I like to select colors. I think I'm pretty good at it. I don't do it often enough to be great, but I think my results are pretty darn good.
Maybe if I selected colors all the time, I would know more about the politics of selecting colors and get good at that aspect, too. Because politics is the problem with selecting colors.
After an interiors person returned from a color-review meeting in tears, I developed the following process to head off more unpleasant experiences. Honestly we haven’t gotten to use it often enough to know if it can be improved; so feel free to contribute your experience/advice in the comments. The world -needs- a solution to the “color problem”!
- Establish who is in charge of color selection, the architect or someone else.
- If someone other than the architect, determine who. If the architect skip to Step 8.
- Ask the color selecting person(s), what they will need - plans, color chips, etc.
- Exchange information about timeline - when the results will be ready and when the contractor plans to buy the paint, casework, doors, etc. Allow a few days for documenting the color scheme for the contractors.
- Bug the color selecting person(s) three, two and one week from the deadline.
- Receive the colors and determine if the Owner approves.
- Skip to step 14.
- Determine who will approve the color scheme.
- Hold a meeting with the color-approving-group to discuss what we see as the goals of the color scheme. No colors are shown at this point. The end result is minutes or a memo describing the approach to be taken.
- Prepare one color scheme that meets the approach that was approved. If the ARCHITECT wants or feels that more schemes are useful, only then do more than one scheme.
- Meet with the color-approving-group and ’sell’ your scheme on its merits as meeting the agreed upon approach.
- If there are problems with the scheme being approved, make sure you know exactly what the objection is. E.g., NOT `I don't like the wall color'; but make them say what they don't like about the wall color - too dark, too edgy, wrong color - nail it down.
- Correct any objections and get approval.
- Document the color choices; and submit to the contractor.
You may have noticed that we don’t get involved if we aren’t assigned the role of selecting colors. I find it too painful. I would rather let the Owner screw up the colors, than participate. I won't think less of you if you want to put yourself through that torture. By all means put yourself on the the color-selecting-committee. I'll give you one piece of advice to minimize your time (because somehow you will now be working for the color-selecting-committee pro bono). Don’t prepare color boards. Instead make a CAD drawing of labelled boxes, e.g. “VCT”, “CARPET”, “WALL COLOR”... At the meetings, unroll a couple paper plots to lay out the colors loose to present each scheme.
-- I just saved you a day’s worth of color-board-making.
Original post date: 10/29/2013