Why Color’s Not a Cure-All

Slapping a new coat of paint on something won’t solve all your brand’s problems. It’s time for companies to take a holistic approach to color.

A friend pulls me aside at a cocktail party and whispers secretly, “I’m painting my kitchen, do you have any color recommendations?” He’s got a pen out, ready to jot down any paint numbers I might be able to list off the top of my head.


It happens all the time. Not even my own flesh and blood can resist. My
sister phones me from New York. “The painter is here,” she says. “Do
you have any color suggestions for my house?” I quickly ask her to
clarify: “Is he there for a consultation and estimate?” To which she
proudly replies, “Nope, he is ready to paint!”


I am a walking Color Physician, writing color prescriptions on the fly. Or I’m a Color Therapist, asked to resolve the “she said yellow, but he hates yellow” story with a color that blissfully unites them in color harmony.

As a professional color consultant, I am often asked to make color a band-aid, and in extreme conditions, perform color triage. I am often brought into the final phases of the design process and asked to revive patients through color recommendations. And yes, I can give sage consultation all the while knowing how much more profound the outcome had I been part of the diagnosis, the treatment, and the remedy.


Color is skin-deep. It is a reflection of what lies beneath and within an object. I believe it is an arsenal, a medicine bag of sorts. As the color doctor, I must kindly remind my clientele that anything considered an afterthought runs the risk of appearing that way. My goal is to educate that a holistic approach has deeper, more powerful and long-lasting meaning.

For now, I am content that progress is being made. My sister now calls me a few days before the painter arrives.

Read more of Laura Guido-Clark’s Dreaming in Technicolor blog
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Laura Guido-Clark is an expert in the
skin of consumer products–their color, materials, and finish. This is
perhaps the area of industrial and textile design that requires the
greatest understanding of the human heart. Laura has spent her life
studying the always new and always surprising ways that human beings
react to the look and feel of any given product.

Laura is the rare color and finish
consultant whose expertise includes not just textiles but heavy
manufacturing industries such as automotive, electronics, and major
household appliances. This experience has given her vast knowledge of
the raw materials and processes used in product categories across the
board. Throughout her twenty-plus year career, Laura has analyzed the
conscious and unconscious influences that drive buying decisions. Her
ability to translate those influences into prescient forecasting and,
ultimately, into concrete applications of color and finish has helped
companies such as Samsung, Apple, Mattel, and Toyota design products
that resonate with consumers and succeed in competitive markets.