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CMF Colour Finish Industry Expertise Material Trend

WE WON GOLD at the GERMAN DESIGN AWARD 2024!

WE WON GOLD at the GERMAN DESIGN AWARD 2024!

Today I am celebrating that our RAL COLOURS Trendbox 2025+ including our RAL COLOUR FEELING 2025+ Trend Report has won the German Design Award Gold in the Excellent Product Design, Material and Surface category. Company/Client: RAL COLOURS, Design: Institute International Trendscouting at HAWK Timo Rieke and Alina Schartner

For the fourth year in a row, Timo Rieke and I were responsible for the research, colour selection and content of the RAL Colour Feeling series. Our mission has always been to inspire colour education for all. Our tools help designers and architects to make well-informed decisions for contemporary colour design with long-term value that is purposeful and inclusive.

It’s a pleasure and honour to work with and for RAL COLOURS.

Thanks to everyone on the project team for RAL COLOUR FEELING 2025+ (alphabetical order): Markus Frentrop, Martin Kern, Meike Kettenuß, Laura Kilian (RAL), Beate Breitenstein, Sabine Hirsch, Melissa Lindemeyer, Timo Rieke, Alina Schartner, Markus Schlegel and Lina Schmidt (IIT).

I’m so proud of our teamwork! How nice to end my business year on such a high!

Read more about our award-winning project here: https://www.german-design-award.com/en/the-winners/gallery/detail/48616-ral-trendbox-2025.html


Categories
Colour Industry Expertise

Colour Insight Dutch Design Week 2023

This is how we should think about the future of colour! Much more than just aesthetics – although aesthetics do have a very valid function as well. Such a wealth of colour innovation coming out of Eindhoven this year. To my delight, there was a high amount and quality of designers developing/working with natural and more sustainable colourants.

Some highlights (clockwise from large picture):

– Textiles, pigments and sunflower waste impregnation. The water-repellent sunflower coating retains the breathability. Designer: Jess Redgrave.

Why is it important?

The use of sunflowers could be a regenerative alternative to cotton. Cotton requires large amounts of water to grow, tends to deplete soils through monocropping, and is often heavily treated with pesticides. In addition, cotton can only be grown in certain parts of the world and often has to be transported over long distances.

– Circular varnish to protect wood made from harmless fungi and linseed oil. The fungi are nourished by the linseed oil and can even repair themselves if damaged. Designers: Frans Van Rooijen and @Michael Sailer

Why is it important?

Wood painted with chemicals often can’t be recycled. The toxic substances often end up in our natural environment. This bio-finish doesn’t harm the planet.

– Pigments derived from algae. You may have seen seaweed being used to dye textiles previously. ‘NORI PIGMENT’ was first shown at Milan Design Week in April this year. I missed it there. Now it was great to see the tile work at Dutch Design Week, which extended the initial research. Designer: Kaori Akiyama of STUDIO BYCOLOR.

Why is it important?

Algae are naturally abundant resources.

– Literally honeyed light to enhance your living space. Designer: Akira Nakagomi

Why is it important?

Using the inherent colour of materials is an important aspect of future-forward colour design. The designer also points out that honey can be used as emergency food because it can be kept at room temperature for a long time. It also has a sterilising effect and is thought to reduce inflammation when applied to wounds. Pretty sweet, eh? (pun intended)

– Using living bacteria as co-designers in block printing. I first saw ‘PRIMORDIAL PIGMENTS’, during Milan Design Week 2023, and when I saw it again, I just had to feature this beautiful project. Designer: Annelise Payne

Why it matters?

Microbial-based colour palettes that work with pigment-producing bacteria instead of conventional dyes certainly need to be explored more.

Bravo to all the mentioned designers!

Categories
Colour Industry Expertise Interior Design Material Trend

Dutch Design Week 2023 General Analysis

#dutchdesignweek is always one of the events that give me hope for people and the planet. Here designers are increasingly offering solutions to major global problems such as the waste pandemic, toxic pollution and social inequality. It is one of the most influential springboards for design graduates and new(er) design studios. This makes it a rich source of innovation. But the input can be overwhelming.

What is shown in Eindhoven is diverse. Design in all its forms is covered; from the ultra-conceptual to the commercially scalable, and from the personal to the systemic. For many, it is difficult to find the information and inspiration that is relevant to them. In my design consultancy work, I filter the insights for my clients (drop me a line if you are interested in this service).

It’s worth noting that Dutch Design Week has a reputation for being very concept-driven. However, #DDW23 was also surprisingly inspiring in a very tangible way. Woven through the indicators of emerging/growing macro and micro trends (tendencies in culture, technology, work, lifestyle, etc.) were many wonderful examples of where colour, material, finish and shape are heading. As my focus as a consultant is on interior design and CMF, I’ll be writing more about this in the coming days. I’ll also share more on key themes.

However, my verdict for this year is that several exhibitors tried too hard to load things up intellectually. This does not make the design more valid or accessible. Frankly, I question whether it’s an efficient design proposal if you have to read the full project description to understand what it’s about. Some have even topped this by expecting a high level of design/trend education from the reader.

