Full Spectrum Paint Color – What’s all the Fuss About?

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For the past decade or so the concept of full spectrum paint color has emerged as one of the most intriguing developments in paint color technology. This emergence has been met with rave reviews and accolades by some, while others have not been able to grasp what all the fuss is about.

From a purely objective perspective what is implied by full spectrum color is that each color regardless of its apparent hue is comprised of a multiple of different colorants (color pigments), incorporating a little something from all of the different places on the traditional color wheel. Black colorant is always eliminated from this approach due to its inherent non-reflectivity. So reds will also have blues and yellows added, and the deepest of hues that may look black, will actually be a concoction of colorants with everything except black! It is important to understand why this approach is different from the industry standard that we have lived with since post World War II. Continue reading

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Traditionally paint companies have manufactured colors with as few colorants as possible. Some of the reasons for doing this made sense at the time. Back in the day when all paint was manually tinted by a store clerk, this approach made the process simpler and resulted in less mis-tinted paint. Having to dispense two or three colorants to achieve a color is by definition easier than tinting one that requires in some cases up to eight or more colorants.

Another good reason for this approach was that all of the color chips that were produced to represent the colors of any given palette were made from lacquerer or ink, not paint (who knew?). A simpler formula was a better way to achieve an acceptable match between the actual paint being purchased and the chip that was used as a reference. As we all know this doesn’t always work out in the end either. Furthermore the lacquerers used are tinted with different colorants than those used to tint the paint you purchase. You can see how this can present a problem.

The good news is that modern technologies have allowed us to overcome these limitations. Almost all paint stores employ computerized dispensing equipment that allows for the accurate and repeatable dispensing of complex formulas with any combination of colorants we choose. This virtually eliminates the chances of the formula being dispensed incorrectly.

With regard to the paint chips, few manufacturers are willing to make paint chips from real paint. C2 Paint is one exception to this rule. All of the C2 color tools, (Ultimate Paint Chips, fan decks, or Take Home Chips) are made from real eggshell paint and the actual colorants that are used in tinting the paint that you ultimately put on your walls. C2 color tools have the ability to represent complex full spectrum colors accurately because they are made from real paint using the same colorants and combinations that are used in the paint you buy.

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Another compelling reason for paint manufacturers to not embrace the full spectrum approach is cost. It is much cheaper to use black and a few other less expensive colorants than it is to create full spectrum colors that employ more expensive colorants in greater quantities. C2 Paint has always taken the approach of bringing to market the most beautiful and high quality colors, regardless of cost.

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So now that we can do it, why do we want to do it? Or better yet why should you purchase full spectrum paint over the more traditional and widely available options? One analogy that I like to use to illustrate the difference is that of a well cooked dish that is made with a variety of different spices in varying amounts, compared to one using basic salt and pepper. If prepared right, you may not be fully aware of exactly what you taste, but you know it tastes great. Similarly the nuances and undertones of a full spectrum color make it inherently more satisfying to the eye than its salt and pepper counterparts.

Furthermore this multiple colorant approach reflects a fuller range of natural light, allowing the paint colors to easily blend with the other design elements in a given room. Fabrics, carpets, and accessories are more harmonious when pulled together by a paint color that has elements of all of their colors present. Run of the mill paint colors are much harder to match with other specific elements due to the narrower range of light that they reflect. In simple terms full spectrum colors play well with others.

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Fine artists have employed this technique for centuries. Using complementary colors to de-chromatize the primary colors of red, blue, and yellow, instead of black, has allowed artists to more accurately capture the nuances of natural light in their paintings. Rembrandt was known to instruct his apprentices to use a full spectrum gray ground on all their canvases before they began painting. With full spectrum paint colors you are able to apply this same fine art technique to your walls.

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The C2 palette of 496 full spectrum colors provides the advantage of being a pre-edited collection that offers only the most beautiful colors that have been time tested and proven to work well in the real world.

In summary full spectrum paint colors are superior to their more commercially available alternatives because they reflect a broader range of natural light and are easier to coordinate with the other three dimensional elements in the room. More beauty with less stress sounds like a winning combination to me.

 

Philip Reno brings his deeply experienced perspective to the world of color design. Having spent the first eighteen years of his career as a master painter, faux finisher, and color consultant, he accumulated first-hand experience and observed the intricacies of paint color. He owned operated G&R Paint Company, San Francisco’s premier retail color and paint destination, for 18 years and is now a consultant to The Coatings Alliance, the manufacturers of C2 Paint.



C2 Paint Fall 2016 Color Trends

While still popular, the softer tones that headlined seasons past are moving toward more adventurous colors in deep and mid tones. Reflective of a strong desire for confidence and stability, blues are the lead trend for fall 2016 – ranging from light, milky tones to more robust, stately hues. We anticipate one of the most popular being deep, near black blues (like Espionage, C2-742 and Brigand, C2-757). Other more vibrant colors like emerald greens, green-based yellows and purples are also becoming more popular, while earth tones remain a steady favorite.

