Celebrating 150 Years with Four Innovative Car Colors

Every year, BASF coating designers look to the future and make predictions about the car colors that will appeal to vehicle owners three to five years from now.

Extensive research on consumer behavior, technological advancements and influential societal factors, coupled with a great deal of creativity and ingenuity, contribute to the creation of these 65 colors, which are sure to show up on streets around the world in one fashion or another. These designers also experiment with new pigments and techniques to achieve a wider range of desired coating effects.

This year, BASF designers not only imagined colors for the vehicles of 2019 and beyond, they also created colors that exemplify the BASF brand in celebration of the company's 150th anniversary.

"Color is the most visible way to express ourselves," said Paul Czornij, technical manager for the BASF Color Excellence Group. "This is a very special year for BASF and our division wanted to capture the spirit of BASF in color, by reflecting its history and looking forward to what's in store for the future."


The goal was to create four colors that represent the brand and how employees perceive BASF in North America, South America, Europe and Asia-Pacific.

The team started by surveying all BASF employees. The survey asked a variety of questions including:

  1. What color reflects BASF's anniversary?
  2. What feel, texture, or type of effect should it incorporate?
  3. What should this color represent - sustainability, innovation, history, or the future?

Imagining how four beautiful colors would soon come to life, the designers compiled the results and set about to do what they do best, but this time for their own company vs. that of a customer.

North America - Arjean

Silver was the most popular color, followed closely by blue. Silver is driven by technology; it's industrial. Blue, meanwhile, represents purity and truth. Respondents wanted the color to represent a vision for the future, but be natural in origin and exude elegance at the same time.Celebrating 150 Years with Four Innovative Car Colors

The designers were not only able to appeal to the individuals who voted silver, but also appease the individuals who preferred blue. Using BASF dispersion technology, a thin bluish transparent film is overlaid on the silver paint. The color nods to the future in more ways than one. The development phase involved techniques using a cutting-edge process to disperse the pigment that is still in the innovation phase. The color takes something that is abstract and makes it real. It demonstrates good scientific progress.

Metallic was unanimously the top choice for the effect, but a softer side of metallic - not too much sparkle and not fine metallic. The color features pigments that incorporate a unique glow to the metallic finish. The glow appears only at sharp viewing angles, similar to gazing at the horizon, representing looking out in the distance and to the future.

South America -Nightfall Blue

The survey results indicated the desire for a blue, metallic color that is strongly related to nature and sustainability. BASF offers innovative solutions that relate to societal needs and will benefit many people.  That's what this color represents.Celebrating 150 Years with Four Innovative Car Colors

The depth and saturation of the oceans and sky were used as the inspiration for the color. The value and intensity of the blue call out the optimism and creativity necessary to provide innovation. By selecting from a portfolio of pigments that are well-known in the market, BASF uses its technological know-how to combine these in such a way as to exude the sense of purpose. That synergy expresses the interaction of BASF and communities to drive sustainable solutions.

Europe -Solaric Green

Employees wanted a green metallic that related to nature, but in a more mysterious way. Picture the look of twilight, but on a cool day as you walk through a dense forest. You simultaneously sense where you are, but also your surroundings transport you to a realm of possibilities, traditions that won't be fully understood or experienced unless you delve deeper into that mystery.Celebrating 150 Years with Four Innovative Car Colors

The color uses functional pigments to capture the natural phenomenon. It's a darker color designed to play off your senses in more than one way. It's friendly looking, but hazy, and it's designed not to heat up as fast in direct sunlight as a typical dark color in this family would.

That's because this coating not only represents nature and sustainability, but also includes environmentally-friendly pigments that function in a special way to stay cooler on a sunny day. It is literally a more natural, sustainable paint color.

Asia Pacific - Fresh Mint

Similar to Europe, nature, sustainability, and green tones were top of mind. But the color expectations for effect were quite different.Celebrating 150 Years with Four Innovative Car Colors

Asia-Pacific wanted a green sparkling color that's natural looking, projects freshness and eco-friendliness. The color was designed to reflect the power of natural energy. The saturation of the color is something that is special for Asia. It signifies growth, the vast potential for the Asian economy, and the power of living things to harness and processing energy for beneficial means.

These colors represent BASF and its anniversary. But they also give a peak into the upcoming color and coating possibilities, with new technologies, pigments and effects for car colors of the future.