Downright color-chippy

When I was a kid, I never quite understood all 64 colors in the big Crayola box: what the hell was “sienna,” and why was it burnt? I eventually figured all that stuff out. I finally learned how to do those pesky RGB color codes that screw up the Web for us. (In case you were wondering, the color bars off to the sides are #330000.) Six times out of ten, I can even comprehend an OPI nail color.

But these new paints throw me for a loop:

In a redoubled effort to capture consumers’ attention in the 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 they do not do is reveal the color.

For instance:

Valspar, which once featured Apricot 1 (all the way up to Apricot 6), now offers Weekend in the Country, a name that might put you in mind of an idyllic getaway or a Stephen Sondheim tune but that will not convey a specific hue. (For the record, it is the color of mud; perhaps not such a great weekend after all.)

On the other hand, mud rooms are trendy these days.

Farrow & Ball’s “Dead Salmon” — “dead” apparently means something like “matte” — has its own modest charm.

Not that I should talk, of course, since my own walls, unrepainted these eight years, are now something like Free Clinic White.

(Via Pop Culture Junk Mail.)


  1. fillyjonk »

    7 July 2011 · 1:24 pm

    Yarn companies do this too. (Rowan, I’m looking at you.)

    That said, I will admit to having bought a particular yarn color solely on the basis of the fact that the dyer/manufacturer gave it a cool name.

    My living room is “Country Butter” and my dining room is, I think they called it “Cool Foliage,” sort of a sage. And yeah, that was Valspar, but that was about 10 years ago now.

  2. Dick Stanley »

    7 July 2011 · 2:46 pm

    Dead salmon probably is not a popular item.

  3. Tatyana »

    7 July 2011 · 4:30 pm

    Hello, “Halo” By Ben Moore-living rm here! With ” Brilliant White” and “Gray elephant” trim.

    and speaking of OPI: just got a pedicure in Thrill of Brazil. Was contemplating for a while Vodka &Caviar, but decided I already swore off vodka and wouldn’t trust OPI with caviar. Brazil won.

  4. GradualDazzle »

    7 July 2011 · 5:00 pm

    What makes your own wall color an effective one is that the words “Free Clinic White” definitely evokes a mental image. And a scent memory, for that matter. I’m hoping your house doesn’t also have that in common with the local health department.

  5. CGHill »

    7 July 2011 · 5:06 pm

    The prevailing scent is sawdust, from having new decking installed with the new roof last year, plus whatever I ruined in the kitchen the night before.

  6. fillyjonk »

    8 July 2011 · 11:54 am

    I had totally forgotten about the wonderful arbitrariness of nail varnish colors until Tat brought it up. Right now I’m wearing “Opulent Pink.” I have not idea what it is that makes it “Opulent.”

    I also have a bottle of “Profound Pink.”

  7. Tatyana »

    8 July 2011 · 11:58 am

    Nail varnish names are indeed rather ornate (or dare I say “purple”?), but I can’t take credit for noticing: Chaz did, in this post.

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