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What Difference Can a Colour Make?

Jun 10, 2008
Have you ever walked down a street and turned the corner - and there in front of you is the most hideous coloured car you have ever seen in your life? A hideous purple, or gaudy green? The car itself may be quite fabulous (in the dark) but the owner has seen fit to cover it in the most awful paint imaginable. Sure, there are boring colours that seem to dominate particular years of car design - Audi 'metallic sand' was the colour of choice for many years. Ford even saw fit to allow buyers to adorn their Mondeos in a hideous semi fluorescent yellow. Maybe it's all a ploy to distract buyers from how bad a particular model is. As if in some way if they can distract the general public with the colour they can draw their eye away from the terrible safety, poor quality and general nastiness of their offering?

Looking around the office furniture market, one could easily be lead into thinking the same could apply. At launches of new products we often see wacky colour schemes which are clearly meant to make us remember them. Or conversely everything is so bland and all white that we are supposed to think of them as cool - as if an association with iPod's would make the chair in question cooler. Okay - well maybe that does work.

A popular brief received by office furniture dealers all over the country is 'fresh and contemporary' so then we try hard to find the best catalogue photography to show a customer the look that can be achieved.
Most designers and furniture suppliers have virtually begged a client at some point to pick a different colour. Knowing that to choose that particular colour would make an office look boring, or staid - or possibly dated and faddish.

Whilst office furniture suppliers have seen some great colour schemes in place - whether through a customer with a good eye for detail, or as a result of a good interior designer - we have also seen some hideous ideas see the light of day too. I had a client about 8 years ago who set his heart on installing different pastel colours (about 8 different shades in all) blinds to each window in the office. He then colour matched the various pillars in the office to match a window blind. A nice idea in theory perhaps, but it looked awful. Embarrassingly so. It was so bad that visitors would come into the office and audibly draw breath at the choice. He was the boss though and he liked them, so it stayed. That is until some months later when the staff finally broke and demanded that new blinds were installed and paint applied put in to stop them walking.

The problem is that some sales people worry that they will lose an order if they start getting too involved with something that is such a personal choice anyway. They lose sight of the fact that perhaps the customer would like some help - rather than a 'Yes' man just agreeing "Oh yes sir that would look fabulous!". This is an element of service that a good supplier can easily overlook in the quest for a quick sale. One must consider that if a customer suddenly realises in a years time that it really does look awful - they'll be looking to blame someone for such a poor choice and the salesman looks like a likely scapegoat. The end result of this is that they may never return with repeat business in case you 'let' them choose something else hideous.

Colour choice needs to be a considered affair. Often the colours chosen are governed by the need for a corporate logo colour, or a carpet colour to be matched. If these aren't relevant then you can really have some fun. But remember that colours have their own psychological symbolism . Black can mean style, power, mystery, solemnity. White can mean purity, sterility, and cleanliness. Red says sex, speed, arrogance, strength, bravery and more. Blue symbolises calm, productive, confidence, conservatism, and seriousness. Unusual colours like orange mean enthusiasm, flamboyance, creativity, and playfulness. Choosing pink can have mixed messages too including appreciation, admiration, sympathy, femininity, health, love, or homosexuality.

The message is clear therefore. When choosing a colour - take a moment to consider. What is the colour saying about your company to everyone that visits?

Now would you like that office chair in red, black or blue......?
About the Author
For further information regarding our range of reception furniture please visit our website at http://www.evolutionfurniture.co.uk/
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