The Secret Sauce to Becoming an Extraordinary Color Consultant

Just the other day, I had three separate conference calls scheduled with consultants that had graduated from the ColorIQ course and were at various stages in their businesses. Wanting to discuss project designs and get my feedback before presenting them to their clients, I realized that each of them had taken the skills they learned in ColorIQ and  actually implemented them in their projects. Not one color plan was ordinary or expected! They each executed their designs with clarity of design goals, sophistication and amazing placement strategies. All I could think of was how lucky their clients were to have hired them!

This got me thinking. What makes one Color Consultant or Color Designer better or different than others? Sure, there are many out there, from the untrained hobbyist armed with a color deck to the highly trained and experienced and of course everything left in the middle of the pendulum.

So, here’s what I think is the difference. Soul. It’s that spark of something you can’t quite put your finger on. It has nothing to do with the amount or quality of training or experience, but everything to do with that gift of being able to see what others can’t and using it to create extraordinary environments.

Taking abstract ideas and translating them to a living, working environment is the #1 skill of an extraordinary color designer. It’s NOT trying to “match” paint color to, materials and producing contrived color schemes. It’s not applying trend colors because clients request it. Exciting color is layered in a way that excites the eye with perfect balance and contrast, not overtly but with the subtlety of a skilled master artisan. This is the “soul” of color and too often consultants shy away from it, producing vanilla color schemes just to be “safe”.

So what is the “soul” of the color experience? When a gifted, talented color designer completes a project, you find yourself in a room that sings! It has life, personality, energy. This is the highest goal for anyone specializing in color! When I hear people preach that color is easy and mathematical or all you have to do is follow numbers, I feel sorry for their clients. Architectural Color should never be reduced to a place on a chart. That’s just color specification, not design. Color should be joyful and personal it should speak different things to different people, it should sing in 3 part harmony. Color should be the result of personal experience and skill, not a number!

I read a lot about artists and their work and recently came across a collection of work by a notorious historical figure, Adolph Hitler. I was genuinely surprised about the amount of work he produced and his background as an artist. As I went through the images I couldn’t help but notice that while all were technically masterful, they were devoid of any emotion or soul. Picture after picture, No life.

Is it possible that color consultants fall victim to this thinking? I think it is! We can specify generic color all day long every day and be “technically” correct but when it lacks artistry and soul we are doing our clients a giant disservice.

Do you want to be the best at what you do? Do you want to create environments that sing? Look for the soul!

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Will the Real Revere Pewter Please Stand Up?

 revere pewter 5 revere pewter 6 revere pewter 3 revere pewter 2

Have you ever looked at a beautiful room in a design magazine and immediately wanted that color? Or, your friend painted their master bedroom and you just had to have that color in your home? We’ve all done it, but as you can see above color can be quite deceiving. Yes, each of these rooms is painted the same color! Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter. What looks one way in your friends space can look totally different in your house. Continue reading

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What’s Your Color Personality?

I have this little theory that personality types correspond to a distinct color on a color wheel fairly consistently.

Nothing scientific or new here just an observation. We each have a color personality that we turn to for different things such as paint, accessories, makeup and clothes. It may change shapes every so often but we all pretty much have distinct preferences that we carry through life.

I started thinking about my clients and looking back I realized that they all fell into these 10 distinct groups. No matter what part of the country I am working in they were always the same.

personality color wheel

So, I thought it would be interesting to test this theory on myself. In terms of color personality, If I were to choose three words to describe myself, it would definitely be Water Baby (I think I was a dolphin in another life!), A Quiet Soul and last but not least a Traditionalist . Yep, this certainly describes me! Continue reading

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Whispering Spring Color

Don’t you love Spring? Longer days, warmer temperatures, and flowers everywhere like a Disney movie where the animals sing and the flowers talk? I think that’s winter fatigue talking but we can still get a head start on feeling spring-like! So I’m on my annual search for perfect spring colors and fun projects to make everything fresh and bright. We can start with one or two of these;

Paint a room (Or even 1 wall)

Creamy Life

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Color Palettes Inspired by Nature

Looking to nature to inspire. Here the pink clouds and purple sky dominate the color palette. The charcoal, brown and gold warm it up. Remember to look at proportion because nature always gets it right!

pink clouds palette
Pink Clouds Purple Sky
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Unexpected Color Combinations

pom+blueNothing excites me more than unexpected color combinations. I’m inspired by this one because it’s moody, elegant, and tells a story. Here, I extracted colors from the photo and played with the color combinations that could be used to design a color palette for the room.

Below are some great examples of this unexpected (and dramatic) color palette. Enjoy!


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