Blue #73902
July 5, 2011 11:30 AM   Subscribe

In a redoubled effort to capture consumers’ attention in this sputtering economic recovery, some paint companies are hoping to distinguish their brands with names that tell a story, summon a memory or evoke an emotion — even a dark one — as long as they result in a sale. What the names do not do is reveal the color. [SLNYT]
posted by bayani (53 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
Single Link Not YouTube?
posted by sutt at 11:35 AM on July 5, 2011


Last month I moved to a new apartment and had to repaint the bedroom. The official color name from Behr was "Gobi Desert" because god forbid any connotation of "tan" or "sand" would suffice.

This led to a conversation with my friend over gChat about the 3 or 4 other ridiculous and overly cutesy names of samples I went through- "sandy shoeleather" was I think the one shade lighter than Gobi Desert, and so forth.

We then started a game in which we had to think of words or phrases that could plausibly- plausibly was the key here- be both the name of a paint color and a sex act.

Winners included "Whale Belly," "The Queen's Tea Party," "Grandpa's Attic," "Buttered Biscuit," "Jungle Plunge," "Bricklayer's Breath" and "Cucumber Cascade."
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 11:37 AM on July 5, 2011 [32 favorites]


“For a long time we had to connect the color name with the general color reference,” said Sue Kim, the color trend and forecast specialist for the Valspar paint company. “But now,” Ms. Kim added, “we’re exploring color names that are a representation of your lifestyle.”

While I may have come to terms with the notion that eradicating the profit motive from my definition of good art is an untenable position, I will never stop hating bullshit like this.
posted by invitapriore at 11:37 AM on July 5, 2011 [5 favorites]


Just give me RGB values.
posted by empath at 11:40 AM on July 5, 2011 [9 favorites]


...and the lettering is something called Silian Rail.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 11:41 AM on July 5, 2011


empath: "Just give me RGB values"

Certainly, Sir, but in what color space?
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 11:42 AM on July 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


We then started a game in which we had to think of words or phrases that could plausibly- plausibly was the key here- be both the name of a paint color and a sex act.

Please make a web quiz of this. Thanks.
posted by empath at 11:42 AM on July 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


I suspect the linked piece is a submarine. Similar things stories in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, etc.
posted by BeerFilter at 11:45 AM on July 5, 2011 [14 favorites]


Just give me L*a*b values.
posted by notsnot at 11:45 AM on July 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


At Valspar, located in a Chicago high-rise near O’Hare airport, colorists can meet in “vignette” rooms that encourage storytelling. One resembles an outside deck, replete with a porch chair and mural of Wrigley Field. Ms. Kim assigns the colorists homework, like browsing certain magazines and blogs. One, called colourlovers.com, allows users to create and share their own palettes; among more than one million offerings are I Feel Sorry for You and When Time Ran Out. They also watch movies and visit stores. And a few times a year, they head downtown for a big brainstorming session at a loft building called Catalyst Ranch and its brightly colored meeting spaces, which are intended to help employees think creatively.

Wow, plagiarizing colors from user submitted content on the Web. Nice.

Also: I think cucumber cascade would make for a very fetching bedroom.
posted by codacorolla at 11:46 AM on July 5, 2011


I suspect the linked piece is a submarine. Similar things stories in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, etc.

So in other words Darkening Sky is the new black.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 11:50 AM on July 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wait...Paint colors have names? I thought everyone just used those sample cards. ("Like this, but lighter, and maybe a tinge more red.")
posted by erniepan at 11:55 AM on July 5, 2011


(None more) black.
posted by punkfloyd at 11:55 AM on July 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


Seriously all I really need is the hex values in sRGB space because that's how I laid it out in SketchUp and OF COURSE my monitor is calibrated why do you ask? Why is this so difficult for the paint manufacturers to understand?
posted by seanmpuckett at 12:02 PM on July 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


I suspect that their color-matching machine is photometric, not spectroscopic, and even if not, they would need the spectrum in some sort of exotic proprietary format. But still, I want to bring the full-disk visible reflectance spectrum of Saturn from Cassini VIMS to my local paint store, and tell them: "This color."

(Kronos Yellow? Gas-giant Gold? Methane Buff?)
posted by BrashTech at 12:04 PM on July 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Also: I think cucumber cascade would make for a very fetching bedroom

... activity?
posted by bayani at 12:04 PM on July 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


If your company doesn't sell "black," I will not buy paint from you.
posted by Faint of Butt at 12:12 PM on July 5, 2011


This has been the case in parts of the flooring world for a long time. For years, there was one popular line of carpet whose color names were all dances. And the people who name a range of colors don't seem to always be privy to the name of the actual product. I think my favorite style-color name over the years "Mystical Journey: Peanut Butter."
posted by heatvision at 12:22 PM on July 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


If your company doesn't sell "black," I will not buy paint from you.