Watch the video of our fall C2 colors below!

 

Another current trend that is growing is the “finish of the moment”  – gloss. Using this beautifully reflective sheen with deep tones on walls results in a high fashion, high design feel. It’s also being used more regularly on ceilings to create polish, interest and a touch of glamour.

High Gloss Ceiling Using C2 Cousteau (C2-713)

High Gloss Ceiling Using C2 Cousteau (C2-713)

High gloss ceilings add a touch of polish and glam. Featuring C2-Drabware (BD-4)

High gloss ceilings add a touch of polish and glam. Featuring Drabware (BD-4)

Tell us what color and design trends are inspiring you this season!

 



Perfect 10 with Interior Designer Barry Dixon

Interior Designer Barry Dixon

Interior Designer & Visionary Barry Dixon

Virginia-based interior designer and quintessential Southern Gentleman, Barry Dixon, talks about his personal and professional inspirations and the trends he sees for the upcoming year.

1. When did you first recognize your love for design?
As a child in the second grade realizing that I was unreasonably upset when my mother made appointments with her interior designer, Miss Pate, while I was a way at school. I felt I needed to be at those meetings!

2. Where do you currently find your design inspiration?
Via the pantheon of design successes in the history of aesthetics…and in the ever-inspiring natural world around me.

3. How would you describe your personal design aesthetic?
A complex layering of favorite things. In the best instances, timeless.
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4. Your designs are so thoughtful, with a real focus on the details. How can the DIY designer bring that professional aesthetic into their home? 
By using details to avoid sameness in design. Our homes should reflect us, and not look like everyone else’s!

5. Each homeowner has a different style; how do you make sure that you capture their personality?
Listening. And watching! what lights up their eyes? What colors make them glow? Every designer needs to understand the psychology of color, and how this applies to each individual. We’re all different in the end.

6. What trends are you seeing this year?
PATTERN WISE – Larger scale prints and patterns.
COLOR WISE – Bold or muted, fewer “in-between” tones.
FINISH WISE – Lots more lacquer. People are loving a “high gloss” shine.

7. There are so many details to manage in large design projects. Do you set aside a specific time to dedicate to the creative process? What does that process look like? 
It hits when it hits…often when you’re not distracted by myriad interruptions. For me, usually late at night or early in the morning. Or in the shower! Or on a long drive or flight.

8. In what environment do you feel most creative?
At home in my creative “lair” – my atelier in the attic levels of Elway Hall.

9. Aside from design, what else inspires you?
Well, nature, of course, and film, especially old, silver screen classics with delicious, stylish sets. Books. Art. And fashion! A retrospective such as the Met’s  “Alexander McQueen Savage Beauty” or “China: Through the Looking Glass” can stay with me for years!

10. Describe someone outside your field of interest who inspires you and why?
Mahatma Gandhi, Kahlil Gibran – they make us think.
Lucille Ball, Carol Burnett, Cary Grant – they make us laugh.
Alexander McQueen, Mark Rothko, Walt Disney – they make us dream.

11. You are a seasoned traveler. Where have you not been that you would like to visit?
The farthest cliffs of Nepal.

12. Who would play you in your feature film biopic?
If I could go back in time, I’d choose Gregory Peck. Or Gary Cooper!

13. If you were given the opportunity to create a reality-type design TV show, what would it look like?
One where the designer would help people find their own, completely unique design style. A more soulful approach to design.



Behind the Scenes with an Architectural Color Specialist

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I am an Architectural Color Specialist. I do not follow trends.

Color is communication. My first step when meeting clients is an interview. What do you wish to express in terms of style and mood? How do you want to feel? How do you want others to feel? How is this space used and navigated? What flaws are to be hidden and what treasures to be illuminated? Once we establish these, it is my responsibility to create the most beautiful (and I would say, original) iteration of said goal(s) by picking just the right colors that satisfy both you and the space. I want my color work to be beautiful, surprising, innovative, and in complete collaboration with the user.  I attempt to extract the kernel of what is desired and germinate it. I do assert myself: I have strong views about what will be successful yet these are always in service to the design goal, which is yours. Aesthetic beauty is important but this cannot be the only consideration. The effect of colors, or what they communicate, is a function of our humanity (biological and otherwise), culture, and individual subjectivity. Radiant Orchid is not right for everyone everywhere. Nor is Acme Beige.
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I let you paint your bedroom red.

What we find beautiful and crucially for residential color, liveable, reflects our interior state. Humans (like much else) seek homeostasis: we make constant systemic adjustments in response to external stimuli so that we remain stable. For example, an introvert, someone who gets  stimulation from his or her interior world, will favor subtler and softer colors and color relationships; an extrovert, who gets juice from the external world, the reverse. And every degree along the spectrum (pun intended). Equilibrium between me and my environment creates that perfect balance of both alive and peaceful. This is neurological excitation without enervation.

