Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Color Cues

5 Essential Color Tools for the Designer

You're a designer - you work with fabrics, hard window coverings, accessories, maybe flooring and wall paper and paint, and you're always up to your elbows in color. It plays a huge role in the design process. However, most of us are not trained on color theory or color use - we use our "instinct" and learn from our mistakes - hopefully. So what are five essential color tools that might make your job easier, more fun, more colorful? How can you come across as a color expert to your clients, giving them the confidence to rely on your color recommendations? Here are some of my thoughts.

One...educate yourself to the next level on color. How? JoAnne Lenart-Weary teaches a color class at the Custom Home Furnishings Academy. Her class Color with No Regrets is a two-day course that will give you the confidence and the knowledge you need. You can find out more about her at www.onedaydecorating.com. Tell her I sent you.
Another way is through We Make Color Easy (www.wemakecoloreasy.com) which offers classes on color usage and certifies students. They use the Dewey Color System® which was developed by a friend of mine from Color Marketing Group. Tell them I sent you.

Two...Educate yourself - and keep yourself informed - on what's happening with color trends and directions. You don't need to be a member of Color Marketing Group (CMG) to do this, but if you can afford the time and the investment I would certainly recommend looking into it. Check out their website at www.colormarketing.org. It's also a great organization for networking, and if you join, you not only get the color forecasts, but you are part of creating them. What fun to let your clients know that you got to name a color! (Molly Brown was one of the names I suggested that was used...yes, it's a brown and came out of the Denver Conference a couple of years ago - Denver was the home of the famous Molly Brown so it seemed appropriate.)
Okay, so you can't join CMG - but there are other resources. I do articles for WF Vision magazine on color, and seminars on color trends and directions, as do many other people. Come to the International Window Covering EXPO next May in Atlanta and take color seminars. We also do a color webinar. Check in with websites of paint companies like Ben Moore or Sherwin Williams - most of them make available their color forecast. Some companies like Graber and Hunter-Douglas have some forecasts on their websites as well.

Three...Do you have a color wheel? Do you know how to use it? If not, get one and learn how it can help you. Amazon has several available and they're inexpensive. Google "color wheel" and you'll get more than you bargained for. Go ahead!

Four...Use your two eyes. Look at ads in the home fashions magazines, both consumer mags like Architectural Digest and trade magazines like WF Vision. Many companies do a great job in putting trend colors on their product. Sometimes they have membership in CMG, sometimes they're just on top of things. Kravet does an outstanding job in this regards. Cruise through Target, Pier One, the apparel departments of stores, and see what's there. Go through catalogs - Williams-Sonoma Home, Crate and Barrel, West Elm. Keep your eyes open for color combinations you see over and over again.

Five...The Internet. One of my favorite sites is Kate Smith's www.sensationalcolor.com. Check back here monthly as I blog in Color Cues once a month. Find other websites that are not only colorful but informative.
Do you have other tools that have helped you with color? If you do, post a comment and share them with our readers!

Bruce Knott, Senior Chairholder Color Marketing Group

1 comment:

  1. Thank you, Bruce for your post on additional places to keep current on color trends. I do already watch some of these, but found a few new to me. A vital topic for all of us in the field of interior design and decorating.