In September, PCI’s editors attended our first meeting as members of the Detroit Colour Council (DCC), which was held at the Detroit Institute of Arts museum. Founded in 1955, the DCC promotes communication and education around color and design quality standards. Members include students, engineers, designers, sales people, chemists and lab technicians across industries whose responsibility it is to ensure marketplace success for their color decisions. As a Detroit-based organization, professionals in the automotive industry, and its supplier base, make up a large part of its membership, however I was happy to meet with an interior designer and a professor from the local College for Creative Studies as well.

One of the meeting’s featured speakers was Nancy Lockhart, global product manager, Color, at Axalta Coating Systems. I have worked with Nancy for many years, and am happy to have her on PCI’s Editorial Advisory Board. She discussed global color trends and Axalta’s new automotive colors. Her presentation, titled, The Nature of Color, focused on four new color palettes that the company developed for the automotive industry in response to these trends.

Global events and trends always inspire color popularity, and this year is no different. The first palette in Axalta’s new color line is titled “Down to Earth,” and revolves around the megatrend of sustainability. Harmony, awareness, and responsibility are important emotions reflected in this palette’s colors. A second grouping, titled “Dive in Empathy,” features colors that reflect the change that has resulted from the global pandemic, including a greater sense of community, humanity, and emotion. The palette “Ablaze in Passion” was inspired by current events surrounding diversity, tolerance and inclusion, as well as creativity and innovation. The fourth palette is titled “Set in Stone,” and offers colors that bring us serenity and a sense of lifestyle, family and tradition. Minimalism and simplicity are coming back, however they still need to feel luxurious, and the colors in this palette reflect this.

You can view the colors in these four palettes in the slide show above.

In addition to introducing these automotive colors, Lockhart also discussed global automotive color popularity trends, which can be seen in the slideshow below. Some things that she noted include:

  • A rise in popularity in solid colors;
  • An increase in pastels;
  • A demand for more hue-shifting colors, however with more subtle visibility than in the past;
  • Silver is declining in popularity, but colors that incorporate or blend with silver are popular;
  • A resurgence of matte finishes, especially on smaller parts.

 I look forward to attending future DCC meetings and learning more about the world of color!