In the coming year, I’d like to see more contributions to designing fair supply chains, creating local recycling facilities, and mending and repairing. It would also be great to see many more practical, affordable, robust yet sustainable solutions that make life easier for the millions of disadvantaged people around the world. Let’s face it, too much design innovation is focused on privileged audiences. It’s time to change that.

In conclusion, Dutch Design Week continues to be a leading event for learning more about global issues and design direction. I went there to broaden my horizons and the show made that possible. Soaking up fresh ideas, discovering cutting-edge aesthetics and meeting top creatives was a fantastic experience.

Categories
Colour Industry Expertise Interior Design Material Trend

Milan Design Week Report 2023

My Milan DESIGN Week REPORT 2023 is out! Carefully curated, it is a comprehensive yet compact summary of the key takeaways on colour, material, finish, style, shape, construction, design details, innovations and overarching themes.

I developed my report for brands/creatives who weren’t able to attend MDW themselves or don’t have the resources to distil relevant best practice examples. It features many quality brands, over 100 pages, with a minimum of 3 inspirational images on each page (1 page = 1 theme), in deliberate contrast to the many 200+ page reports that exist.

More time has been spent on selection/analysis to help brands quickly understand what really matters. Additional images are available on request and this report provides a valuable, solid basis for informed decision making.

Email hello(at)alinaschartner.com for your preview and all you need to know about how you can get my report.

Categories
Colour Material

Colour in Context: Ultramarine Blue

Colour of the day: Ultramarine Blue
Simple description: a deep vivid blue

Notes for usage: Ultramarine blue is high energy. Its vibrant, mesmerising glow is so powerful, that it even adds zing to shady spaces. This colour is always a statement. Consider softening it with chalky white for small spaces, to avoid an overwhelming effect. Even little amounts of this colour will draw attention.

For a straight, graphic look try pairing it with crisp white and black. Small accents of Ultramarine next to gentle pinks make the colour seem more approachable. The brave add a colour pop with crimson red or neon orange; however, I would recommend sticking to homoeopathic doses, unless you know exactly what you’re doing.

Made globally recognised by artist Yves Klein, who described the colour as the expression of ultimate freedom, it has never lost its edgy appearance since the 1960s. Historically, ultramarine blues were won from ground Lapislazuli, meaning they were extremely expensive for centuries. Synthetic ultramarines are cheap, which make them popular choices for mixing wall paint or neutralising unwanted yellow tinges from paper to bleached hair.

For surface design, I prefer ultra-matte, dry-looking finishes for these shades of blue, to not take anything away from the depth and intensity of the colour. Glossy ceramics can work well though, particularly when handmade effects are still visible. High-shine surfaces can seem artificial and but also visionary. Admittedly, Ultramarine Blue is not the easiest colour to work with on a large scale, but sometimes that is exactly where the serious excitement starts.

PS: I had shared information about ultramarine blue before, but this colour group continues to grow in imporatance from product to lighting design.

Categories
Colour Interior Design Trend

2022+ Trend: With Pleasure

WITH PLEASURE is an ode to indulge in exquisite hedonism elevating every day. This trend fully embraces maximalism, a premium touch for daily goods and making the most of any situation after prolonged feelings of having missed out.

With stretched budgets due to the corona crises, 2022 is likely to be another year for many not to be able to go on holiday. Instead, interiors and campaigns are reminiscent of plush hotel treatment. For the homebody economy, this is an excellent opportunity to offer more of life´s little luxuries.

Mix bold stripes with ditsy florals and wiggly line-work for cutting edge clashes with vintage-inspired patterns. Powdery red, blue and peach freshen up a base of classic, dark shades. Absolute must-haves? Ramie or lotus silk sleep masks, serving trays and twisted candles.

Image sources clockwise from top left: Hotel Deux Gares 〰️ Liberty London 〰️ Hoste London 〰️ So Yeah Studio via The Branding Collective 〰️ HAY House Amsterdam 〰️ Olivia Morris At Home

Powdery, sophisticated reds such as RAL “Light Tomato” have little in common with the nuances that first come to mind when red is mentioned. Its nonchalant elegance is heart-warming. This colour works best in matte and velvety qualities.

Categories
Colour Interior Design Trend

2022+ Trend: Rewild

REWILD supports a return to more wilderness and holistic well-being. We see the steep resurgence of natural remedies; from beauty brands incorporating foraged botanicals, to booked-out wild-herbal courses. 

Urbanisation and edutainment formats such as David Attenborough´s “A Life on Our Planet” drive this trend. Circular thinking is expected. With growing awareness of the impact of deforestation or the textile industry polluting our ecosystems, a major CMF-shift (colour, material, finish) is about to go mainstream. 

Oat-meal shades replace chemical white. More sustainable fibres such as hemp are left unbleached and undyed. Accent pieces are coloured with plant and mineral-based dyes or pigments derived from industrial waste. Ceramics stay unglazed, wood is untreated or oiled. Mycelium is used from packaging design to the world´s first “living coffin” by Bob Hendrikx.

