Is There a Secret to Successful Color?

For as many years that I have been a color consultant and color designer, I never tire of talking about color! Never. I know that sounds cliché but it’s so true.
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. They wanted to discuss project designs and get my feedback before presenting them to their clients. I realized that each of them had taken what skills they learned in the ColorIQ course and implemented them into their designs. Not one color plan was ordinary or expected!
Though 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 though. 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 that you can’t quite put your finger on. It has nothing to do with the amount or quality of training and education 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 about “matching” paint color to, materials and producing contrived color schemes. It's definitely not taking trends and reproducing them for every client.

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. 

So what is the “soul” of the color experience? When a gifted, talented color designer completes a project, you will find yourself in an environment that sings! A room that 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. Color should be the result of personal experience and skill, not just a name or a number! Color consultants and designers should seek that level of skill that produces complicated, and nuanced color design that ultimately looks natural and effortless.

I read quite a bit and study artists and their work and recently came across a collection of work by Adolph Hitler. (Yes, he was an artist!) As I scrolled through the images I couldn’t help but notice that while technically quite skilled, they were lacking the depth of emotion or the soul. Picture after picture, empty and lifeless. It took me a bit, but I finally realized the majority of his paintings had no people!

So what does Hitler have to do with modern-day color consultants and interior designers?  Well, I see this frequently with color consultants! Repetitive color schemes, and banal trends. No design process, just imitation. their projects are technically correct but lifeless, rote and expected. Ask yourself, is there artistry and soul in your work? Let's compare art and design.

The following images depict art that is technically great but arguably without a soul. Study them closely to determine why

Now here is the same subject matter but with a lot of soul and heart!

Now let's look at rooms that are technically correct, maybe even pretty, but lack soul.

Now, here are rooms that sing!

See the difference? That’s the secret sauce! The ultimate goal for any color consultant is to bring SOUL into your project! Breathe life into a home! Your client will appreciate you and regard you with the highest esteem if you can do that!

If you’re a color consultant, designer, stager or color enthusiast We invite you to check out the ColorIQ Program that teaches color from science to design. Learn concepts of color design not taught in any other program

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