Color Me Happy

Mood Boosting Yellows by Ben Moore

I get a rosy glow when I do something that makes me money. While green isn’t ever going to be one of my go-to hues for home, my affection for it is inextricably tied to its universal associations with luck and wealth, with nature and sustainability, with spring and the circle of life. Green will always have a place in my heart where regrettably one of my less favorable qualities – envy lives. I hope that with a large amount of awareness and a Birch Stick I am able to beat it back, making way for the dewy rose bud hue of possibility that sits on the precipice of a new day. Ah color.

Pratt & Lambert . Rose Quartz

It’s big business. At $30B in US sales annually, you can bet they don’t just let anyone name the colors, which naturally got me thinking about who does get to name them. Color Theorists/Specialists, Psychologists, and Marketing Professionals with a Lawyer or two thrown in to derail your plans, least you think you’ve got an original when you don’t, can all play a role in the naming process. The process by the way isn’t all flapjacks and silly putty – though the names might incidentally or accidentally make their way into the collection, it’s far more scientific than that.

BM . Salamander . @Lindsay_Salazar_Photography

Color naming falls into four basic categories: Geographical, Experiential, Emotional and Visual. Geographical names are pretty obvious. They evoke the feeling of a place and might be named; Sand Dune, Parisienne Cafe, Turkish Delight, or Ocean Meets Sky. My choice for experiential colors, because if I didn’t make it clear, I’d like to be a Color Marketing Manager that spent more than 10% of my time naming colors would be Cliff Walk, Tango in the Dust, Deep Dive, Runway or Sun Salutation. Emotional can be felt in the names; Bashful, Buttery Bliss, Cruel Crimson, or Naughty Noir. Visual Colors are meant to evoke a thing rather than a place, and bring the hue to mind like Cotton Candy, a pale spun sugary pink or Coffee Bean a rich dark chocolate brown, or Marilyn’s Dress, named by Monroe herself for a color that reminded her of a dress she owned when she was a child that made her happy. Apparently working at Ben Moore did not illicit the same feelings.

Parisian Cafe . Je prend un cafe s’il vous plait.

As for my color naming career, I am not sure I’d pass the mustard – not a tone you are likely to see me choose, and interestingly very similar to Farrow & Balls Color of the Year – Babouche, which I like for the way it rolls off my tongue and the association with the Moroccan slippers that the men of this country famously wear. Naming has to do double or triple duty. It must win you over in the war between brands that have similar shades. It needs to inspire and forge an emotional connection, and it needs to be true its descriptor. While we adore incongruity in writing, we seek harmony in our homes.

Speaking Theoretically: Color Rules

Most everything in life can be split into two camps – heart and mind.  In all art there is science, in color one can experience a Kettle Pond of emotion so deep it seems limitless, and so steeped in theory it boggles my beautiful brain.  “It makes my down go up.” (a slightly modified version of a lyric by Eric Church…a current obsession!)


Eric Church . Mr. Misunderstood Album

Color mixing, and visual effects of specific color combinations is a study based on facts, for which the heart responds.  Primary, Secondary, Tertiary – Lightness, Saturation, and Hue all play a role in what we find pleasing.  Who the heck started all this studying?  Well apparently a dude did.  Not just any dude though, a Roman named Leon Battista Alberti.  Who I am tickled pink to report was born on Valentine’s Day in 1404.  A Humanist, Artist, Author, Poet, Architect, Priest, Linguist, and Cryptographer.  He wrote about color theory. Leonardo Da Vinci made it a topic of his literary efforts too, and wouldn’t be outdone by Leon.

It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them.  They went out and happened to things.”  Leonardo Da Vinci

Considered by many to be the greatest painter of all time, he was also an inventor – the tank, helicopter, and parachute are attributed to Leo – a Sculptor, Architect, Scientist, Musician, Mathematician, Engineer, with additional interests in geology, botany, writing, history, and cartography.  Together these “guys” are known as Polymath’s, Renaissance Men….Universal Geniuses.  I ask you, is there anything sexier?  Talk it over.

VDay Tiff copy

A Valentine’s Bouquet – Lucky Tiffany!

As a tradition, Color Theory really took off in the 18th Century, and is widely practiced and taught today.  Me, I fall in love with color, its power to draw you in, eliciting heady sensations.  It’s true not all the feelings that get stirred up are good but I enjoy the process of testing color combinations, picking palettes, and experiencing that bubble of excitement that rises from my belly over a belle jolie compilation.

While I had selected my base colors for the living room, I had not settled on accent colors, until I awoke from a recent dream, and knew with certainty, that they would be chartreuse green and violet.  I’ve placed my faith in these hues.  I’ve decided to lean toward, tip into, dive, submerge, surround…breath in, and become breathless.  I think you know which camp my pretty polished toes reside.