There is something magical about the transition from summer to winter, as trees stop producing chlorophyll (green) and expose the true pigmentation in the structure of the leaf (red, yellow, orange). The leaf, in effect, expresses it’s true “colors” as the tree begins to shut down for the winter rest period, before it reemerges in the spring in a riot of varying, but monochromatic, shades of green. It is a sharp contrast against the spectacular azure October sky, a unique color palette for the fall season.
How do designers decide which colors to select for a client? In a residential setting, it is often driven by the personal tastes and furnishings of the client. How are colors selected for public spaces?
In a restaurant, it is a deliberate process of determining what experience the owner wishes to create for the patron ~ the development of the brand in conjunction with the visual merchandising of food/drink, the table décor, the wait-staff, and the lighting within the space. In a retail environment, it is finding the perfect tones, tints, and hues that will allow the items for sale to be the featured performers, complementing and not competing for visual hierarchy. In an office, it is identifying the desired work culture and defining a palette that provides visual interest and a sense of place, without competing with signage and corporate identity.
Color selection at its best is deliberate and thoughtful, creating opportunities for architectural elements and wayfinding to be featured and emphasized.
As the colors of the autumn leaves and October sky fade into November, take one last look outdoors and relish the spectacular colors of the season. Then turn your gaze indoors and ask yourself – am I hiding my true colors under the canopy of a monochromatic world?