6 Product Design Material Trends You Should Know

Updated 4 months ago
Lindsay Vine
January 19, 2022
4 min read

Keeping up with consumer trends when designing new product colors, finishes, and materials (called CFM) is vital for brands that need to attract and convert new customers. As these design elements affect the look and feel of products, material selection is just as important as the functionality of an item. 

CFM choices also have an influence on a person’s psychology, and considering the latest product design material trends can help brands to engage with their customers on an emotional level. Product material selection is a science that encompasses aesthetics, application, and performance. Everything from your product packaging to the final CFM selection in your product design process can sway a consumer to your brand. 

When choosing a material for your product, you should answer the following questions:

  • Cost – Can the material meet the design requirements while being cost-effective?
  • Manufacturability – Will the selected material influence the manufacturing process of the product?
  • Sustainability – What is the environmental impact of the selected material?
  • Physical properties – Is the material capable of meeting the performance requirements of the design?

In this blog, we’ll cover everything you need to know about the latest product design material trends and why your material selection matters. 

Why Do Product Design Material Trends Matter?

Consumers today are spoilt for choice, and each product design decision you make will influence their perception of your brand. As the material selection will determine how your products look and feel, the choices you make should reflect your brand’s ethos. 

The advances in material sciences mean you have more choices than ever before using engineered materials, nanofibers, and performance modeling for products. For luxury goods, the importance of choosing the right materials increases exponentially. Luxury buyers want premium materials but are still environmentally conscious. The six material trends below can help you make the right decision the first time. 

1. Materials that Emphasize Sustainability

The desire for eco-friendly material options becomes more important with each new generation of shoppers. Materials that are functional but also reduce the impact on the environment are part of a shared global awareness and the driving trend for sustainable designs. By selecting sustainable product materials, it demonstrates your commitment to protecting the environment and that you take your corporate responsibility seriously. 

Some of the sustainable materials to consider include:

  • Wood – Engineered timber and bamboo are easy to replenish and suitable for use in a wide variety of products like furniture, sunglasses, and accessories.
  • Wool – While one of the oldest materials used by civilizations, there is a wide variety of wools you can choose from that are sustainable and cost-effective.
  • Hemp – Similar to wood and bamboo, hemp is a versatile plant, and you can use the material for clothing, bags, shoes, paper, and even building materials.
  • Starch-based polymers – This material is suitable for packaging, textiles, and as a replacement for plastics while being 100% biodegradable.

2. Natural and Neutral Tones

Along with the drive for sustainability, there’s a growing preference for neutral and natural tone materials. These materials have a calming effect on customers and create a soothing, healthy experience when used in modern products. 

There are synthetic options that provide natural tones but, where possible, the best option is to use natural materials like wood. Ray-Ban continues to develop innovative products and gives customers the option to design truly unique sunglasses. They also provide wood and marble frames with their Clubmaster range of products

3. Jewel-Toned Patterns and Hues

For fashion and accessories, jewel-toned patterns evoke a sense of luxury by using richly saturated hues inspired by gemstones. These colors provide complementary contrasts when combined with neutral and natural tones. 

To get the most out of these contrasting materials, designers often use them for centerpiece products like rugs, sofas, or bedspreads. This allows customers to set up the entire atmosphere of a room around jewel tones and then compliment them with natural colors in the area. 

4. Optimistic CFM Designs

Pantone’s color of the year for 2021 was a combination of Ultimate Grey and Illuminating. According to Pantone, it demonstrates hopefulness and strength by being enduring and uplifting. Considering the past few years, designers are embracing any product design that creates an optimistic feeling in the customer. 

The use of happier colors when selecting materials is one of the major industrial design trends, helping to lighten the mood after a few gloomy years. It symbolizes energy, optimism, and physical wellbeing in any product that you design. 

5. Easy to Clean Materials

Naturally, we now have a heightened awareness of cleanliness and sanitation. Everything from the vinyl coverings to fabrics used in sofas now has to be durable and easy to clean by standing up to harsh chemicals. 

This includes cotton, leather, and plastics that you can wipe down or throw in the washing machine. Nanofibers and polymers are receiving renewed focus from product designers as more customers consider the “clean-ability” and “wipe-ability” of products a priority. 

6. Nanofibers and Coatings

Since its invention, nanofibers have revolutionized the product design world. Almost any material can benefit from a nanofiber coating that makes a product water-resistant and durable. Applications for these materials include industrial products, like solar panels and plastic items, that need additional protection. 

Nanofibers provide excellent mechanical properties with suitable biodegradability, making them the ideal material for designing sustainable and durable products. The versatility of nanofibers and coatings means designers can use them for almost any product from clothing to textiles, electronics, and furniture or accessories. As carbon fibers are lightweight and durable, they are the perfect material for use in your product designs.

Give Your Customers the Freedom to Choose a Material with ConfigureID

Customers want the freedom to choose an ideal material when shopping for products today. You can allow your customers to co-design products by letting them choose the colors, finishes, and materials using ConfigureID’s product personalization platform. With product personalization and customization, your customers can select different options for products and see the changes in real-time using 3D photorealistic renderings. 

Augmented reality experiences allow customers to place furniture or appliances in their own environments to match the color and material palettes to the rest of the room. ConfigureID enables you to provide rich and engaging product personalization experiences for your customers on any ecommerce platform. 

If you want to increase conversions and attract loyal customers using product personalization through product design material trends, request a demo to see ConfigureID’s capabilities today. 

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