How to Create Impactful Plastic Aesthetics for New Products

ColorForward™ Color and Effect Trends

Colorful chip samples

Color and visual appearance are crucial factors that influence a consumer’s decision when buying products. They can evoke a response that would either lead them to purchase or ignore a product. These responses are often shaped by the societal and cultural environment of the time. For example, a yearning for comfort could lead to a focus on warm colors while a desire for extravagance could result in a focus on dramatic effects. However, even when there is a clear trend, it is possible to find aesthetics that stand out from the rest because of the complex nature of human beings. If a brand owner or designer is looking into colors for a new product launch, ColorForward™, an annual color and effect trend forecast for the plastics industry, can help by providing insights into future color trends and translating them into plastic solutions. This article will explore what ColorFoward is and how it can be successfully implemented in the plastics industry.  

What is ColorForward?

ColorForward is a service offered by Avient’s ColorWorks™ Design and Technology centers. It is an annual trend forecasting tool that focuses on the color and effects of plastics used in packaging, consumer products, automotive applications, and synthetic fibers. By following a series of steps, it provides designers and brand marketers with a range of color concepts that are expected to be trending in the upcoming year. As a result, this information can help them make informed decisions about the visual appearance of their future products.  

The first step in the ColorForward process is to conduct extensive research on the societal trends that are expected to be prominent worldwide and their impact on consumers’ aesthetic preferences. Then, Avient experts translate these trends into a palette of color concepts. Each color concept is a combination of color, special effects (if used), and polymers that are carefully selected on-site at one of Avient’s ColorWorks Design and Technology Centers. Next, the ColorForward team collaborates to determine which colors and effects best represent the trend stories and the responses they evoke, using the extensive ColorWorks color library and their individual experiences. Finally, specific textures and shapes are rendered onto plastic and fiber illustrations to further stimulate inspiration and imagination.  

The ColorForward forecasting guide is typically issued 13 months before the start of the effective year. This provides ample time for brand owners and designers to create, develop, and introduce their products when the trends and their influences are expected to be prominent.

ColorForward 2025

ColorForward™ 2025 was issued in December 2023, providing ample time for brand owners and designers to create, develop, and introduce their products. 

How can I use ColorForward?

In today’s fast-paced world, where deadlines are often looming, it can be tempting to quickly browse through color illustrations and simply pick your favorite color concepts. However, ColorForward encourages a more thoughtful approach. This can be best achieved by attending a live presentation by one of Avient’s CMF experts, who will guide brand owners and designers through the different societal trends and color concepts. The goal of this deep dive is to spark ideas that can be further explored with the ColorWorks team. For example, they can illustrate how color concepts can be transferred to other plastics (resins) while keeping polymer properties in mind. They can also add special effects to other colors, adapt glossy colors to matte textures, and vice versa. The ColorWorks team can adapt any color concepts or ideas that arise from ColorForward to CMF requirements, or even create entirely new ones inspired by the ColorForward presentation.  

The goal of a ColorForward presentation is to inspire creativity, while informing brand owners and designers of upcoming trends that can help develop impactful aesthetics for next-gen product launches.

Pink color sample card

Color concepts, such as speckles, for example, can be adapted to fit customers’ requirements for different colors, materials, and finishes. 


You can learn more about ColorWorks™ and ColorForward™ here.