Color Matters Blog

Color is always doing something. Sometimes color screams out a message, sometimes it casts a subliminal spell. So, what's happening in the world of color today? Yesterday? Tomorrow? What are the facts, what are the myths?
OCT
18

The Colors of the Year 2020

The breaking news about all the "Colors of the Year 2020".

"First Light" – Benjamin Moore

COTY Benjamin Moore First Light

“First Light” (2102-70) is Benjamin Moore's "Color of the Year 2020". It’s a soft airy hue – not too sweet. The brand describes it as “a backdrop for a bright new decade”. Worth noting is that pink has become more of a mainstream color thanks to Millennial Pink. In this case, you might consider “First Light” as the new white. It’s blooming with potential!


"Naval" – Sherwin Williams

COTY Sherwin Williams Naval

"Naval" (SW 6244) is Sherwin Williams’ "Color of the Year 2020". It brings navy blue into a new era. The company describes it as a deep shade that “fuses the striking and bold opulence of Art Deco with the awe‐inspiring power of nature”. Naval was designed to do just that, inspiring a sense of "restfulness and tranquility" in one's home, according to a press release.


"Back to Nature" – Behr

COTY BEHR Back to Nature

Behr released “Back to Nature” as its "Color of the Year 2020" in mid- August. It’s a meadow-inspired light green hue that the brand describes as "calm, gracious, and balanced, and a way to bring the outside in.” Look closely at this complex color. It’s a very subdued olive green. Murky and peaceful.

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OCT
18

Test your color imagination

Have some fun and test your imagination.

Assume that each of these two colors will be “The Color of the Year”. The challenge is to reinvent the color by giving it an evocative new name. You might even consider giving it a name that embodies a sense of calm.

#1 A light pink

pink paint

The first color is a very light pink. Delicate and sheer. It’s floral like the palest pink roses; it’s sweet like the frosting on cupcakes, comforting like a stuffed bunny from childhood, and as feminine as ballet shoes.

4 pink things

If you had to reinvent this pink with a name that would get rid of all these associations – and have mass appeal – what would you name it?

Consider this: Some paint brands have named this tender hue “Pink Ground” or “Calamine” (Farrow & Ball), an almost identical color “Almost Pink” (Glidden), “Paris Pink (Portola Paints), “Pink Bliss” (Benjamin Moore), “Pink Elephant" (Behr), and coincidentally “Elephant Pink” (Benjamin Moore).

Pause for a moment. Use your imagination! It’s your turn to name it.


 Conclusion: Benjamin Moore has named this light pink “First light” - and it's "The Color of the Year 2020".

Pink First Light

If ever there were a way for pink to shed its sweet, floral, and child-like associations, this does it. On the other hand, what is the color of first light? If you google it you’ll find images like the one below: In any event, it’s all in the name and this one is genius.

Here’s how it looks in the context of nature:

First light in nature


 #2 - A subtle green

green paint

This is a tricky one. It’s a very subdued light green. Sage? Or perhaps the color of a cooked artichoke or a murky swamp? It’s definitely earthy.

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MAY
30

The Most Expensive Color in the World

Google "the most expensive color in the world" and you’ll get a lot of information about diamonds. For example, a blue diamond that sold for $32 million and that red diamonds are the rarest and most expensive.

Google "the most expensive pigment" and you’ll find that Lapis Lazuli is believed to be the most expensive pigment ever created. It was pricier than its weight in gold.

lapis lazuli
From the essay, "Blue," in Alexander Theroux's "The Primary Colors" -
Blue was always the most expensive pigment for painters, first of all, for supernatural beauty, perfection, and glory. The goldlike flecks of pyrite crystals in lapis lazuli have often been compared to stars in the sky.

Google “the most expensive paint in the world” and you’ll get a lot of information about paintings such as Da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi that sold for $450 million. You might even see an ad for marine bottom paint that sells for over $1000 for a 3-gallon can.
YlnMn blue

There's also YinMn Blue - a brilliant blue that was accidentally discovered 10 years ago. Unfortunately it appears that many paint manufacturers – such as Shepherd –are interested in the pigment and will be bringing paints to market after commercialization.

And that brings us back to this question about colors that you can buy today:

The most expensive paint color?

Farrow and Ball paint

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5662 Hits
FEB
23

Something New to Pink About?

