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How To Create The ‘Wow’ Factor

David Brailsford on developing colour palettes

INNOVATIONS in technology allow us to develop flooring products that perform at the very highest levels, but bring many other benefits too. For instance, as flooring becomes more technically advanced, there are more options aesthetically, allowing customers to create beautiful spaces with no compromise on performance or function.
With clients, specifiers and suppliers all having a duty of care to avoid foreseeable risks in the workplace, safety flooring is increasingly moving front of house, so style is more important than ever.
Creating colour palettes for new products can be a complex process. Colour consultants play an important role, bringing extensive knowledge of external and future trends across all aspects of design and advising on the ‘fashion-forward’ progressions of years to come. If blue is going to be the big thing in 2017, we need to know about it now.
We also see variations in taste across different countries. Our Mediterranean customers favour bright, bold colours; in Scandinavia cool pastels are popular. This echoes how natural daylight impacts colour preferences and reflects different personalities and cultures. Believe it or not, the name of each colour can have an effect on its popularity too – installers love calling to order ‘Juicy Lucy’!
In the same way that haute couture clothes are adapted for mainstream fashion, a good dose of real life experience helps us to refine our palettes. We involve a wide range of customers in our product development.
Architects and interior designers help us ensure our ranges have the ‘wow factor’ needed for areas where looks matter most; end users emphasise the practicality needed and industry specialists bring expert knowledge of how aesthetics must combine with function.
Healthcare is one sector where this is particularly important. Designers face a challenge to create stylish, comfortable and homely environments that also meet stringent safety requirements.
Then add to that the need for inclusive design – our ageing population, the increase in the number of people with dementia.
That means avoiding sparkle in flooring, ensuring good contrast between different surfaces and the items in each room, avoiding certain patterns and effects.
Our job as manufacturer is to ensure our ranges include products that allow designers in turn to do their job well, so we need to make sure we’ve covered all the bases when it comes to product choice.
Contractors’ knowledge and experience are another vital source of information when it comes to developing our palettes.
We tried and tested our new wood-look ranges, taking them out to contractors and customers, gaining useful feedback that helped inform our launch palette. Since then we’ve added four new oak tones as a result of monitoring trends and in response to customer feedback.
Customer and contractor feedback has also influenced the trend to share complementary colours and patterns across different product ranges so you can select flooring to suit different locations and functionality without compromising on.
Despite introducing lots of highly colourful products based on detailed research, one of the most popular colours still remains…. grey!
David Brailsford is new product introduction manager at Altro

This article has been reproduced from the Contract Flooring Journal. You can find them at www.contractflooringjournal.co.uk.