So you live in an avant-garde, minimalist, off-off-Broadway theater, huh?
posted by evidenceofabsence at 12:36 PM on July 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


I once belonged to the Color Marketing Group. They would hold conventions twice a year where representatives from all sorts of product categories would gather and determine what colors would be "in" two years out. It was actually pretty fun. The naming of new colors was particularly fun.
posted by Thorzdad at 12:36 PM on July 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


I don't understand what the problem is. You have to call the color something. Calling it "Red #34321" or "Light Tan #49291" is as informative as calling it "Wittgenstein's Dream" or "I love a parade" (the color I wanted to paint my room when I was little but I was told it was "too dark").
posted by bleep at 12:38 PM on July 5, 2011


I once rented an apartment the landlord was about to paint. He had some color swatches, one of which was a gray named "Speculum". True story.
posted by Mei's lost sandal at 12:41 PM on July 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


Thing to do: Go to a paint store with friends. Place the swatches against the inside of your wrist, until you find the one that best matches your skin color.

I'm tamarind. My boyfriend, much to my amusement, is clam.
posted by evidenceofabsence at 12:49 PM on July 5, 2011 [12 favorites]


plausibly was the key here- be both the name of a paint color and a sex act.

My game for this is that the paint color has to be a reasonable cocktail name, and I have to come up with the ingredients, so "Grandpa's Attic" might be Scotch, camphor, and tobacco ash mixed in a dirty coffee mug.

It makes looking at endless paint swatches almost bearable.
posted by quin at 12:51 PM on July 5, 2011


Thing to do: Go to a paint store with friends. Place the swatches against the inside of your wrist, until you find the one that best matches your skin color.

Some stores actually have colormatching, so you can scan yourself. Most people get Ponder from Behr's line.
posted by FJT at 12:52 PM on July 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Is this what happens when the marketing department is the last one left after all the layoffs?
posted by daq at 1:14 PM on July 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


From the Tom Waits for Beautiful Living collection:

#4249 - Creampuff Casper Milquetoast
#9111 - seventeen black and twenty-nine red
#4848 - Hole In The Hood of a Yellow Corvette
#5122 - Christ, You Don't Know The Meaning of Heartbreak, Buddy
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 1:14 PM on July 5, 2011 [10 favorites]


In another life I would like a job naming colors, and prescription drugs.
posted by nathancaswell at 1:15 PM on July 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


McSweeney's: What Your Favorite Paint Color Says About You.
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 1:19 PM on July 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


some paint companies are hoping to distinguish their brands with names that tell a story, summon a memory or evoke an emotion

They should get together with the people who name nail polish colors, they've been doing vague and emotionally-evocative names for years.

“But now,” Ms. Kim added, “we’re exploring color names that are a representation of your lifestyle.”

I wonder if "lower middle class despair" would look good on my kitchen walls.
posted by amyms at 1:26 PM on July 5, 2011 [6 favorites]


Calling it "Red #34321" or "Light Tan #49291" is as informative as calling it "Wittgenstein's Dream" or "I love a parade"

Not true. Because Red #34321 we can be reasonably sure is a form of red.
posted by JHarris at 1:37 PM on July 5, 2011 [4 favorites]


how about this color: "fuck you! I'm so tired of your re-branding efforts already"?
posted by growabrain at 1:43 PM on July 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


AKA Turd In My Drink brown
posted by BeerFilter at 1:51 PM on July 5, 2011



Blue #73902. . .
Just give me RGB values. . .
Seriously all I really need is the hex values in sRGB space . .
Just give me L*a*b values. . . .


Go ahead, take your HTML, RGB, or LAB color specifications to the paint store and see what it gets you.

Additive vs subtractive color spaces, anyone?

Tangently: Impossible colors

And finally, Impossible colors in fiction (from the same wp article):
posted by Herodios at 1:54 PM on July 5, 2011 [6 favorites]


Just give me RGB values

I recently worked for a small design firm that had a large paint company as a client. One of my prize possessions was a binder with all the company's paint color equivalents in RGB. (They were working on adding CMYK values when I left.) I was so excited to tell the client their new postcard was in "Buttered Pecan", but they did not share my enthusiasm. "Just tell me the fuckin' PMS color." Apparently in real life, the paint company marketing department thinks it's silly too.
posted by Mcable at 1:58 PM on July 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


H. P. Lovecraft, "The Colour Out of Space"

If Lovecraft is painting my house, I want the kitchen to be done in "the primal white jelly" as I think it'll go best with my stainless steel dishwasher and my Elder Thing refrigerator.
posted by quin at 2:07 PM on July 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


From BeerFilter's link: "PR is not dishonest. Not quite...If anyone is dishonest, it's the reporters."

