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Saying It With Color

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Color in Office DesignWhen you send an email, write a letter, speak, send a text, or sign a phrase, there is always one common thread present. The idea behind all of these avenues of messaging is to communicate a thought or idea. Aside from commonly acknowledged methods of communication, there are non-verbal ones that speak the language as well (sometimes better). A smile may be inviting and a frown may show displeasure. A look can show excitement whereas a lowered head may indicate sadness. Expert’s estimate 93% of all communication isn’t coming out of your mouth. These fundamental truths are real as is the body language shown by inanimate objects in your office.

Your office provides nonverbal Q’s to your customers, vendors, potential new hires, and associates. One of the most dominant communicative aspects in your office is the use of color. Color can be used to attract attention, group elements, indicate meaning, and enhance aesthetics. Color can make designs more visually interesting and can reinforce your organization’s overall message. On the other hand, using color improperly can demean your whole message.

On one hand, companies seem to be afraid of color. Perhaps it stems from decades of indoctrination that says “professional” and style conservation belong in the same sentence. On the other hand, some companies may be flagrant with color and take it to the extreme. Although the conservative approach may appear more relaxed, reality may be that both groups lack a clear understanding of the dynamics of color. Understanding a few simple rules can make your reception furniture sizzle, your workstations pop, or your conference table the envy of all onlookers.

Less is more

When the eye becomes overwhelmed with too many colors, the brain goes into overload. Limit the amount of colors to four or five – an amount the eye can absorb at one glance. You want to use your office to deliver a message so choose other avenues of style as well rather than using color as your sole method of communication.

Choosing color

You can ascertain great color combinations simply by using directional combinations in the color wheel. Using adjacent colors on the color wheel is called analogous, whereas the use of opposing colors on the color wheel is called complementary. Colors at the corners of a symmetrical polygon circumscribed in the color wheel (triadic and quadratic), or colors found in nature achieve great working combinations. Use warmer colors for foreground elements and cooler colors for background elements. If you want to insert a more safe color into your grouping (one that does not compete with other colors) then use a light tone of gray.

To Saturate or Not to Saturate

Saturated colors are pure hues. Use these colors when you want to attract attention in a certain direction. The eye subconsciously moves to bold, dominate, saturated color, whereas unsaturated colors are more visually passive. These colors are great to use when the dominate priority is performance and efficiency. All things being equal, the general perception is that bright unsaturated colors are perceived as friendly and professional while dark unsaturated colors are perceived as serious and professional. Saturated colors are known for their excitement and dynamics. Be mindful when using an overload of saturated colors because they can increase eye fatigue simply because the eye is naturally drawn in that direction.

Saturation refers to the amount of gray added to a hue. As color saturation increases, the amount of gray decreases.

Brightness refers to the amount of white added to a hue. As brightness increases, the amount of white increases as well.

Analoguous colors are colors right next to each other on the wheel

Triadic colors are colors used in triangular corners of the wheel.

Complimentary colors use colors directly across from each other on the wheel.

Quadratic color use colors that are in four corners of a square

If your company’s culture exists around a modern, more contemporary furniture profile a selected grouping of relevant colors can aid in creating a meaningful presence in your office. Conversely, if the culture lends itself to a more transitional scheme using color can aid in creating more visual complexity. Whatever your message is, you can use color to say it better.

For more information on how you can use color in your office design, contact us at 855-699-0334.


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Great service furniture installed quickly and ahead of time. Bernie our Sales Rep was great. Very happy!

Paul Sewell
Jul 24, 2014