The Global Aesthetic Center
Based in the Netherlands, AkzoNobel’s Global Aesthetic Center leads the company’s color trend analysis, color research and design, and art direction. The creative team – led by Creative Director Heleen van Gent – is now in its 26th year and supports 80 markets around the world in empowering consumers to make confident color choices for their homes.
ColourFutures is at the heart of the team’s work. It involves identifying the Color of the Year and its four supporting palettes, transforming global trend analysis into paint colors that will inspire consumers worldwide. The Global Aesthetic Center also creates a suite of visual assets, including stunning images of interiors to show how these colors would look in people’s homes.
As part of our industry-leading color research, a group of independent experts get together with our own color experts in Amsterdam every year. Their task is to forecast the emerging global design trends for the next 12 months. By harnessing this quality of research, the Global Aesthetic Center builds a comprehensive understanding of the world around us. This prepares us for the next step of translating that insight into a picture of what consumers will need from the paint colors in their homes.
Bringing these designers and trend watchers together with our own color experts gives us a unique mix of perspectives from a broad range of disciplines and cultures. This ensures that when we identify the key trends and overarching theme for each year, we’re confident they will have universal relevance and truly capture the mood of the moment.
The next step in the process is for the Global Aesthetic Center to identify a leading paint color – something that will bring the overarching theme to life in consumers’ homes. This is accompanied by a range of complementary color palettes that offer consumers versatility in how they use that particular color. Our internal color experts also develop a library of ColourFutures content to help communicate the latest trends to professional interior designers and architects, as well as passionate color enthusiasts around the world.
The color research
Color design and forecasting is the primary role of the Global Aesthetic Center. To ensure the team remains one step ahead of consumers’ needs, they continuously monitor global social, design and consumer trends as they emerge. By basing their insights in the everyday world, the team provides credible and informed direction for its markets and designs color palettes that are perfectly suited to consumers’ needs.
As part of our industry-leading color research, every year we select 11 independent experts to join us in Amsterdam, where we forecast the emerging global design trends for the next 12 months. The expertise within this collective is extensive, and for 2019 ranged from architecture and biophilic design, to technology and innovation.
The Color of the Year has major significance for the decorative paints market, but the insight that is gathered is also highly relevant to the company’s coatings portfolio. For example, the Specialty Coatings business translates the annual trend research for customers in the consumer electronics and automotive markets. Meanwhile, color stylists at Wood Coatings use the information to offer on-trend color selections for product developers and designers in major markets such as furniture, cabinetry, flooring and building products.
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