What You Do Not Know About CMF

2014-09-03     Qiu Yuan

What is CMF?
CMF is an area of design that focuses on color, materials, and finishing. It is about the details of a product and can change a user’s perception of a product.



What do CMF Designers Do?
A CMF designer is responsible for conceptualizing and implementing CMF ideas. This includes creating color schemes and silk screens, describing related techniques, supervising factory painting, and determining the mass-production techniques. The person needs to be up to date on new trends and participate in the innovation of new processes and materials. 


What is a Good CMF Design?
A good CMF design should have the most appropriate color scheme, materials, texture, and process. A good CMF design must pay attention to:


1.Rules of color harmony. Research shows that a color scheme that caters to almost every taste must conform to the general rules of color harmony.


2.Modeling features. Different models have different dimensions, curves, and parting. The color schemes should be in line with the modeling features.


3.Psychological features of specific user groups. The individuality conveyed by a color scheme cannot appeal to all people, and a color scheme that targets a specific group will determine whether the product sells well.


4.Color preferences of specific regions. If a color scheme of a product violates the taboos of a region, this product will be a marketing failure.


5.Features of a specific process. Colors are embodied by materials, and a color can have different effects if created by different processes. Therefore, designers must explore how to best represent colors by using a specific process.
What must a CMF Designer Know?


Colors are the results of light. The perception of the color of an object may vary according to light. A standard light box simulates different light sources, and offers a standard environment for evaluating colors.


In addition to the standard light sources, CMF designers must have a keen eye for colors and should be familiar with various properties and phenomena of colors. During product modeling and production, CMF designers must learn how to avoid color deviation and solve related problems.


Take the color size effect for example. A color may vary with size. Generally, a color in a larger size is brighter than that in a smaller size. The changes in brightness and clarity caused by different sizes are called the color size effect. Therefore, a small-size color sample is not reliable for choosing the right color.
We used to create the color scheme for a QWERTY keyboard phone, and the blue circle in the black keyboard must have greater pureness and brightness than the blue battery cover to create a consistent effect.


Take color legibility as another example. The legibility of colors determines whether the logos on mobile phones can be easily recognized from afar. This depends on the differences between the foreground and background in color hues, brightness, and pureness. The differences must be enough so that the logo is highly legible.


Materials and processing techniques

Various materials need to be processed before a product is finished. Materials may be plastic, metal, glass, wood, leather, or carbon fiber. Each category still has many sub-categories. These materials have different features and require different processing techniques, such as spraying, coating, electrophoresis, oxidation, abrasive blasting, printing, UV molding, IML/IMD, laser carving, and leather processing. Take spraying for example. Plastic substrates are generally sprayed, and different types of plastics are used for different structural parts of mobile phones to meet the performance requirements. For example, the front cover is made of PC+20%GF, and the battery cover is made of PC, causing color differences. Both the front and battery cover need to be sprayed with glossy white paint, and CMF designers must adjust the colors for consistency on different substrates.


As for mass production technique, vertical paint spray is often used for the front cover, which is smaller, and horizontal spray is used for the battery cover, which is larger to achieve the best visual effect.


To keep up with CMF trends, we need to observe consumer behavior by focusing on the changes in consumers’ lifestyles and habits. Moreover, we need to collect the information from various fields, such as fashion, architecture, automobiles, textiles, interior decoration, and sports equipment before conducting research into modeling, material selection, color schemes, and processing techniques of these fields. In this way, we can anticipate the design trends suitable for our mobile terminals and develop our own unique design styles. The black slab of 3D glass at the back cover of white-colored ZTE Grand S is a breakthrough in conventional style and catches the consumer’s eye with a sharp contrast between black and white.


In conclusion, designers must be expressive and rational and must have both the conceptual creativity of ID designers and the rigorous execution of engineers.

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