Visual Communication

Visual communication is probably the most important tool in compiling a colour scheme for presentation to a client. Mood boards or concept boards are the vessel an interior designer would use to deliver a range of options. These boards can include colours only or can incorporate an entire scheme right down to the fixtures and furniture. If incorporating colour, concept boards should contain the actual colour swab and not a computer generated one as they do not represent true colour. Other components such as fabrics and furniture can be downloaded from an online source but should be used as a guide and not a true example. Also, images of finished rooms could be included, again as a guide to achieve the desired result.

It is also important to compile more than one visual mood or concept board from which the client can convey their preferences. This helps the designer create a concept that is as unique as the individual.

Supplier Resources

As an interior designer, you are required to provide the client with as many options on finishes or paint colours as available. To do this one must form a good working relationship with the suppliers of these finishes. With each new season, paint companies produce new colour forecasts and it is imperative that you be up to date with emerging trends. Whilst you may not follow these trends religiously, they can provide inspiration and can be used as an accent colour in your proposed scheme.

To gain samples or colour registers from these paint companies many ask that you have an Australian Business Name or ABN. If this is not applicable to you most hardware stores stock a variety of paint swatches to help you get started. It is important to view the actual colour swatches and not the online colour as they are not the same. Also, the samples should be viewed in natural light or the light in which they intend to be used.

Project Brief

When meeting with a prospective client for the first time, it is important to raise many questions to form an idea of what needs to be done in line with the principles of  Interior Design. A great way to start would be to ask the client to form a sort of mood board using an app called Pinterest. This clever app lets you bind all your likes and ideas into an online board which helps the designer to gain an insight into the clients unique taste and lifestyle.

Another way to do this would be for the designer to create a checklist listing the existing features then noting which changes or improvements need to be made. Using this checklist helps to achieve a desired outcome for the client. Again, the key is to gain as much information as possible to be able to compile a project brief and explore the options available to meet the clients expectations.

Designing with Colour

Considering the principles of colour and how the human eye perceives colour is essential to developing a colour scheme or designing with colour. Keeping in mind the emotions relating to  colour at the forefront of your research. The use of colour in a space can enhance important architectural elements and even deflect from areas that may be visually unpleasing. Colour has the ability to make a room feel larger, smaller, narrower, wider, higher, or  lower. The key is to use colour  to create the feeling the client needs and requests. Sometimes a client may wish for an ‘on trend’ colour palette. These trends change from year to year and the responsibility of a good designer is to guide and educate the client to complete a design that they will be satisfied with for more than just a season. This may involve using only certain tones of an ‘on trend’ colour to ensure a harmonious space.

Visual Perception

How we perceive colours varies greatly from one person to another. Generally, we can all identify the primary colours such as Red, Blue and Yellow. The human eye can generally pick up these colours but for some Red could be identified as Blue.

The reason for this may be due to colour blindness.  More commonly it is due to the colour sensitive receptors of the eye called melanopsin.  Scientists discovered that the amount of blue or yellow incoming light can greatly affect the way we perceive certain colours. Interestingly, the human eye is incapable of seeing the colour Red-Green (not brown) and Blue-Yellow. This is because these colours contain light frequencies that cancel each other out and make it impossible for the human eye to visualize.

Impacts of Colour

Colour has the ability to enable us to connect with many feelings or memories in our lives. The way we use colour in our homes greatly depends on our preferences of one colour over another. This may be psychological or even stem from life experiences we have had. Further, the tone of colour used can either enhance or deflect the environment in which it is used. 

Consider what feelings or emotions a classroom would evoke should it be decorated in dark, moody colours instead of light, playful ones?. Every space inhabited by humans has certain expectations and functions and the use of colours and their tones should reflect these. This is why it is paramount that many questions be raised to the client before deciding on any colour scheme.

 

History and Culture of Colour

The history of colour can be traced as far back as the 4th century to Aristotle. His system for observing colours was based on a lineal system. He noted each colour (there were 7 ) according to the time of day or night they appeared. Starting with white at midday and ending with the black of night.

This theory was widely used until the development of the Colour Wheel by Sir Isaac Newton in 1666. This wheel however represented only one dimension of colour.

Then in the late Eighteenth century scientists began to experiment with three dimensions of colour. These properties were later named as Hue, Saturation and Brightness (see Colour Basics post).  The correct use of these properties in Interior Design leads to a pleasing and visually cohesive interior.