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A competitive edge with colours

25.10.2011 13:16

Colours generate a positive sense of the quality of a product. People often go for the one that pleases the eye when choosing between products with the same technical properties. Despite this, industrial production does not yet fully exploit the opportunities provided by shapes and colours for improving products’ competitiveness.

Standing out from the crowd in today’s global markets keeps getting harder. It is not enough for products to be manufactured in a cost-effective manner and function correctly in even the most demanding conditions. You have to stand out from the competing products. The most crucial aspect is what’s visible on the outside – i.e., the surface, colour, and shape of the product.

‘The significance of colour design and colour marketing in the manufacture of industrial products is increasing. Colours make products unique and help them stand out, which, in turn, makes people more willing to pay a higher price for them,’ says Sales Director Petri Järvinen, who is responsible for industrial Coatings in Tikkurila Finland.

Tikkurila provides training for designers, including industrial designers, and architects, as well as its own retailers, on a regular basis. The training is aimed at helping various stakeholders make use of Tikkurila’s paint products in the best way possible.

Beach Ball
The multicoloured steel beach ball designed by Finnish sculptor Pekka Jylhä and manufactured by the Finnish company Halikko Works Oy has delighted visitors to the Salo Sports Park since spring 2007. Photo: Heidi Hirvelä
‘The training for designers familiarises them with the characteristics of the products as well as choosing between various shades. Using the right surface materials protects the products while ensuring that the coatings perform properly in the conditions they are designed for. Colour choices may help increase visibility and attention value. Colours also highlight the product’s shape and structure.’

Järvinen says that many companies use their brand’s colours in their products. This strengthens their corporate identity and creates a sense of unity.

‘Not everyone settles for the manufacture’s basic colours when ordering machinery or equipment. Instead, they are willing to pay a higher price for a product that is painted in the colour of their choice, such as their own brand colour. Perhaps manufacturers should encourage their clients to do so.’

Tikkurila offers its product selection in a range of RAL EFFECT colours. This colour collection includes a wide range of modern and traditional shades, as well as metallic shades.

‘The RAL EFFECT collection is so complete that our clients are able to choose exactly the shades of colour for their products that best differentiate them from the competing ones,’ says Järvinen.


The colour designer adds the finishing touches


Public spaces and buildings can be made to stand out more through professional colour design.

‘It is still rather common these days for a single shade to be used for one-piece structures. However, combining various shades would bring out the shape of the structure in a whole new way. Companies should exploit colour designers’ expertise in the use of colour,’ says Järvinen.

He continues: ‘Designers, in turn, can make their work more unique through colour. It then stands out from the competition, and the designer gets recognition and new job opportunities.’ 

Colours also make spaces feel more comfortable and inviting, which is evident in restaurants and retail premises in particular.

Järvinen shares an extreme example of a bike shop in Northern Ireland that was turned into a work of art through the choice of shapes and colours: ‘People started to visit the store merely for its appearance. However, once enough people came, sales picked up also, and in no time, many times the amount that had been invested in the store’s surface treatment had flowed in.’

RAL EFFECT colour cards- A new direction for industrial colours


RAL colourcardThe RAL CLASSIC colour collection of the German RAL Institute has for some time now been the best-known colour standard in industrial use. It includes 213 shades. In 2007, the institute introduced a new colour collection, RAL EFFECT.

‘The reasons behind the creation of the contemporary RAL EFFECT colour collection were clients’ demands for a more extensive selection of colours and the industry’s need to stand out in the markets. In addition, legislation has been amended through tightening of regulations on the use of pigments that are hazardous to the health in paints,’ says Petri Järvinen.

The manufacture of RAL EFFECT paints uses water-borne paint technology. The paints’ pigments are those most commonly used in the paint industry today. This has the practical advantage of ensuring that the shades used in the colour collection and paints match. At the same time, it helps address metamerism – the perception of different colours as light conditions change.

RAL EFFECT comprises 490 shades of colour, of which 70 are metallic shades. All metallic shades can be easily and harmoniously combined with the other, more natural shades in the colour collection.

Bicycle shop panorama
A bike shop in Galway, Ireland. The floors have been treated with Tikkurila’s Temafloor products. The visual feel was created by artist Ciaran Dunlevy, who specialises in 3D effects. Photo: Ciaran Dunlevy


Metallic paints for trendy surfaces


Metallic paints liven up products’ surfaces and highlight their shapes. The shine of the surfaces may be emphasised with lighting.

‘When the light hits a product, the tiny metallic particles in the coating reflect the light back. This creates an image of the surface’s uniqueness and high quality,’ describes Tikkurila Finland’s Application Engineer Mårten Juslin.

Metallic paints are suitable for wood- and metal-industry products. Tikkurila has developed a  metallic base paint for concrete floors. By tinting a base paint a more vibrant floor surface can be created.

‘Floor paints with metallic shine allow designers and architects to brainstorm and realise unique floor surfaces for various sites, from stores and day-care centres to theatres and corporate event spaces,’ says Juslin.

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