Opposites attract? (or not)

•October 13, 2017 • Leave a Comment

Here is the image of a traditional color wheel. It shows how colors are organized and how colors change by combining them, for example if you combine blue and green you get blue-green. Every year the major paint companies announce a ‘Color of the Year’ they’ve selected as a trend color and you can count on seeing it pop up in a myriad of places encouraging you to use it. The two paint companies I deal with the most are Benjamin Moore and Sherwin Williams, last year Benjamin Moore’s Color of the Year was 2117-30 Shadow (a very dark gray with a purple blush) and Sherwin Williams’ Color of the Year was SW6039 Poised Taupe (a fairly dark shade between brown and gray.) Both colors are neutral and understated so can be used in a range of applications.

Before I go on let me tell you I don’t design to color trends. I believe the color forecasters and promoters do it at least in part to keep us dissatisfied with what we have so we always want something different. The foundation of my work is color psychology, using the understanding of how we respond to color at an innate level to create environments that please us and feel good to be in (and for a long time!) Enter now the newly announced ‘2018 Color of the Year’ for Benjamin Moore and Sherwin Williams. Benjamin Moore has selected AF-290 Caliente , a very bright and intense warm red (made from red-orange on the color wheel) and Sherwin Williams has selected SW6496 Oceanside, a deep and vivid blue-green. If you look at the positions of red-orange and blue-green as they sit on the color wheel you’ll see they are exact opposites (in color world this can also be called ‘complementary’ or ‘high contrast’ colors.) I find this intriguing that two of the largest paint companies have chosen colors that couldn’t be more opposite and bright to boot! Be prepared to hear the virtues of both of them, but before you run out and buy the paint be aware that we tend to tire of vivid colors sooner, they don’t always harmonize with other colors well and trend colors can look dated quickly. I don’t mean to dissuade you if they are just the colors you’ve been looking for but don’t jump on the band wagon just because they want you to.

If you’d like to take a peak at the new colors follow these links:

Benjamin Moore: https://www.benjaminmoore.com/en-us/color-overview/color-collections/color-trends-2018

Sherwin Williams: https://www.sherwin-williams.com/homeowners/color-forecast/color-of-the-year

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Seeing is believing

•May 11, 2017 • Leave a Comment

One of the best tools I have to give my clients the ability to “preview” what their project will look like is a color preview program where I use an existing photograph of their project to overlay the actual colors I’m proposing. It’s very helpful, especially for those who have trouble visualizing what the changes might look like. I used this program for Whitman College’s Spanish House to show the three color palette options I’d designed for them. The Spanish House serves as an “interest” house for students who share an interest in Spanish (or Hispanic) language and culture. The Spanish House is a lovely example of authentic Craftsman architecture in the heart of historic Walla Walla, WA, and you can see from the three palette options I designed they are not classic Craftsman colors but evoke the feeling of  Hispanic bright colors.  I don’t use this program for all my projects but it is very useful to my clients who request it. The photos below show the Spanish House as it currently looks with the three proposed color palettes I designed…and the winner!

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Color matching is as much an art as a science

•March 13, 2017 • Leave a Comment

Most paint stores (and hardware stores that sell paint) have the ability to color match samples you bring into the store. If you bring in a sample of a color you would like to match they’ll use a tool they have hooked up to a computer to analyze the color and create a color formula which can be reproduced in the paint you need for your project. The sample might be a paint chip but can also be a piece of fabric, wallpaper or counter top sample just to name a few. There are some limitations to what a system can analyze with accuracy; metallic objects, a very small area of color in a busy pattern, objects that are heavily textured such as carpet, or any sample less than about the size of a quarter.

You would think you can expect perfect matches every time if a computer is analyzing the color, but you could well be wrong. The better paint stores I work with use computer analysis to get them about halfway to a perfect match and the rest is done by a trained eye. In other words, color matching is as much of an art as it is a science. For this reason I don’t recommend my clients purchase their paint from a hardware store if they require any color matching. These stores generally rely completely on computer analysis and not the eye of a trained staff member.

Here a few other tips for successful color matching projects:

  • A color that was analyzed for you is a custom color, make sure you ask for and keep a copy of the color formula in case you need to order it again (better paint stores usually keep a record of your formula and purchase on file.)
  • You may need to touch-up your paint in the future. Whether your color was a custom color or not touch-up paint should come from the same can you applied originally for an exact color match so make sure you order enough to have a little extra, it can save you a headache down the road.
  • Buy the best quality paint your budget allows in the proper paint sheen for your project. Not only will it wear better and last longer, it will also apply and cover better which is an important factor especially if you are doing the painting yourself.

Preview color before painting

•January 24, 2017 • Leave a Comment

Wouldn’t it be nice to see what the colors you choose will look like before you buy a drop of paint? I’ve been working on a historic Victorian mansion renovation which I introduced in a previous post and this spring the new exterior colors will be applied giving it a pretty impressive transformation. Many people were involved in the color decision process and it was important that everyone could see how it would look on the house first. Using an old black and white photograph showing the house with its original mansard roof (which is in the process of being restored) I introduced the proposed colors directly onto the photograph for several different color approaches and it was a very helpful tool leading to an eventual color palette decision. Not all clients require this step but when needed it’s a tremendous help. Here is the original photograph along with the winning palette color preview for you to see.

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Happy holidays!

•December 12, 2016 • Leave a Comment

Wenberg Color Design wishes you the best in this season of sparkle and light!

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A time to be thankful for home

•November 22, 2016 • Leave a Comment

As the holidays are upon us it makes me think of home and what a refuge from the hectic world it can be. I am thankful for having the most wonderful clients I could ask for who have given me the opportunity to help them as they take on projects large and small to enhance and add beauty to their homes. It brings me pleasure to help them create a place of beauty and comfort they can enjoy for years to come. May Thanksgiving in your home be filled with family, fun and friends!

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A picture says a thousand words

•September 28, 2016 • Leave a Comment

A picture really does say a thousand words and here are a good pair of ‘before’ and ‘after’ photos that speak volumes about what well-chosen exterior colors can do for your home. When the house my clients purchased was built, the siding materials hadn’t been treated to prevent aging and some areas were in pretty sad shape leaving no choice but to paint it. They wanted the house to reflect the natural feel the property has and were particular about what colors would satisfy that. After developing a palette that maintains the serene feel they sought, the house was painted and here are the results. They couldn’t be happier and the house fits beautifully into its setting.

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