Becoming a color consultant-what does it take?

In these challenging economic times, I have seen more and more peers taking their knowledge 'on the road' so to speak.

Seminars, training sessions, and workshops have begun popping up all over the place. Some of these colleagues I know personally, while others are new to me.

The question on my mind is, what does it take to become a successful color consultant, and what is it that these experts have to offer people, whether they are self-defined or widely recognized?

Mary-Frances Cimo's True Color Training

Do these courses make you a better designer?

Do they increase your marketability?

What sets any given course apart from the masses?

I know only a little about a few of these, so I'd like to open the floor to everyone else- have you taken any color "training"? Has it helped your skills, marketability, expertise? Why do you think so many are popping up these days? (instructors, please feel free to add your two cents as well!)

P.s. First please leave a comment here, then for more reading on the topic from a slightly different angle, check out ColorBudz's "Are you a good designer?"

Forecasting color trends- what's going on

The Los Angeles Design Center recently hosted a series of talks entitled Designers Forum; Business Matters. Session two was on "Color Theory: Forecasting The Impact Of Tones And Hues". Of course, I was thrilled to discover the talk was available online.
The panel consisted of representatives from the art, design, and fashion perspective. "Not oracles of color or trends," as one panelist demurred, but rather why certain colors are influencing trends.

They discussed how social and economic shifts in our society effect color choices.

Michael Berman, interior designer, says younger clients, retaining the services of an interior designer, are much more likely to want something more uplifting. "They don't want yesterdays taupes and gray beiges. They are really looking for happiness and cheerfulness. That being said, a lot of our more established clients, another generation, even clients that have come back to me over the years; they like the status quo. They like the feeling that, let's just pretend everything is hunky dory... They're much happier with the calmness, the sereneness of neutrals and things."
According to Nick Verreos, representing the fashion perspective, there is also a direct relationship between the economic situation and its impact upon fashion and color. Optimistically, he believes we are slowly trying to come out of the recession from a visual standpoint. Whereas a few years ago everything in the stores was black and gray, if you go into a department store now, it's like an Oprah studio, Nick jokes.

What else did the panel have to say that kept this audience clinging to their every word? Check out the video for yourself!

Hurricanes and ocean color

New discoveries about the color of the ocean and how it can predict hurricanes. Seems to be pretty widely covered online, so I'll just give you a link to the National Geographic site for the details.

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The study utilized computer simulations to look for links between ocean color and strong tropical cyclones, otherwise known as hurricanes or typhoons. 

Color consultation step by step

Want to know how a pro goes about designing a color palette for a project? Great post/case study by my esteemed colleague Barbara Jacobs on the process behind the color design for the lobby in a multi-unit residential building in Boston.
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What had to be considered? What was the time frame like? What were the steps taken along the way? Who made the decisions? How did it turn out? Head over to Barbara's article for all the juicy facts.

Then let's discuss- what sort of process do you follow when you're determining colors for a space (your own or clients)? If you work with clients, do you take similar steps to those Barbara took, or do you have a different approach?

Guest Post: How do Paint Colors Get Their Names?

I have a special guest post for you today. Thank goodness, because I can still totally use the help. So if there are any other aspiring bloggers out there who missed out on the first go-around, I am welcoming ongoing submissions of interest. Just shoot me an email at rachel.perls [at] gmail [dot] com with some links or samples of your writing, a wee bit about yourself, and ideas for an article you'd like to write for Hue.
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Today, Jessica Roberts joins us from her blog Verve! color. design. life. She creates art based on paint names and is just starting her journey as a color consultant. Be sure to stop by and check out her blog.

How do Paint Colors Get Their Names?
By Jessica Roberts

Pick up any paint sample and look at the name. How do you react? Does it remind you of a distant memory or is it “What the heck where they thinking?!”

Paint color names also have a habit of being vague. Could you tell me what color family SW6707 Narcissus, SW6022 Breathless, or SW6521 Notable Hue would be found in? Here are the colors above; can you match them with the correct one? (*Answers at end of article)

From a linguist’s point-of-view, English only contains eleven basic color “labels” – red, blue, yellow, purple, green, orange, pink, white, black, and grey. There are obviously many ways to describe a color, but those are secondary describing words that are subjective and abstract. So, this brings us back to it: how do paint colors get their name?

