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Color, material and finish (CMF) design goes digital in virtual sample library

We are pushing boundaries in how we inspire designers and CMF experts with our materials in this growing digital world. After first unveiling our CMF sample library at K2019, this platform went digital as we launched the virtual sample library—showcasing the aesthetics possible with our broad materials portfolio.
Designers can get inspired by the latest CMF trends and discover material solutions through our virtual sample library.

Rethinking materials and the CMF experience

We have been delivering a digital customer experience to designers and CMF experts through our WeChat mini program and CMF Trend Worlds. The CMF Trend Worlds offer a playful visual and digital approach to showcasing our CMF expertise and the inspiring material options we offer through our product and service portfolio. The digital CMF Trend Worlds also laid the foundation for us to create an even more comprehensive customer experience focused on virtual materials. 
 
Now, designers can also get inspired by the latest CMF trends and discover material solutions through our virtual sample library—anywhere, anytime. 
 
The library is centered around the optical and haptic design—or the aesthetics—of products. It highlights content available through our Solution Center—such as key material benefits and case studies—and features CMF Trend Worlds. Designers and material experts can search for specific materials or find inspiration through our wide range of products. The combination of CMF opens up a variety of design possibilities—and we will continue to enhance the library with more samples, functions and services.
 
The virtual sample library will also be a part of digital trade shows and the Covestro virtual showroom, which allows designers to experience how innovative and functional materials are changing the way people live, work and communicate. For example, we debuted the virtual sample library and showroom at the Fakuma trade fair, held virtually on October 13-15, 2020. Our motto for the show was “Rethink Materials”—demonstrating our focus on uncovering new applications for our products and developing new solutions that address design, technology, process and material challenges.
 
Through our virtual showroom, visitors can check out future design developments that utilize thermoplastic composites or advanced 3D printing technology. This virtual showroom will be especially important as design processes—including the creation and use of digital prototypes—are increasingly conducted in virtual settings. 
 
At Fakuma, we introduced the CMF Sample Library in our virtual showroom and showcased it through a video—making materials tangible in a new way. 
 
Experience our CMF materials for yourself through our virtual sample library here.

Chatting about CMF with Covestro 

Dr. Christopher Stillings, head of Color & Design (CMF) – Polycarbonates, and Hans-Eberhard Stein, industrial designer, shared how our team of experts is continuing to collaborate with and inspire designers. In order to do so in the digital space they cocreated the virtual sample library with a cross-functional team of internal and external partners.
 
What inspired Covestro experts to create a digital version of the sample library? 

Stein: In order to address designers and CMF experts and inspire them with our material portfolio, we created the CMF Sample Library in a physical version for the 2019 K Fair. It was a great success and well received in particular by visitors from the creative industry. As we wanted to enable more people to experience it and we are striving to enhance customer experience also in the digital space, we decided to create a digital version of the library.
 
What feedback have you received from visitors to the virtual sample library?

Stillings: While the virtual sample library recently launched, we have already seen that visitors from all over the world are exploring it. Several designers I spoke to found it useful, as it offers a different and inspiring approach to our portfolio. They noted that the connectivity to our Solution Center delivers more information, including a contact for inquiries, and that the platform is appealing with an easy-to-use design. 
 
We will further develop and implement additional features and content, such as sample ordering. In addition, we will install the physical version of the sample library globally in showrooms and Color & Design Centers at certain locations to provide more haptic customer experiences.  
 
Please explain the “Rethink Materials” motto and how it demonstrates Covestro’s commitment to pushing boundaries in CMF and design.
 
Stein: Covestro materials are widely used in nearly every industry because of their well-known quality and technical performance. They enable material-based technical solutions. Rethinking materials from the perspective of the designer means to focus on the aesthetics potential and value to be added. It means to abstract from the specific application and to look at its appearance and beauty, its emotional dimensions – to get inspired. This is why we offer two different channels into the virtual sample library – “Find out” and “Get inspired.” 
 
How do you think digitalization will continue to influence how you connect with designers over the next 10 years?
 
Stillings: I believe it will have a massive impact. Many design and engineering tasks are increasingly being done digitally, including prototyping to a much higher extent than several years ago. This trend will continue as data, data transfer rates, and processing power combined with artificial intelligence and machine learning continues to evolve. This creates challenges in how to offer a material-based product and service portfolio in the virtual space while also delivering a valuable experience to customers. We are intensively working on this because it will create many opportunities to reach out to a broader community of designers and CMF experts, and lead to more potential touch points for collaboration. It is our intention to support our customers and partners in all processes, especially as they become increasingly digital. We are pushing boundaries between these worlds and following our credo: Whatever is possible to do digitally, will be done digitally.

Through our virtual CMF sample library and other digital offerings, we hope to inspire designers by connecting them with aesthetic possibilities and our material solutions—all while supporting their continued digital journey.

Dr. Christopher Stillings

Head of Color & Design (CMF) – Polycarbonates, Covestro

Key Benefits

  • Innovation The virtual sample library brings a new digital experience to designers.
  • Inspiration  CMF trends and material solutions showcase a variety of design possibilities.
  • Digital expertise Virtual sample library builds on digital offerings for customer connection.

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