If colour is a wave from a physics point of view, it is also an element heavy with symbolism, a...
Ever since humankind appeared, it has never stopped searching for ways of communicating. Even before doing so orally or in writing, it used symbols. Among them, drawing, then simple graphics, and, ultimayely, colour.
Within the different systems of signs and symbols that are the basis for communication among individuals (or a community of individuals), colour plays an important role in the development of relationships between human beings.
Because it is itself a an essential part of our world, because all forms of life use it, it is universal. Life depends on the variations in colour: some animals use it to hide by blending into the background to escape predators, while others use it to intimidate them. Some use it to be seductive, others to repel.
The same is true for us humans: colour influences us and, consciously or not, guides our reactions and needs. There is the language of words, body language and that of colour. We use it personnally for our appearance and collectively to send messages.
From the choice of our clothing to well defined messages in the public sector, coulour suggests and imposes what we should do.
In many areas such as advertising or marketing, pictograms and logos, we make sense of concepts that are not expressed in words.
In fact, if we look at the Industrial Design area, whatever the sector may be, colour becomes a major factor: it is the primary language, which is understood by all and perceived directly even before the form and handle of a manufactured product.
It plays a substantial role and has a direct or indirect impact on sales because it has, over all, the power to provoke a response, which leads to liking a product or not.
It gives it substance, whatever the sector of activity may be: automobile, furniture, leather goods, telephone, distribution, etc.
Colour is not only limited to highlighting novelties, but it also allows, for example, to (re)enhance basics and improve their sales. According to studies in “The Psychology of Colour” – Skilled – May 2017, it only takes 90 seconds to to make up one’s mind about a product, and this is due, in 62% to 90% of the cases, to its colour. Furthermore, if the latter triggers a purchase 60% of the time, for 84.7% of consumers, it is the main element that determines it. For example, 2/3 of consumers do not choose an appliance if it is not in the right colour…
Over and above the study on ranges and collections, colour is also a true lever for diffenciating among brands: their “DNA” colour is what contributes to their relevancy. Easy to use in the symbolism of corporate identities, it is the primary link between style, marketing and communication: branding, logos, merchandising, advertising, etc.
A major asset of materials and finishing, the integration of colour upstream in any Design process allows to anticipate the needs of consumers worldwide. Colour is thus a strategic objective, but how can one be sure that the colours of products will meet the customers’ expectations? How can materials and finishing give new life to basic colours? How can colour ranges be harmonised, used to renew timeless products or develop new ranges?
Looking at colour from the point of view of creative and strategic anticipation is a way of insuring a renewal in Design at an international level. By exploring all possible nuances to ultimately keep just a few, desgners and marketers create a confrontation between style intuition and sociological anticipation to elaborate tomorrow’s colours. From these cross-refrenced searches, the choices that make up the trends that create new markets are born.
Every month, Cotting proposes to develop its analyses based on this line of thought.
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