Image sources clockwise from top left: Lorna de Santos 〰️ Spectral Seed Organics 〰️ Robynn Storgard 〰️ Organoid with Winter & Company 〰️ Alyson Morgan 〰️ Sophie Sellu

Rich browns such as RAL “Golden Brown” are key colours to be paired with oat-meal shades and unbleached, chalky whites. More and more designers turn to plant and mineral-based dyes or pigments derived from industrial waste. Mix darker wood with paler varieties for a contemporary look.

Categories
Colour Interior Design Trend

2022+ Trend: Dreamscape

DREAMSCAPE blurs the borders between earthly and extraterrestrial realms. Amid the new space-age design is influenced by notions of populating Mars. Raw surfaces, porous textures and bold orbital shapes are key for product direction.

The colour palette takes inspiration from the red planets matt nuances ranging from mud yellow to deep mineral reds. Light mauve and peach add softness whilst two lilacs – one on the blueish one on the reddish spectrum – contrast the hazy glow.

Global pressures – from the exploitation of our world´s resources to the corona crisis – have accelerated escapist tendencies. Millions dream of a life beyond the mundane. Expect to see a rising demand for virtual/extended reality experiences as well as adaptogens and nootropics for relaxing at home.

Image sources clockwise from top left: DREAMSCAPE Michell Lott photo by Andre Klotz 〰️ MAM Originals 〰️ Studio Furthermore 〰️ Studio Proba for Concrete Collaborative 〰️ Bodegón Cabinet 〰️ Kin Euphorics

Light purples have been building momentum for a few seasons. “Ice Mauve” adds a fresh touch combined with warm, earthy shades.

Categories
Colour Interior Design Material Trend

Behind the Scenes for Spring Summer 2021

© Trend Bible and snapshots from when I creatively directed Trend Bible´s Home + Interiors Lifestyle trend books

Feeling ready for Spring Summer 2021? Baked and faded tones are reminiscent of the warmth of sun-soaked days spent in laid-back retreats in Southern Provence.

‘La Belle Vie’ is one of the trend stories I developed with my team at Trend Bible in early 2019. It´s lovely seeing what we predicted to gain importance on the high street now. The palette I designed for this modern rustic look is still one of my favourites with its nonchalantly relaxed charm.

When I selected the nuances I made sure they work in various lighting conditions – not just in regions naturally gifted with more sunshine. The palette certainly still cheers me up and I love how versatile it is. You can easily combine any of the shades with each other.

#colourdesignthinking

Categories
Colour Industry Expertise Trend

Visions for Love 2021+

Let´s make celebrating love fully inclusive; not just on Valentine´s Day but all year round.

Did you know that the name is derived from Latin ‘valentia’ meaning strength or capacity?

14 February is often disliked by singles, people in unfulfilling relationships and happy couples not conforming to stereotypical norms alike.

In recent years we have seen the rise of #galentines celebrations – female friends gifting one another to express their non-romantic love. It´s a step moving forwards.

But there is still untapped potential for the gift and greetings industry to offer options outside of heteronormative clichés. We also have to do more than rainbow prints if we mean equality for the LGBTQ+ community.

#loveislove

‘MON AMOUR’ inspires us to think outside the box of gender assigned designs. This mood board gives romantic love between men a voice. However, the imagery is chosen to be welcoming to all; men, women, non-binary people with all their sexual preferences. Conceptions of female and male colours are challenged. Mauve tones, deep blues and reds ooze sophistication, whilst a pop of bold red amplifies the contemporary edge of this dreamy story.

‘YOU ROCK MY LIFE’ shouts out loud for love in various forms – from passionate and sexy to amicably asexual. The mood board opens us to the idea of gifting loved ones regardless if we are in a romantic relationship or not. Messaging is fun and cheeky. Gentle pinks – playing with warm and cool undertones – serve as background colours for clashing reds. Soft yellow adds an element of surprise in this vastly monochromatic colour scheme.

Have you noticed, that some of the nuances also feature in other trend stories I have created for 2021+? Using overarching colours ensures different collections work with each other. This approach is more sustainable, as it´s easy to integrate stock that did not sell the following season/year. If your brand values seasonless design then you will notice the benefits of smart colour combinations even more.

Send an e-mail to hello@alinaschartner.com to talk about how I can inspire your brand on design and colour direction or finding the right narrative tone.

Image sources clockwise from top left: MON AMOUR Hotel Deux Gares designed by Luke Edward Hall 〰️ Jil Koehn 〰️ Hotel Il Palazzo Experimental 〰️ Lex Pott 〰️ Théo Tourne 〰️ Lottie Hall Stuio YOU ROCK MY LIFE Guía oca 〰️ Consches 〰️ Janine (Cortez) Ker 〰️ Kissmiklos 〰️ &k amsterdam 〰️ Fluide Beauty