Pink has been all over the news recently. Some of it is powerful and inspiring but the same old dirty little lies about pink continue to be spread. We begin with color news you can’t use:

Liar Liar – The Color Wheel Is on Fire
(The same old nasty alternative facts about pink)
Cool Down Pink

pink jail

The article states: "Are you quick-tempered? Have bouts of aggression? The reason could be lack of pink in your environment! According to psychologist Daniela Spath a certain shade of pink calms the nerves, including in aggressive prisoners."

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12613 Hits
APR
26

In the future, every color will be world-famous for 15 minutes

Andy Warhol - a master of color
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99049 Hits
MAR
30

A Color that’s Worth $80,000,000

If you've ever wondered if color can make a multi-million dollar difference, check out this example of a special shade of blue.
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128894 Hits
MAR
16

Working with Color: Bailouts and Branding

Which color is the best for a product?

I love interviews with the press because there’s always one challenging question that requires a good answer. Last week, the interviewer asked, “How do you get your color consultation projects?” I replied that half the time, there’s a color disaster underway and someone contacts me. Typically, “the boss” has chosen his or her favorite color for the logo (or the product, packaging, etc.) and a member of the staff senses that there is something terribly wrong with the choice.

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24997 Hits
FEB
24

When is a color racially offensive?

Racial Insensitivity - Colors 

The recent controversy surrounding the aboriginal costumes worn by Russian ice dancers Domnina and Shabalin raises questions of cultural theft, authenticity of the steps, and appropriate costumes. Some Australian aboriginal leaders have claimed that the pair’s brown-toned costumes adorned with leaves and white aboriginal-style markings were offensive and far from authentic. On the other hand, the Russian duo’s coach explained that the term "aboriginal" translates from Latin language and means "from the beginning" and that they tried to represent a picture of the time when aboriginal people were in the world - with no reference to any country or custom. Nevertheless, in spite of changing the hue of their original costumes from a dark brown (intended to make their skins look darker) to a paler shade, which better matched the Russians' natural skin tone, the controversy still rages.

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147929 Hits
FEB
12

There’s More Than Love at the Heart of Red

red-fuchsia

"Monkey Butt Red" and "Flaming Fuchsia" made the news recently - at least in the automotive industry. These are the names of colors created by Toyota and Dodge for the debut of their elite sports cars. Consider the possibility that these colors and their names were intended to generate a lot of press.

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38836 Hits
FEB
03

Shattering a Colorblind View of the Past

Dinosaur and Archer

For nearly two centuries, scholars have been arguing that beige and white were not the true colors of antiquity. The Parthenon in Athens and the Forum in Rome might have been almost gaudy. Unfortunately, such ideas have never influenced Hollywood or many experts. For example, in "Gladiator," when Russell Crowe strides down the streets of ancient Rome, circa A.D. 180, he's backed up by the proper complement of white marble. In almost every view of the past, textbooks included, the ancient world comes off as monochrome.

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39539 Hits
JAN
12

Color Karma for the Next Decade

Crystal Ball Color Karma

Where will color go in 2010? What about the next decade? Will we be under the influence of trends or will the timeless powers of color rule? I’m sure you’ll agree that it will be both - and it all depends on many factors. The good thing about trends is that they inject new life into the color wheel. Yes, but what goes around comes around again and that’s my first take on color karma for the next decade.

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29718 Hits
NOV
27

Push the color red as far as it can go?

Chris Chou Mandala

One of my unfulfilled dreams as a colorist has been to pack as many colors as possible into a painting that breaks the barrier of “it’s too pretty to be considered as serious art.”

When I was working on my M.F.A., the "anti-aesthetic" ruled. The art that was sanctioned by the intelligentsia was far from lovely. Matisse’s famous philosophy - that a painting should be like a comfortable armchair - was taboo. There was no going back to the luxurious color harmonies of Matisse and Monet in the French impressionist era or the lush abstractions of deKooning or Rothko in the mid-twentieth century.

