We just wrapped up another successful Powder Coating Summit, in cooperation with the Powder Coating Research Group. I particularly enjoyed our keynote speaker, Montaha Hidefi, CMG, Color Landing Studio, who discussed color, and whether the powder coatings industry is riding or orbiting the trends. Hidefi noted that color trends are the manifestation of society development, our identities, how we interact with each other, and how we deal with innovation and technology. They measure the pulse of our social and generational evolution. Her main message was that the powder coatings industry must start considering marketing and sales strategies with an understanding of color forecasting and color trends, and begin thinking beyond the traditionally used blacks, whites and grays.

Hidefi explained that we live within dynamic boundaries, where big brands, social media and color forecasters influence the use of color. With the number of baby boomers exiting the workforce at a rate of 10,000 per day in the U.S. alone, the powder coatings industry is bound to experience changes in the traditionally specified neutral colors. She noted that new, incoming generations, such as Gen Y and Z, will influence product design and color choices. And we must not forget Generation Alpha (ages 1-9), which will reach 2 billion people worldwide by 2030. What changes will they demand and what colors will they introduce to the industry? As the powder coatings industry evolves with new technology and application areas, will it be ready to meet these color demands?

Hidefi demonstrated the journey of a color from “forecast” to “trend,” as she showed how “rose gold” transformed into “millennial pink”, a pop cultural phenomenon that she noted is the most popular color of the “twenty teens”. Before it was dubbed “millennial pink”, rose gold was first seen in the jewelry industry in 2012. Later, the introduction of the iPhone 6 in rose gold influenced the adoption of the color by major industries, all genders and all ages. Millennials continued to focus on pink almost as a sort of psychological protest against the many world events of 2015 and 2016 that they found depressing, such as the Paris terrorist attacks, the passing of many celebrities, Brexit and the U.S. elections.

I found it very interesting to see how macro, consumer and industry trends are constantly converging, overlapping and impacting each other….and influencing and driving color forecasting. Hopefully the powder coatings industry can more fully embrace the trends and be ready for the color demands of the future.