The Importance of CMF in Design: A Focus on Colour, Materials and Finish

The Importance of CMF in Design: A Focus on Colour, Materials and Finish

Posted April 11, 2024

Colour, Material and Finish (CMF) Design plays a crucial role in creating memorable product experiences, and the development of a brand’s identity, through careful selections to balance functionality and visual appeal. Envisage’s designers support the application of traditional and modern materials and colour in any project. Our team research, source materials, and work closely with other departments to deliver innovative solutions.
The role of CMF in Brand & Product Development

Taking an important role in brand identity, CMF can drive sales; it creates the connection between the product and the user. Each colour and material a brand uses represents something different; everything from mood and personality to environment and sociocultural associations. CMF can complete a product transforming it with innovative paint colours and textures to enhance surfaces, creative trim solutions to define the user experience, and the product’s relevance to factors such as culture and location.

CMF Inspiration

Inspiration, trends and research drive the work that our CMF design team undertakes, from Moodboard of the Month, to trend reports and client projects. Inspiration can come from everyday life and noticing finer details in everything. This can be anything from nature to art or what is current in design. For example, the inspiration for April’s Moodboard of the Month came from a patterned fabric found in our vast material’s library. The goal of the designers was to create their own interpretation of the 1970’s, highlighting warm tones, with a modern twist from the use of contemporary materials, such as coffee pulp surfaces, 3D printed plastics and stone alternatives. This was further enhanced by warm lighting, giving this concept an immersive experience.


Trends also drive inspiration; the team have access to a multitude of media that keep them up-to-date with various trending topics and developments in industries, from transportation to lifestyle and fashion. Trend awareness supports project decisions, meaning the team can advise clients on the best route to market, ensuring a successful launch.


Research is key to any CMF design team. Clients can present initial ideas; using keywords like “vibrant”, “modern” and “warm” for example, and defining their objectives such as sustainability, purpose, and location. This drives where the CMF team will start their research to deliver colour, materials and finish proposals for the project.

Materials Library

Collecting material samples by visiting exhibitions, attending various shows, and networking with other industry professionals, all contribute to the vast, ever-increasing materials library in the CMF Studio. This also includes working with global suppliers, to source everything from interior soft trim leathers to hard trim veneers.

 Skills and Backgrounds of our CMF Team

Our CMF Designers come from different industry backgrounds, from costume to automotive design, offering a full range of skills to support clients. Key to the role is software, which includes Photoshop, Vred, Illustrator, and InDesign, used to create the visualisations of concepts. This is reinforced by the team’s imagination, vision, trend awareness, and eye for detail, ensuring the proposed concept exceeds customer expectations.

How We Can Help With Your Project

Envisage’s CMF are able to support any project from lifestyle products, aerospace, automotive, transportation and mobility. Please contact us for more information or to see how our specialist designers can support your next project.

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Contact our specialist teams directly using +44 (0)24 7771 4900 or Our team will be on hand to discuss your unique project.