We sat down with Ellen O’Neill, Creative Director, of Benjamin Moore to chat about what inspires her when it come to color:
As Creative Director of Benjamin Moore, what does a typical day look like for you?
There’s no typical day. Since 2013, I have been focussed on revising all the of the branded collateral. The Color & Design team has been tasking with giving our paint collateral a fresh look with the goal of making it more editorial, accessible and especially, inspirational. In our challenge to update our color tools — spanning designer kits, fan decks, social media assets, color cards, etc. — we’ve updated visual vocabulary for the brand. The goal is to help escort the customer through the color decision making process. With 3,500 colors to choose from, the color selection process can be daunting.
What is the process to determine Benjamin Moore’s color of the year?
The Benjamin Moore Color & Design is always looking for color cues and colors trends acoss different industries. From food to automotive to fashion, and especially the home furnishings sector, we look for emerging colors. We can find dominant colors in a restaurant or a farmer’s market. With selecting a Color of the Year, we take it a step further and provide a curated palette for the year. It’s a reflection of our travels domestically and abroad to different art and fashion shows, home furnishing industry events, products launches. Then we synthesize the emerging color stories in home furnishings and start to prepare a palette that will complement those colors. If we see Yves Klein blue emerging in home accessories, we prepare for its arrival.
For a lot of our clients, picking a paint color is very intimidating. Where do you start?
Everyone has a color personality, trust your instincts. Look at what colors you like to wear, what colors surrounds you. We hope that our color collateral is helpful, but also look to magazines, TV, Pinterest. Put together a Pinterest board, step back and look at the consistent colors in each of the pictures.
What colors can we find in your own home? Black, white and sepia. Black and white can be optical, the sepia softens it.
Have you ever had a paint color conundrum? Yes, picking out the perfect shade of white is always a challenge for me.
We know you just returned from Maison & Objet, what trends did you observe this year?
At this year’s show, we saw the use of metallics and glazes. There was a dominance of design with wood and organic materials. Multiple colors stories emerged with different applications of color as a design technique.
Did anything in particular excite you or inspire you? I went to the recently refurbished Picasso Museum and they had the most interesting wall treatment. One half of the wall was done in matte finish and the other half was high gloss. It was very clean and simple yet chic.
We have always wanted to attend, what tips would you give a first timer?
Maison & Objet is organized into eight exhibition halls, each dedicated to a specific product category. I suggest you go to the hall with the more relevance to you, whether it’s textiles, tabletop, furniture, lighting while you still are high energy. Take advantage of the great lectures and book signings while you are there as well.
Bekka Palmer Photography
Special thanks to Benjamin Moore for sponsoring this post!