Naming Paint Colors and Brands

Horse of a Different Color

Not too long ago, Namebase had a colorful assignment—to name a brand line of paint. To prime the team, we visited hardware and paint stores, exploring the brand names and copy of all things related to paint—brushes, varnishes, trays, and other accoutrement. Needless to say, we lingered longest in the chip sample section. These prismatic displays -- with the whimsical names - held us spellbound.

I’m not sure when our fascination with color and color names began; however, that first box of 64 Crayola Crayons played a significant role. And while the vivid or dreamily pastel hues always disappointed when applied to paper, their names, the majority nature-inspired—Cornflower, Mahogany, Sepia, Raw Umbria, Thistle, and so on—held one's imagination in thrall. Paint names today continue to draw from nature as creative source, albeit it in a more fanciful way—e.g. Carolina Sky, Snowstorm, Lava Flow, and Lily Pond—but the spectrum has been greatly widened to include names that play to mood, lifestyle, or state of being—names like Long Vacation, Socialite, and Breathless.

And while some consider this approach to paint naming somewhat subjective,—what color is Long Vacation anyway?—the names do seems to play a role in color selection, In fact, a poll conducted by Apartment Therapy revealed that the name of a color influences 54% of paint buyers. It seems, all else being equal, most people prefer to paint their walls Morning Zen than Beige with a Touch of Pink.