Step into the wonderful world of colour creation at Farrow & Ball as we sit down with our
Head of Creative, Charlotte Cosby and Colour Curator, Joa Studholme.
Where do you begin?
The creation of our colours starts in the simplest of ways – at a kitchen table with paint filled ramekins which are mixed and remixed for weeks on end.
They tend to fall into three very broad brackets. The first is trend-led colours that feel relevant and will nourish the contemporary home. Second is existing shades that might need a very slight tweak for today’s market – Smoked Trout and Sulking Room Pink are recent examples of this. And finally, some of our most popular hues just beg to have lighter or darker accents.
Next, it’s over to the technical experts in our Dorset laboratory, usually with up to six versions of the same colour. We carefully analyse every colour in our range of finishes and in varying light conditions until we are happy with the exact formulation and pigment levels throughout.
How do you gather inspiration for colour stories and names?
We hope that our names spark curiosity and intrigue, letting the imagination run wild trying to visualise the colour. But they are never invented just on a whim. Each story is meticulously researched, as was the case with down to earth De Nimes. Inspired by the colour of workwear first woven in the southern French city of Nimes, denim was once the uniform of the textile factory worker but is now beloved across the globe.
How do you decide which colours to archive?
Colours are retired to our archive collection with a very heavy heart, but in the happy knowledge that they are always available to order. Some may have fallen out of favour, others are deemed too close to another Farrow & Ball shade, and one or two are reinvented with a twist to appear on the next colour card.
Tell us more about the intricate processes of remapping the colour card?
This can be totally mind boggling! We must bear in mind the layout of our colour card to ensure it flows tonally and within distinct colour families. The process is one that involves a lot of snipping, tacking and brain ache as the variations are endless. This time it was fascinating to see three different solutions, but in the end we settled on an amalgamation of all three.
How do you keep the secret?
During the development stage it can be agonisingly difficult! Excitement levels are high and we can’t wait to share them with the world. However, in the year between finalising our new colours and the closely guarded launch date they must be protected. Our new colours become all the more special by being kept secret until the very last moment.