[ 彩材拆拆 x 𝗨𝗡𝗪𝗥𝗔𝗣 𝗖𝗠𝗙 ]
𝙲𝚑.𝟹𝟻 𝚄𝚗𝚠𝚛𝚊𝚙𝚙𝚒𝚗𝚐 𝙲𝙼𝙵 𝚍𝚎𝚜𝚒𝚐𝚗 𝚘𝚗 𝚖𝚊𝚝𝚎𝚛𝚒𝚊𝚕 𝚌𝚊𝚖𝚘𝚞𝚏𝚕𝚊𝚐𝚎
Ch.35 拆招CMF設計談材質的偽裝術

CMF is a specific discipline within industrial design that focuses on the development of a product’s color, material, and finish. Unwrap CMF writes about little stories of CMF Design for those who are interested in learning more about this niche field. Comments and inspirations are welcome!

What happens when a group of CMF Designers gather for dinner?
“Look at this amazing napkin holder!”
“It’s not real wood, is it? It doesn’t feel like it…”
“Maybe using in-mold texture on plastic?”
“But there is no parting line…”
“Well, *jokingly* we can only scratch it to find out!”

For the rare chance to gather together between CMF Designer friends, our dinner often started with a how-it’s-made discussion for what we can find in the restaurant. The more delicate it looks, the more curious we became.

In order to improve the perceived value, it is not uncommon for a product to do “material camouflage” simulating another more premium material through manufacturing processes. In some cases, material camouflage is intended when the original material is unable to pass testing requirements. For example, as leather cannot pass peeling or stain-resistant tests in some electronic product categories, if the design intent is to “look like leather”, often we would use plastic injection with leather-looking in-mold texture to mimic the look of leather, and added with soft-touch top coat to mimic the tactility of leather.

During design stage, designers always strive to pull up the perceived quality of the applied materials, so let’s think in reverse: when we see a product with an excellent quality, how could we identify the actual material of the product?

To spot a well-done “material camouflage”, we need to 👀 for every little details, and don’t just look. Pick it up (if appropriate) to feel it: does the surface feel soft or hard? Does the top layer feel thick or thin? Does the material feel cool or warm?

Nowadays, in-mold tooling are capable of achieving extremely natural-looking textures. That being said, the texture on the tooling would normally have a hard time transitioning across complex corners, and therefore when the surface folds or cuts into a different angle, most patterns would be disconnected and stops at the cliff. Also, the hardness of the plastic is relatively consistent (by human touch), but when we touch real leather or PU leather, we could usually feel an elastic-ky thin layer, and see the rounded corners when it wraps around the sharp edge.

And of course, there is always an ultimate solution for the curious mind: if you have already possess this item and not afraid to tear it apart – a simple scratch on the surface always help to uncover the mystery (๑◔‿◔๑)

All of above are few of the tips that can be used to spot a “material camouflage”. The more we observe, the more CMF knowledge we can accumulate from the success of others. And that allows us to propose better and greater CMF solutions in the future!

CMF為Color Material and Finishing,譯為色彩、材質、及表面處理工藝,屬於 工業設計 旗下重要的一環。Unwrap CMF( 彩材拆拆 )將圍繞著這個主題,以淺而易懂的小故事拆解 CMF設計師 的日常。(本篇內容啟發自工業設計Line群之提問,謝謝大家在問答之間提供的靈感。)






雖然當今的模具能做到極為仿真自然的紋理,但模具的紋理較難順延至複雜曲折的角落,所以在切面轉角會形成斷崖式的不接軌紋理。除此之外,塑膠的硬度較為一致,但無論是真皮或合成皮在觸壓下,卻能感受到一層薄薄並微帶彈性的「肉厚」,甚至在邊緣會出現「包覆」的鈍角。當然還有一個終極辦法:如果你已購入這個產品也捨得的話,那就刮開表面一探究竟吧(不負責任的走投無路建議 ๑◔‿◔๑)


Material camouflage is common, such as in-mold texture to mimic leather or pearl paint to mimic the sandblasting quality of metal.
Evenly debossed surface is usually made with an in-mold texture. From this detail, it reveals the material used wasn’t real leather.
Leather often comes with irregular texture depth and pattern, but this natural look is not impossible nowadays with in-mold tooling.
(圖中產品經判斷應為真皮或合成皮 / The product in the photo seems to be with real or PU leather)
The shown iron-casting looking speckles transition smoothly across complex corners, hence likely be done by painting than by tooling.

Comments and inspirations are welcome!
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Problem-solving 𝘾𝙈𝙁 𝙁𝙞𝙭𝙚𝙧. A New York-based and world-traveling Design Consultant with over 13 years of specialty in CMF Design. Beyond her professional endeavors, Rina finds her heart in creating educational content and sharing the ins and outs of CMF Design, while embracing new insights along the journey. 高雄囡仔,目前定居於紐約並遊牧世界的自由撰稿人,持續投入在CMF設計的教育推廣,並為WGSN及羅技等公司提供CMF專案支持或諮詢服務。自2011年起從科技業踏入CMF設計領域,擅於分享關於CMF設計的小知識,也樂於在這個旅程中學習新知。

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