When did your passion for color start? And how did you start your career as a color consultant?
For as long as I can remember, I have always been fascinated by color and have had a talent for selecting and combining colors. I believe much is inborn, like the ability to draw or play a musical instrument from an early age. However the quest for color knowledge is unending: I was a teacher before I was a consultant and I loved teaching color, as it has always been a long-time passion. Whenever I came into the classroom and mentioned that the lesson plan included color, there was always great enthusiasm. I was not only the teacher but also became the student, as the subject always demands ongoing research and study.
You placed high on several ranking lists of the most influential creative personalities in the world. How do you feel about that?
It is exciting but very humbling at the same time. I feel a responsibility when people value my opinions and look to my guidance in their work.
What was the biggest challenge in your professional career?
I think for most women with children the biggest challenge is balancing your life, so that you can fulfill your professional obligations and also spend quality time with the family.
When a company requests a consultation, what steps do you usually take together?
There are many steps that can vary depending on the company. Some of them are asking what image the company wishes to portray, especially if a branding message is sought. Who is the targeted audience or consumer? Is this an update of an existing product, or a new product? What are the benefits and function of the product? Are there any marketing studies that have been done? If not obvious, where will the product “live”? Who are the major competitors?
After we get these answers (and other useful information) we can proceed to provide our color knowledge and expertise.
Every year, the Color of the Year is selected by analyzing consumers’ and society’s feelings and attitudes, condensing them in a single hue. How do you approach the final selection?
I can highlight some of the major areas, but cannot share the exact process as that is proprietary. There are a number of indicators that point to the eventual decision about the color of the year. Amongst other things, we research the general mood and aspirations, moods and attitudes of consumers. We review the cyclical pattern of color popularity and the history surrounding it. We research the world of art, film and other entertainment outlets, major sports events, fashion, cosmetics, socio-economic conditions and any other area we feel is noteworthy from an international perspective. We even travel to various areas around the world observing color usage and direction.