The other variable in this equation is time. The areas where you spend the most time should best reflect that baseline. Wall color, because it usually covers the most surface area in a space, drives your systemic response. On a recent full interior job, the mother was excited but slightly trepidatious about our choice for her daughter, Lucia’s, room. Lucia is eight years old and loves India: the sights, sounds, and colorful hubbub. She is a very energetic child, willful and artistic. We chose five colors for the room: four pinks of various kinds for the walls and a shocking green for the closet doors. Her mother was concerned that the vivacity of her environment would make Lucia even more energetic (i.e. extroverted). As I explained, because Lucia spends a great deal of time in that room, the more it mirrors her interior world, the calmer she will feel. This exemplifies the tonic effect of color.

My bedroom, on the other hand, where I spend very little time is white with a pale chartreuse ceiling. I enter. My nervous system immediately plunges into quietude. I fall fast asleep.

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I do not have a “go to” white.

I have an obligation to your building. I want it to be as beautiful as possible and this means that your design goal, what you want to express with your colors, must be tempered by the architectural space itself. This is the key to a successful design that you, the client, will appreciate and adore. Surface material, line, form, and proportion strongly determine the choices I make. Different latitudes reflect different colored light. What is outside your window reflects onto the interior. The color you love on your neighbor’s house will not look the same on yours. The couch in your living room effects your perception of the wall behind it, the pillow upon it, and the trim work around it. This is relative perception. Color is always relative.

If the same colors look different everywhere then why do I rail against “go to” colors? For similar reasons to why I disfavor trends in architectural color: they are two sides of the same coin. Trends serve only aesthetics (and mercantilism) in complete disregard for the effects of color. So do “go to” colors, because they are used without thought. Such stock colors might look different and decent in a lot of places but their effect will also change: does this color achieve what I want in this specific environment? And just as important, is it the most beautiful choice I could make? Creativity by definition cannot be rote. Mimicry of oneself or others is unartistic and mindless repetition is unnatural. Every daisy in the chain is unique, if you look close enough to see.

Learn more about Nan on her blog: http://www.nankornfeld.com/blog.html



How to Get Your Interior Design Project Published

We asked Heather Lobdell, Regional Editor at Better Homes & Gardens and Traditional Home Magazine, the secrets to getting your interior design project featured in shelter publications. Having published hundreds of stories for some of the top interior design magazines in the industry, she gave us a peek inside the world of an editor.

Get your interior design project published - Color Confidential Blog
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  1. What is a color story? To me, a color story is simply how you use color in a particular space or related spaces, such as rooms open to one another. Sometimes color stories are complex — imagine a color story based on a rainbow-hued Mizzoni zigzag fabric on a sofa, where individual colors are pulled out from that sofa and used boldly and graphically — a cobalt blue table, a yellow chandelier, red accent pillows and apple green accent chairs. Other times, color stories are barely there — serene white on white on white.
  2. How do editors choose which photography they will use? Who knows really? I’ve worked in this business for more than a quarter century and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been willing to bet the house that a project would be accepted or, conversely, thought a project wouldn’t appeal. I would be homeless many times over. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and the beholder with the most power is typically the editor-in-chief. But selection often also has to do with practicalities such as what we’ve already got in the “bank” (our term for already photographed projects) If the bank is bursting with gorgeous white kitchens, guess what? We won’t be able to take even one more, no matter how spectacular. On the other hand, if we’ve got a deficit of color, we’ll hunt down a kitchen with red lacquer cabinetry, a painted floor, and black countertops. It’s a crapshoot for sure. Keep submitting and don’t take anything personally.
  3. Do they look for certain colors or styles of home? Fashion changes for sure, but good, solid, beautiful interior design is timeless.
  4. Do they usually provide their own photographer or will they accept submissions (as is)? Our magazines almost always assign their own photographers, even when professional photography has been submitted.
  5. Will they style your home? They send a stylist to work with the designer and photographer.
  6. Any tips on how to make the images more “marketable”? The more finished the room and the better the scouting photography, the easier it is for editors to assess the project. When we receive unfinished work, it’s very hard to know whether the end product will merit photography even if the designer has written a detailed summary of what’s still to come. We see so many beautiful finished projects that those that are unfinished usually can’t compete.
  7. Can you submit photos on your own? Scouting shots? Absolutely.
  8. Do the photographs become property of the magazine? If the magazine comes to shoot the project, they own the photography and may use it in the magazine, on their website, etc.
  9. Will I be compensated? Editorial magazines do not pay for locations.
  10. Any other information/advice on getting published? Try and try again. It’s competitive. We only have a certain number of editorial pages each issue, so the competition is fierce.