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!