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Ch.33 拆招CMF設計談每個顏色也有不同材料個性?!

CMF is a specific discipline within industrial design that focuses on the development of a product’s color, material, and finish. Unwrap CMF shares bite-sized stories of CMF Design to inform and inspire those interested in this niche yet fascinating field, with digestible contents for anyone and everyone. Comments and inspirations are welcome!

After nearly 4 years of services and hardship, my first AirPods has finally retired this week ??

Sat next to the brand new AirPods, the old set wasn’t much worse. Obviously, it had been dropped a couple times, plus scratches here and there from jangling with keys in the purse. However, the scratches are less noticeable on the surface of the white material of the AirPods casing. In contrast, the wear and tear of uncoated plastic is particularly obvious on the surface of another example of black external hard-drive.

People come with different shapes and curvatures, and each person has a style that best suits him or herself. Similarly, each color also comes with its own material “personality”!

From a technical point of view, we know that materials will behave differently due to factors such as material strength (e.g. composition ratio of plastic with PC, ABS, and glass fiber), surface treatment (e.g. polished or satin) and etc. But at the same time, it should be noted that even with the same material and manufacturing process, each color may result differently.

This says, for the best result, C (color) and MF (material and finishing) should not be considered separately:
⚠️ Some material processes are unavailable for specific colors, such as metal anodization and white.
⚠️ Some processes are unstable to produce specific color range, such as PVD and red/purple hues.
⚠️ Some colors may weaken the visual effect, such as that the color-changing quality of iridescent pearls are not as visible on vibrant base colors.

However, this does not mean that any material and process should be rejected due to the choice of color. Instead, at the concept creation phase, it is important to consider the suitability between the C and the MF: “Can we use another process instead of anodizing, or can we use light silver instead of white?”, “Can we propose another color that is stable for PVD process, or be ready to accept a wider range of limit board in production?”

This lesson also proves how manufacturing knowledge compliments the readiness of a design concept, and hence the importance for a qualified designer to always be in the look-out for building material and manufacturing knowledges as you go! ?

CMF為Color Material and Finishing,屬於工業設計旗下專注於產品色彩、材質、及表面處理工藝的關鍵一環。Unwrap CMF彩材拆拆圍繞著這個主題,以淺而易懂的小故事拆解CMF設計的日常。歡迎留言分享!








After nearly 4 years of use, the white casing of the AirPods hasn’t worn off terribly (left: newly bought, right: the old set).
Scratches are less noticeable on the surface of white material.
In contrast, the wear and tear of uncoated plastic is particularly obvious on the surface of this example in black color.
Instead of scratches, for uncoated white plastic, staining issues are more likely to occur, especially on matte surfaces.

Enjoy learning? Use the CMF terminologies mentioned above and continue on with your own research journey on the web. Comments and inspirations are welcome!
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Problem-solving ??? ?????. Former head of CMF at Motorola. A New York-based and world-traveling Design Consultant with over 13 years of specialty in CMF Design. 高雄囡仔,前摩托羅拉CMF設計團隊負責人,目前定居於紐約並遊牧世界,任自由撰稿人兼CMF設計顧問,持續投入在CMF設計的科普推廣,並為WGSN及羅技等公司提供CMF專案支持或諮詢服務。

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