Yeah, sure. Real convincing, there.
posted by adamdschneider at 2:12 PM on July 5, 2011


Useless anecdote: The Martha Stewart paint chips in Home Depot are coated in such a way as to defeat the color matching machine at Home Depot. This is presumably to prevent you from color matching it to Behr for $5 less a gallon.
posted by Pastabagel at 2:51 PM on July 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


I actually like the stupid names, they serve a purpose. Even though I have a terrible memory, at some point I might actually remember that the color was called "I love a parade" which will tell me the brand of paint and everything else I need to know. I don’t need it say Red 345345, I won’t remember it, I can probably tell it’s red, or else will be saying "that’s not red".
posted by bongo_x at 3:19 PM on July 5, 2011


Bongo_x, that's exactly what I meant to say but couldn't articulate well.
posted by bleep at 3:30 PM on July 5, 2011


Naming paint is still one of my dream jobs. It comes right after, you know, naming ice cream flavors.
posted by jabberjaw at 3:38 PM on July 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Speaking of unusual colours like octarine and International-Klein-Blue, this thread started this song running in my head.
posted by malusmoriendumest at 3:40 PM on July 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Go to a paint store with friends. Place the swatches against the inside of your wrist, until you find the one that best matches your skin color.

Paint your living room that color. Stand naked against the wall when people come over. Then move suddenly and freak them right the hell out.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 4:00 PM on July 5, 2011 [9 favorites]


Go to a paint store with friends. Place the swatches against the inside of your wrist, until you find the one that best matches your skin color.

Paint your living room that color. Stand naked against the wall when people come over. Then move suddenly and freak them right the hell out.


"Hang on... the carpet doesn't match the carpet OR the drapes!"
posted by BigHeartedGuy at 4:09 PM on July 5, 2011 [4 favorites]


We painted our living room "china white". It was a light tan, putty sort of a colour. So it was clearly referencing the grade of heroin and nothing else, such as bone china or the like. Which is pretty funny, I reckon, a major paint company putting in a hard drugs reference.
posted by wilful at 4:35 PM on July 5, 2011


wilful, the term China white comes from blanc de Chine, referring to a milky, ivory (or even putty)-hued white found in some of the earliest porcelain imported to Europe. Bone china is a Western invention.
posted by dhartung at 5:11 PM on July 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


dhartung, I prefer my explanation, even if yours is more cromulent.
posted by wilful at 6:12 PM on July 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh gosh, impossible colors, herodios! That reminds me of an AskMe I've wanted to post!
posted by darkstar at 6:17 PM on July 5, 2011


I think paint code names are one of those things that appeal to the same part of the nerd brain as typefaces.

This post reminds me fondly of the 1970s paint codes for Australian and American carmakers, who had, buried amongst evocative but sensible sounding names such as 'Silver Metallic' or 'Harvest Gold', paint codes with punnish names like 'Bondi Bleach', 'I Am Curious (Yellow)', 'Thar She Blue', 'Little Hood Riding Red', 'Wistaria Hysteria', and 'The Lone O Ranger'.

Pop legend has it that Chrysler rejected such paint names as 'Catch Me Copper', 'Frank Lloyd White', and 'Cost Of Living Rose', as well as my all-time-favourite-but-shan't-mention-it-here "great pun, but you can't call it that" example, which was instead named 'In Violet' or 'Plum Crazy' depending on which Chrysler brand you were buying.
posted by MarchHare at 6:28 PM on July 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


I worked at a print shop where, a few times over the years, we had to print paint catalogs for some fairly big-deal company. The books we printed were just lists of names and numbers which I assume were the mixing formulas or proportions, or however it works, but there weren't any color swatches.
Point is, to keep myself entertained at this stultifyingly boring task, I would read these ridiculous names, and after a while, the words started to mix up a bit in my head, so, for example, I might have seen "Angel Wing" on one page, and "Buffalo Tracks" on another, and come up with "Buffalo Wing". Obvious, sure, but sometimes, weirder combinations would pop up, like "Tahitian Cradle Pie".
posted by Mister Moofoo at 2:20 AM on July 6, 2011


If they made a color called grue, then they'd get the cognitive scientists, linguists, and Zork players in one go.
posted by miyabo at 6:24 AM on July 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


Here's a quiz where you guess what colour a paint is based off its name. Seems to be about half reasonable and half mad.
posted by lucidium at 2:30 PM on July 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


My job is to paint things. So I get an uber-kick out of being able to shorthand a woodgrain base color as, for example, cheddar-biscuit. "Just mix us up a couple of gallons of cheddar-biscuit, yeah?"
posted by lauranesson at 12:04 PM on July 8, 2011


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