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Well, it looks like it all boils down to marketing a product. The names need to be memorable to leave an impression on the customer. Most paints have numbers to categorize them, but no one really stands in their home and rattles off that part of the paint name.

If you are standing at your local paint store and you see Socialite (a reddish purple hue) and you love having people over, you might pick that shade over River Rouge, which is very similar if you are undecided.

Apartment therapy did a poll on if people picked color based on the name. 54% said sometimes! Names play a big part in being able to sell the color.

To gain some insight on how one might pick out names for products, I asked copy editor Melody Alexander of Deep Group to give a quick and albeit simple run down. Here is what she had to say about names leaving the right impressions on consumers and the way she works:
“When a company comes to my agency to name any product, we try to find the one thing that makes it stand apart from the competition. As a copywriter, my job is to dig deep to come up with ideas that show a deeper meaning. It might be a word that describes what it is in a different language. A god or goddess that symbolizes what it may be in some ancient culture. A word play that hints back to whatever the product is. Or, in this, it might be a playful name that subtly ties back to the color.

For example, if we’re given a bright yellow to name, I might come back with a list of 30 names that includes Amarillo (Spanish for yellow),

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Helios (the personification of the sun in Greek mythology),

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or Duckie for a playful name.

In any case, we’ll come back with a laundry list of name variations that our team finds best suit the project specifications. We make our recommendations, but it the decision ultimately comes down to our clients, and what it is they want.”

In the end, the paint companies are marketing a product to consumers. They have to be careful not to use a name twice or duplicate a competitor's, while creating a memorable impression. It is no wonder the names range from vague to ridiculous. Just for fun, test more of your naming color power with this online game.

What paint names have left a lasting impression on you? Will you go back to a particular brand because you remember a name from that deck?

*Answer from right to left: Breathless, Narcissus, Notable Hue.

Logo colors sending a message

In lieu of the horrendous oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and ensuing disastrous mess that BP has made of attempting to clean it up, Greenpeace recently conducted a competition to redesign BP's bright green logo.

Greenpeace says, "It is clear that BP's bright green logo has never matched the reality of the company.

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...Since taking over in 2007, Tony Hayward has taken BP back to petroleum, chasing the last drops of oil from unconventional sources like the Canadian tar sands and deep-water drilling in the Gulf of Mexico."(source)
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I'd say BP's attempt to position itself as the "global retailer with environmental credentials" has fallen flat on it's face. Greenpeace spokesperson adds, "“BP stands less for beyond petroleum and more for burning the planet.”(source)

What I want to know, is how on earth does a company get away with such dangerous activity without having to provide a solid back-up plan in case things go horribly wrong?

Making clich├ęd designs new again

Every time I think about Extreme Home Makeovers, and the great rooms they always built, I remember the iconic 'wharf lights' hanging in the kitchen, usually above the island or bar.
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Now, a lighting company is branching out into colorful versions.

I'm skeptical as to the usefulness of this vivid palette, as I don't know too many homeowners who would be willing to incorporate this level of saturated color into his or her home. But I'd love to see some examples of how the company anticipates the lights will be utilized...

What do you think? Is there a market for vividly-colored fixtures?

Hue guest bloggers rock

Many many thanks to my guest bloggers:
Ellen Reed
Kristie Barnett
Kelly Berg
Kelly James
Libby Wilkie
Yasmin Chopin
Marie Brady
Barbara Jacobs
Safir Kaylan 
Karen Haberstro-Walls

who all so generously shared their thoughts, insights, and inspirations with Hue readers while I took a wee bit of time getting used to my new mommy-status. Okay, so I am still getting used to it. I hope you'll bear with me if my posts are a little erratic for a while. Gotta carve out some time for blogging somewhere!

 (photo styling credit goes to my friend's 3 year old who just -loves- pink)