PMI Digital Helps PPG Tell its Color of the Year Story

By Kyle O'Brien 

When prominent creative companies choose their colors of the year or launch a new color—like when Apple’s rose gold iPhone became the “new black”—the design world buzzes. Often, that color work comes from CMF designers (colors, materials, finish).

CMF designers help companies differentiate product branding strategies—and the profession recently got a boost when the Pasadena’s ArtCenter, a leader in art design education, legitimized this discipline by adding it to the curriculum for a design degree.

PPG, a heritage manufacturer that develops paints, coatings and specialty materials, recently announced its color of the year with a short film, produced by creative and production studio PMI Digital, that tells a colorful story of a CMF designer.


“Choosing the color of the year is the single most important decision that our customers rely on,” said PPG’s global color styling leader Vanessa Peterson, who works with CMF designers at major global consumer product brands. “During the pandemic, people changed their relationship with the items they interact with everyday—whether working in your home office or cooking in the kitchen, emotional connections with our inside environments drive well-being.”

The video is set in a vibrant dreamscape and follows a designer’s journey through a series of color pallets with her boyfriend, with some digital magic altering the various landscapes. As she comes back to earth from her imaginative color travels, the viewer learns that PPG’s color of the year for 2023 is Vining Ivy—a deep-shaded aqua simultaneously representing growth through change and grounding through self-discovery, according to the company.

The color, which is expected to influence the look and feel of industrial and consumer products, including cookware and office furniture, was arrived at after Peterson led a comprehensive review of top color trends across 10 global regions.

“At the start of the project, PPG’s team told us about global companies’ increasing reliance on in-house CMF designers who reinvent products with color,” said PMI Digital’s creative director, Damien D’Amico in a statement. “Everything we learned about this profession, their resiliency, creativity and excitement in working with mostly female customers influenced the video.”

On the five-plus-minute video, D’amico said: “Advertorial filmmaking is constantly evolving. Post-pandemic, we’re seeing an uptick in consumers’ willingness to sit back and fall into captivating digital stories.”