The need to stay authentic in a world where technology continues to blur the lines between reality and artificiality is the driving force behind the BASF’s 2018-19 Automotive Color Trends theme – “Keep it Real.”
“As innovations such as artificial intelligence, autonomous driving and robotic industrialization take hold, the return to the human element – people’s needs and emotions – becomes increasingly important. The designers at BASF’s Coatings division translated these observations into a collection of 65 colors for automotive surfaces.
Dark colors, blue hues and complex effects represent the omnipresence of technology
Advancements in digitalization make technology become less visible and more intertwined with reality. Augmented reality applications and smart gadgets that simplify everyday life merge the real with the digital world. People seem to spend more time on online platforms, striving for perfection on social media, than in the real world. This omnipresence of technology is reflected in the Automotive Color Trends. Shades of gray and blue are the focal point of the collection. Achromatic colors are combined with complex effects that add colorful and natural accents and represent the merging of reality and the virtual world. Blue hues – mirroring the color of screens and digital light – appear as strong saturated colors. Natural textures and color effects symbolize the search for human qualities in a virtual world.
Shifting functions – new mobility concepts will influence color choices
Car sharing concepts, ride hailing services and autonomous driving shift a car’s function from a personally-owned object to a more public mode of transportation. For cars that are designed for sharing, color pallets with a universal appeal will play a significant role. The trend collection shows how elaborate textures and intricate effects can make each color truly unique.
In addition, BASF addresses future mobility with the development of functional colors. Select colors of the collection feature a coatings system that mitigates heat buildup on the vehicle surface. Further innovations include colors with state-of-the-art functionality, increasing reflectivity for enhanced LiDAR detectability, without compromising their aesthetic appeal.
North America – Expanding color horizons
The dismantling of public heroes make room for new idols. Flaws are accepted as part of being human and diversity is celebrated. A new enthusiasm for science and especially space travel draws attention to far away worlds. The connection of the real and virtual world as well as the relationship of earth and space is captured in the BASF’s key color, Atomium Sky, predicted to influence 2022 vehicle models in North America. This is the second consecutive year that BASF selected a blue as its key color, demonstrating its growing prominence in this region. Atomium Sky is a deeply saturated blue with a medium coarseness that transitions to a softer, semi-opaque hue, exuding playfulness while demonstrating futuristic and forward-thinking.
“This is one of the most diverse color collections BASF has ever introduced,” said Paul Czornij, head of design, BASF North America Coatings, Color and Design. “There’s a juxtaposition between achromatic and strong colors. Grays and pastels reflect the urban look with essential, neutral spaces, whereas bright, chromatic colors that are optimistic, luxurious and playful point to advances in technology.”
The diversity is driven by economic and purchasing trends, and the evolving mobility landscape. Highlights of the North America colors include:
- Metal’s Mettle: a medium to dark grey with a coarseness and a dynamic sparkle demonstrates the cool rawness and minimalism of urbanism.
- Centripetal Blue: a blue-black color with a medium coarse sparkle enhances detectability and performance for autonomous vehicles.
- Kleur: a bright, vibrant red inspires a feeling of connectedness with a high saturation that makes it more visible, an important characteristic for self-driving vehicles.
“Self-driving technology was a crucial component of this year’s conversation, both in terms of the psychology of public perception and acceptance of future mobility, and the functionality of the coating,” said Czornij. “Some of the colors include our innovative, industry-leading pigmentation to increase reflectivity for LiDAR equipment, which is one of the ways self-driving cars can detect objects in their surroundings.”