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Executives experience a green color outlook for 2008

Packaging evolving along a green eco-pathway is becoming a mainstay of the marketplace. It will have an even greater impact two years from now, the audience at the New Jersey Packaging Executives Club's Package of the Year presentation meeting in November in East Hanover, NJ, was informed.

In disclosing the details of AmpaVision 2008, a global spectrum of packaging colors that are expected to influence marketers today and consumers two years from now, Ampacet (www.ampacet.com) color insight manager Linda Carroll presented a comprehensive palette based on socio-economic, religious and political trends and influences. Ampacet manufactures lines of color and additive masterbatches.

Under the umbrella of packaging delivering a green message, Carroll cited carbon as "today's currency," with earthy, natural, organic shades, with water color and energy as underlying themes.

She also anticipates strong undertones of yellow and brown as interesting colors within this palette, with shades including cool copper, cracked carbon and mineral and gold ingot lacking brassiness showing great potential for use in package planning.

As part of the periodic presentation on directional color palettes based on research of consumer purchasing patterns across various industries, Carroll's choice of micro- and macro trends also draws on her experience with the internationally famed Color Marketing Group (www.colormarketing.org) in determining trends affecting the way consumers perceive packages and products.

Thus, she was able to cite a movement toward "eco-nomics over economics" as an overriding theme as a macro trend. Another she labeled "techfusion," a symbiosis of nature, technology and structural design, with a repurposing of old-world craft with rapid prototyping, where technology becomes the messenger rather than the goal.

Within this context, the dominant colors she predicted include a metabolic blue with silver overtures, steeled grayish silver, liquid twilight gloss with a hint of lavender and a crafted coral coupled with silver, all of these a distinct shift away from the currently popular metallic reds, blues and other whole colors.

A related macro trend she discussed was a way of getting rid of what is excessive in life, itself linked to the minimalist drama of effortless chic. In packaging, she said, this translates into eliminating oversized containers "and excessive use of label real estate."

Effortless chic also speaks of elegance and efficacy, which gets into "the dark side of chic mystique," she said, personified by the street styles of the Anna Sui line of Goth clothing design. It also means a palette of luxury blush colors on a white base, an introspective deep blue/purple blend and "barely there," a whisper of pink and color.

Another macro trend she anticipates is what she described as a societal shift consisting of four components. The first is a religious resurgence here and elsewhere, particularly through evangelism in the U.S. translated into lavenders, blues and other serene shades, backed up by a shifting global power base, grounded in earthy browns. The third is a combination of ethnic diversity and integration, in which groups retain their identity, expressed in a vibrant orange enveloped in red and, finally, what Carroll calls the "quiet riot," a vibrant raspberry base, with a champagne sparkle bubbling under the surface.

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