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Markets & trends

Custom color palettes are key to innovation

Paula Csillag, president of the Associação ProCor do Brasil, says the beauty industry must incorporate local trends to perform at its best.

Ultraviolet, Greenery and Rose Quartz – every year, in December, the Pantone Color Institute announces its color of the year. Chosen by the world’s leading color trends experts, it will inspire and influence the design, fashion and beauty industries for the following 12 months. The process of selecting the next color of the year kicks off with a thorough analysis of consumer behavior and includes putting together color palettes that will set the tone for upcoming seasons.

Paula Csillag, president of the Associação ProCor do Brasil

Paula Csillag, president of the Associação ProCor do Brasil

Color palettes are defined based on social trends, which are carefully examined and researched, taking into account both consumer behaviour and the landscape of different industries. This includes beauty, fashion, interior design, architecture, arts and culture - as well as the local economy,” says Paula Csillag, color consultant, professor, and president of the Associação ProCor do Brasil. “Once the predominant trends have been mapped out, color specialists put their creative thinking hats on, and much like artists, work hard to harmonize colors and create color palettes that appeal to customers.

When working with colors, one of the maxims is that there is no pleasing everyone. “A color suitable for cars is not always the best option for nail polish, for instance. The old-fashioned notion of ‘one-size-fits-all’ has become obsolete,” says Csillag.

She believes Brazilian companies, including those from the cosmetic industry, tend to rely heavily on foreign color palettes that are simply replicated in Brazil without much thought put into it. “This can lead to many problems. If local customs and trends are not taken into account, imported color palettes will prevent companies and products from performing at their best.” Csillag also explains that cultural norms are particularly important, citing the color purple, which “is strongly associated with mourning or death in predominantly catholic countries, such as Brazil.

Having worked for companies including Natura and MQ Hair, Csillag stresses that the beauty industry needs to focus on creating custom color palettes for each Brazilian region, since consumer behavior may vary significantly across the country.

She says there are many different consumer profiles in Brazil, ranging from super conservative to trend-setting innovators, who dictate the trends that will later reach mass markets. “As such, we usually work with staple colors, those that never go out of style; fashion colors, which are trendy for short periods of time; fad colors, usually relevant for one season only; and rogue colors or tasters, that is, brand new colors that serve to ‘whet the appetite’ for upcoming seasons.

The timetable for picking new color palettes varies by industry. Although new color palettes are launched every season, fashion production lines work with color forecasts established two years in advance, clarifies Csillag. “However, this does not apply to cosmetics companies, which must always be on the lookout for new opportunities. For example, when a certain nail polish is worn by an influencer, the mass market will soon follow suit and start wearing that same color,” she says.

There is always room for new colors and effects in the cosmetics industry. Trying to constantly meet consumers’ demands, which are increasingly multiplied as they are constantly exposed to websites, social networks and influencers, is an enormous challenge,” says Agnes Muciacito, pigments manager at IMCB, one of the world’s leading distributors of specialty chemicals. Last year, they acquired Color & Effects – BASF’s pigments division – and subsequently established a partnership with the Pantone Color Institute to develop regional makeup color palettes.

The color palettes for Spring/Summer 2019 are grouped into two collections – ‘Haven’, inspired by the frantic pace of the modern world, and ‘Masterpiece’, which embodies the union between art, nature and science. The partnership’s next color line is expected to be announced at the 2019 in-cosmetics Global show, in Paris.

Renata Martins

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