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Ford Designers Determine Vehicle Colors Years in Advance by Analyzing Trends and Moods

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Ford EcoSport colors

Part of what helps a new vehicle appeal to drivers is an exterior hue that helps it pop. Color trends change like any other trend, which is why Ford employs future-thinking designers who are able to predict color preferences as far as four years ahead of the curve.

To help stay on top of what colors may adorn future Fords, the design team studies current trends and makes determinations on how they could develop or deviate over the four years preceding a particular vehicle going on sale. This enables Ford color choices to look sharp and trendy even when they were ostensibly decided upon 1,500 days prior.

Emily Lai

“Our designers regularly get together and we look at what’s happening in architecture, products, and interiors,” said Emily Lai, Design Manager, Color and Materials Design, Ford Asia Pacific.

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Once those trends have been predicted, the designers must take mood into account. Ford’s example is the 2008 financial crisis, where conservative car colors were prioritized over personality, as drivers thought more in terms of resale value than enjoyment.

“Color choice doesn’t just reflect your personality, it also acts as a reflection of the circumstances around you,” said Lai. “If you’re amongst a lot of pressure and stress for example, it will affect your choices and moods.”

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Lai noted that she sees optimism in the current generation of young drivers—possibly created by a sense of “faith in technology”—which she anticipates will result in brighter colors and possibly even vehicle accents “where one or more parts of the car are a different color.”

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