August 25, 2007
Paint Color Naming Not a Game
Product naming for a paint company is one of the more challenging assignments for a naming consultant. Or, as Michael Marturello says, it's "nothing to sneeze at."
He learned about the myriad of naming issues that one encounters given the thousands — millions — of possible colors out there, wondering in his excellent column what color "canary green" should be (yellow? green?). Turns out it's a greenish yellow. Go figure.
He jokingly suggests a paint called "sneeze green," which sounds a little crazy until you realize there really are product names out there like "pickling spice" and "twisted knot" and "marsh misery."
Spare a thought for Crayola, who has to think up colors that are both useful and child friendly. You can play a color game on their site if you are so inclined. Just don't make the same mistakes they have made in the past by creating famously politically incorrect names like "Indian Red" and "flesh" (which is pink, but not always). They still have "Fuzzy Wuzzy Brown," which in some circles is considered racist.
But if you really want an idea of how hard it is to match color naming schemes to the actual colors, go on and play the online paint game from the Dulux range.
I dare you to tell me what color "Labrador Sands" is. Or "Party Surprise."
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