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20757 Hits
NOV
04

Here comes trouble: Paint matching apps for the iPhone

iPhone-banner

It’s supposed to solve the dilemma of winding up with all those cans of paint in colors that are too bold, too dingy, or not quite right. Both Benjamin Moore's Ben Color Capture and Sherwin-Williams' ColorSnap applications for the iPhone work the same way: Take a picture with your iPhone, zoom in on an area of color that you want to match in paint. Click “match” and the application gives you a range of paint options just like a real paint strip from their catalogue (either Moore or Sherwin). On the plus side, it shows the color’s nearest neighbors, in both lighter and darker shades.

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83263 Hits
OCT
27

A Color Heaven

Bermuda
Three weeks ago, I presented a seminar about color in Bermuda. I’ll admit that I’m quite spoiled by living in the color paradise of Hawaii. I’m not easily swept off my feet, but the colors of Bermuda - everything from sand to architecture - were stunning and classy, at that.

Real men wear pink - pink shirts and even pink shorts. In fact the logo on the airport terminal is a pair of pink Bermuda shorts. Aside from wearing apparel, many of the beaches are pink and so are the homes and many of the commercial buildings.

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25710 Hits
OCT
14

Monkey Butt Red?

Monkey Butt Red

It’s the new red … and it’s the color Toyota chose for the FT-86 sports car. Yes, it really is the red color of a Japanese monkey’s backside and if you can pronounce it, it’s “shoujyouhi” red.

Just when we’re getting used to a new genre of creative – but not always descriptive - color terms, such as "Fiji Weegee Fawn" for nail polish, "Freedom Trail" for paint, and "Peter Pan" for candles, Toyota's reference point for this new hue is beyond bizarre.

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42408 Hits
SEP
10

Liar, Liar, the Color Wheel is on Fire


Too-Many-Colors

Does the web provide an open door for "color experts" to dish out bad advice? Maybe in the dark days before the web, the color wheel was on fire but no one could see it. Whatever the case may be - and on the heels of last week’s Benjamin Moore report - there’s a new one.

The latest bad advice is based on the assumption that the "old rules" about how to use and combine colors are out the window. Here’s the exact quote from an interior design professional:

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22133 Hits
SEP
09

Busted! What is the color of trustworthy information?

Color inside brains


Wikipedia just announced that they will allow a color-coding for text that has been declared untrustworthy. Orange will be used to highlight unreliable text, with more reliable text given a lighter shade. Text earns "trust" over time, and moves from orange to white.

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60771 Hits
AUG
20

In Memoriam: Kodachrome and Polaroid

Poladroid 

2009 marks the end of two photographic wonders and the amazing colors they produced. Digital photography has rendered them obsolete.

In June, Eastman Kodak company announced that its Kodachrome film would be no more. This was the slide film that gave us such beautiful bright colors and it's the film Paul Simon idolized in the classic line of a song, "Mama don't take my Kodachrome away."

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20677 Hits
AUG
04

Wet Dog

Wet Dog

wet dogs

When I was in art school, a professor commented that my painting looked like a soggy dog. That was a compliment! I was struggling to find my artistic center and had poured turpentine on an oil painting (still wet and workable) and saved the results.

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20274 Hits
JUL
27

Color Infringement: Microsoft vs. Google

Chrome vs Windows color logo

Lawyers for Microsoft, Inc. have filed a lawsuit against Google, claiming the company's new Chrome OS color scheme infringes on the Windows logo color scheme.

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74374 Hits
JUL
17

Changing the Colors of GM's Logo

GM Logo

It was rumored that GM may consider changing the color of its logo from blue to green when it emerged from bankruptcy. Apparently, that’s not going to happen.

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103259 Hits
JUL
10

Hues that cry for freedom

Hues that cry for freedom

colors of revolution 

Green is the color that is still at the forefront of demonstrations in Iran and across the world in protest of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's controversial victory in June's presidential elections.

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35435 Hits
JUN
25

A new identity for green

Green protest Iran

Green has emerged as the color of protest in Iran. The pictures describe more than any words in this blog. (Note: Green is the signature color of Mir Hossain Mousavi, the main rival of President Ahmadinejad in the Iranian elections.)

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21803 Hits
JUN
11

Color Hall of Shame: The Tragic State of Research on Color Effects

Thirty years of research on individual reactions to colors in the environment has produced contradictory findings. Some research has concluded that people who can "screen out" irrelevant information in their environment are not easily stressed out (or aroused) by warm colors such as pale orange walls, whereas "low-screeners" are more aroused by the same orange walls.

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