a more positive note, technology is being used to create products that connect with people on an emotional level, while collaboration is seen as critical to realising positive change.

“These trends lead to a colour palette for 2021 that exhibits contrast,” reports Judith van Vliet, ColorWorks Senior Designer and leader of the ColorForward team. “On one side, we see colours that speak to what is relatable and still considered authentic, while on the other side, colours mirror today’s drama. Where the 2020 palette was characterized by cooler colours, the 2021 hues are much warmer and deeper. Moreover, this year’s colour directions include many translucent shades, often incorporating special effects or sometimes looking like one thing but feeling like another.”

In ColorForward 2021, as in previous editions, each trend theme is represented by five colours that people are expected to respond to in the coming years. This tool can then be used by plastic product designers and marketing professionals to make more informed colour choices for new
products and packaging. “Where greens ruled 2020,” van Vliet continues “warm oranges and yellows seem to be taking over in 2021. Blues and greens remain important, ranging from deep nightly hues to softer aquatic tones. Brights have an artificial feel and are juxtaposed with enchanting darks. The lilacs from the last edition have developed into deeper versions of themselves, adding mystery and depth to an overall lively range.”

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