At this point, we might all assume that we’re picking the same paint colors because Pinterest or Pantone trends told us to, but a Reddit AMA about “How Paint Colors Get Their Names” with two veteran paint color experts had some surprising takeaways about why we actually choose the colors we do.
Color marketing managers Dee Schlotter and Misty Yeomans from PPG Pittsburgh Paints answered nearly 2,000 questions about paint colors, from the exact process and logic that they employ to decide upon final paint names for market to the emotional connection we create with a color based on the paint names that they choose.
As PopSugar Home says in their roundup of takeaways from the paint color AMA, from the outside it seems like naming paints must be one of the most fun and bizarre jobs you could do in the design industry, though it also seems surprisingly stressful. Gross or unappealing paint names can turn off consumers and influence the sales of those hues. On the other hand, Schlotter pointed out that the right names can add tremendous appeal.
“Calling a color mocha instead of brown, sky instead of blue, these words evoke an emotional response to the color, increasing its emotional connection which is always a positive thing for selling,” she said. Yeomans adds, “we try to give the color personality.”
There were also other questions, like their favorite colors (Paradise Found, Zombie, and Plunge Pool for Schlotter and El Captain and Hunt Club Red for Yeomans), if any names were inspired by the city of Pittsburgh (yes—City Street, Deconstruction, Black Magic, and Yukon Gold), and which ones names amused them (Funky Frog, Gobbledygook, Honey Bun, and Gone Giddy—which Yeomans says is “what happens after you name 500 colors”).
If nothing else, paint color experts and marketers should feel confident in their job security: the creativity and agility required to capture the hearts and minds of designers, decorators, and DIY-ers everywhere remains with actual, creative, collaborative teams of humans for now. Because we’re pretty sure that AI-named paint colors like Bank Butt aren’t going to be the new runaway bestsellers like Millennial Pink any time soon.