It figures: as many of Frame’s readers are interior designers and architects, it makes sense that our superb compendium on the final visual elements that make or break a space would be one of our bestselling books – and that it would quickly run out.

So, here’s some good news: CMF Design - The Fundamental Principles of Colour Material Finish – popularly known as just CMF by our readers – is back in stock thanks to a new reprint. You can purchase your copy here.

But what is it that makes Liliana Becerra’s book such a sought-after resource for spatial designers? As she explains, CMF is a young discipline, so it’s not always easy to develop clear explanations for ways to approach that process. But thanks to Becerra’s professional and academic experience with these elements, she was able to compile a series of guidelines that serve as a canvas for best practices in the emerging sector.

Here are some of our favourite excerpts from the book.


Every CMF designer must be an outstanding storyteller, capable of supporting and selling ideas to other people, both within the company and to the end consumer. Storytelling should not just be based on blue-sky thinking, but on concrete facts and figures to demonstrate why a certain material or a specific colour can increase consumer appeal, and therefore the bottom line in terms of brand value – and, ultimately, profits.


Since aesthetic preferences are directly linked to different CMF elements, the same colour, material or finish can be perceived differently depending on culture. For example, novelty and new access to prestigious brands and iconic products are the main aspirations of the growing emerging middle class in countries such as Brazil and China. Although these two cultures are very different from each other, novelty is a common, coveted attribute for products and experiences, as it is considered a symbol of progress, optimism, social mobility and self-improvement.

On the other hand, with the increasing economic hardship of recent years in Western Europe, in those countries austerity, knowledge and experiences are becoming the main aspirations of consumers, reflecting a spiritual and moral enlightenment. These values are brought to products through the use of authentic or sustainable materials, such as wood and metals, which tend to age gracefully with time, developing rustic and pleasant patinas.



Orange has a rejuvenating effect on people, as it has a balanced vitality to it. In Eastern cultures, orange is representative of happiness and spirituality, whereas in Western cultures, it represents affordability and optimism. More specifically, orange is often used for safety devices in the United States – for example, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires some construction equipment to be manufactured in orange.


German company rohi questioned why an aircraft cabin should have the same pattern on every seat, instead of offering a more personalized experience to individual passengers. They also questioned how they could create an individualized seating experience, while still offering the benefit of a visually cohesive and harmonized cabin.

Despite facing important challenges, such as higher time input into the design process and a higher level of complexity during the testing of the different visual and structural textures into a full repeat, the creative team came up with a truly innovative textile concept and a new approach to designing textiles for aircraft cabin interiors.

The repeat provides a design that is up to six metres long, and is composed of several different patterns, textures and styles that are strung together endlessly and transition-free. Once the textile is woven, pieces are then cut out of the roll and sewn into dress covers, showing random sections of the repeat. Since each of the seat covers features an individual segment of the fabric design, they can be distributed throughout the cabin in any order and, although every seat has been given its ‘own’ identity, the overall cabin appearance remains harmonized.

This design approach is interesting, as it touches upon an important strategy for CMF design, which is the process of thinking in terms of systems and product collections, rather than individual products.

Buy your copy of CMF Design in our web store.