Exploring our new Colour, Materials, Finish (CMF) lab
We recently introduced Katie, our new Colour, Materials, Finish (CMF) expert, who joined us to strengthen our processes within product and industrial design. Part of her work was to develop our own CMF library; a catalogue of fabrics, textiles, shades, surfaces, elements and other components to help inform phenomenal product development.
A few months on, we explore the CMF lab with Katie, who’s been busy developing its well-stocked library - and the work doesn’t stop there!
To properly introduce the lab, we sat down with Katie to ask more about this unique space…
Colour, Material and Finish Design explores how colour, material, texture and pattern can be utilised to communicate the identity of products and environments.
“In a nutshell, CMF choices can be applied to a product to tell a story and evoke an emotional response in order to enhance the user's experience. The choices will influence the perceived value of a product; for example enhancing the quality or creating a feeling of craftsmanship. So it’s really crucial to consider every choice carefully!” Katie explains.
That’s why putting together a library is really about quality over quantity. “That’s right,” Katie continues. “That’s why we’ve placed a focus on sourcing new materials and examining the sustainability of the materials that we have within the library. The lab will continue to grow as we source new cutting-edge materials.”
This is a living, breathing space that has to offer revolutionary ideas to help shape product design and development.Katie Forrest Smith | CMF Designer | PDR
To fully encapsulate all available materials for any type of product design, the lab contains a comprehensive range of samples covering different material categories including Polymers, Metals and Natural materials among others.
“It also features Material Stories that examine materials, explore trends and highlight new materials and their applications. This is a living, breathing space that has to offer revolutionary ideas to help shape product design and development.”
And speaking of the space itself, its design was important too. “We definitely needed it to be tactile,” Katie explains. “It’s a place for playing with colour and material; it should inspire and spark new ideas! It’s definitely not a static place, and it’s been organised for quick, easy accessibility.”
Developing the lab has been no small feat, and was a considered investment by PDR. The purpose of the lab is to enable the integration of CMF into the entire design process, therefore acting as a source of inspiration from the outset of a project.
“It will showcase new and innovative materials, highlighting trends (including colour and material direction) and detailing consumer insight. And the range of the library will likely encourage the use of materials that might have otherwise been overlooked,” Katie goes on.
Currently, we’re continuing to build the catalogue of samples and we’re actively seeking out new materials all the time - like any library, it’s never truly full!
So, what’s next for the lab? Currently, we’re continuing to build the catalogue of samples and we’re actively seeking out new materials all the time - like any library, it’s never truly full!
“Specifically, we’re also working on a Material Story that examines sustainable polymers. The article critically explores how the application of bioplastics may help or hinder efforts to enhance a product’s sustainability. The story will be accompanied by a range of samples that showcase new materials, so we can certainly expect to see more sustainable finishes in PDR products very soon.”