Colors convey emotions and values. They can give a product an exclusive look and influence a consumer’s buying behavior much like a compass that guides them on how they should feel. For this reason, being able to determine the future trends in paint jobs three to six years from now, already ranks as an important objective for experts in the automotive industry who design cars.
Colors are also beginning to play a more important role for Ceran® glass ceramic cooktops that are traditionally black. Manufacturers of household appliances have been giving a lot of thought to how to generate emotions with regard to their products and brands and stand out in the marketplace by offering colors. “We’ve been hearing from our customers in Europe’s household appliance industry and thinking about color for quite some time,” explains Stefan-Marc Schmidt, head of marketing and sales for SCHOTT Home Tech, the world’s market leader with over 70 million glass ceramic cooktops sold.
Decorative colored patterns for glass ceramic cooktops have been around for some time. As a response to the popularity of white kitchen furniture and appliances in the U.S., SCHOTT introduced SCHOTT Ceran® Arcticfire®, a white solid-colored glass ceramic cooktop, in 1999. SCHOTT Ceran® Cream, the creamy white variation is still available.
From flash effects to solid-colored
Black, shiny glass ceramic cooktops have become popular, particularly in Europe. Today, customers and manufacturers are more open to excursions into the world of color. A study commissioned by SCHOTT revealed a range of colors that will most likely become popular with consumers in the years to come. According to the results, subtle esthetics will be setting the trends, rather than opulent color. Customers are usually interested in metallic, elegant or luxurious color shades.
Based on the future trends in both color and finishes, experts at SCHOTT have identified two color families that are particularly well-suited for glass ceramic cooktop panels. “Gray – The Old New” represents the main direction and consists of gray shades ranging from gunpowder to graphite. The other trend is entitled “Twilight Blue”. It has a mineral blue-gray appearance with just a touch of metallic brilliance or a shimmer of silver.
Colorations like these serve multiple purposes. Premium products, such as induction appliances, can be designed so that they can be distinguished more easily from standard products and reach out to specific target audiences. Appliance brands take on a unique and distinctive character based on their color. The colors of cooktop surfaces and ovens can be selected so that they match. Consumers are more likely to remain loyal to the product line, as a result.
These opportunities to achieve a unique appearance have encouraged SCHOTT to develop new colors. As a result, several completely unique capabilities have now hit the market: SCHOTT Ceran® Flash Colors dazzle when they are exposed to light. Some change their colors just like the modern metallic paint on the body of a car. This flash effect is made possible by an innovative pattern printing technique that calls for high purity of color and considerable care during manufacturing, handling and printing. “For the first time ever, metallic color pigments are being put to use in ceramic colors to meet high demands,” explains Dr. Lutz Klippe, who works in SCHOTT Ceran® product management. This collection of patterns for black SCHOTT Ceran® glass ceramic cooktop panels now includes ten different color shades and will soon receive a patent.
Global design trends
SCHOTT Ceran® Granito and SCHOTT Ceran® Midnight Blue also resulted from the company’s own development efforts. These glass ceramic cooktops offer yet another example of expertise in solid-colored glass ceramic cooktops.
The new products for the SCHOTT Ceran® brand are a direct result of the color study and the respective demands in the various regional markets. Europeans clearly favor gray shades that match metallic surfaces well. This is essentially true for North America as well, where pastel colors are also quite popular. The growing markets in Asia are traditionally open to more color and intense shades. For example, the household appliance manufacturer and SCHOTT customer Rinnai in Japan orders SCHOTT Ceran® Midnight Blue. Here, the trend is also moving towards kitchen designs that look European.
“Even with design trends, we are now seeing the effects of globalization. Nevertheless, we will keep working to achieve the colorations our customers are asking for in different ways. After all, differentiation is what we are seeking to offer,” Dr. Klippe adds. For this reason, the black glass ceramic panels will continue to be offered in the future, but together with many other color options.